Two years ago I penned a piece on arguably the most controversial punk rock band amongst people who would call themselves fans of punk music. I’m talking, of course, about Green Day.
I never figured I’d be sitting here, slack-jawed and dumbfounded over the latest news surrounding the group. Just days before the release of their latest album, ¡Uno! (which you should expect a review for next week), the group found themselves playing at the iHeartRadio music festival. The band was reportedly booked to play a 45- minute-long set, involving both new and old material, but when their set was cut down to a mere 25 minutes, frontman Billie Joe Armstrong’s temper flared.
As seen in this video posted to YouTube (NSFW language), Armstrong bails on the group’s performance of “Basket Case” and goes off on an expletive-filled tirade about having one minute left in their performance, culminating in him and bassist Mike Dirnt demolishing their guitars on stage.
What had apparently happened was that Usher’s performance, which was supposed to end at 11:05 PM, went over – way over. Green Day didn’t get introduced until 11:35 PM, and was apparently booted off the stage at 12:05 AM so that Rihanna could begin the show-closer. Not the best way to treat a band that has been selling platinum records for two decades, in my opinion.
Following the heated display at the festival, news broke on Sunday that Armstrong was headed to a treatment center for substance abuse and the band had issued the following apology on their website and Facebook page:
“Billie Joe is seeking treatment for substance abuse. We would like everyone to know that our set was not cut short by Clear Channel and to apologize to those we offended at the iHeartRadio Festival in Las Vegas. We regretfully must postpone some of our upcoming promotional appearances.”
If you read that statement too quickly, you might think that they’re saying their set wasn’t cut short. Nay, it was indeed cut short, just not by Clear Channel. It seems as though the concert organizers and management are still at fault. And while I can say I’m not surprised at Billie Joe checking in for treatment considering his history with alcohol, I’m confused at the timing. It seems like this was a concession made either to Clear Channel or to Warner Music Group in order to save face.
The public response has been mostly in favor of Green Day, as evidenced by the comments on this Festival posting, and I can’t help but agree. As someone who is both a fan and a performer of live music, Green Day simply got a raw deal and they should be the ones on the receiving end of an apology.