Rock icons Green Day came in Wednesday to help the Stern Show say goodbye to the West Coast. Howard, who has a relationship with the band dating back to the mid-'90s, was clearly excited.
“Look at what's going on in this studio, Robin,” he marveled. “You know when a band comes in, especially a band as big as Green Day, I get charged up.”
Telling the stories behind their music and playing songs from their rich catalog in between, the guys started off with a searing rendition of “American Idiot,” the smash hit off their iconic 2004 concept album of the same name.
Howard was amazed by Tré Cool’s drumming and when he pressed frontman Billie Joe Armstrong about crying at the end of recording the album, the singer wasn't bashful.
"That's your brain working on overdrive for a couple of years straight," Billie said about the exhaustive writing and recording process. "I was hungover, too ... and I think it got just like a bittersweet moment right there."
In addition to previewing their new album “Father of All Motherfuckers,” the band was eager to talk about their upcoming “Hella Mega Tour” with Weezer and Fall Out Boy. The guys said they have a great camaraderie with both bands. “All of us come from a similar background, so it's nice,” Billie said. “I think there's going to be a lot of hanging out ... bowling.”
Billie said the album itself covers new ground. “[It’s] the first time I've ever written about money,” he noted.
“It's sort of mixed emotions about it,” Billie added. “We come from such broke backgrounds … You gotta practice your gratitude every day.”
While gearing up to perform the new album’s title track, Billie admitted Prince was a major influence on the song’s vocals. “A song like ‘Kiss,’ he's got that falsetto and I didn't want to sound like myself,” the singer said before turning to his engineer. “I'm going to try something, don't laugh.”
After performing “Father of All Motherfuckers,” Green Day closed out with another “American Idiot” smash, “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” but not without getting to the song’s poignant backstory.
Billie's father passed away when he was 10 years old and, when someone asked him to come out of his room, he muttered the song’s famous title line.
“I think it's just something that stayed with me, the month of September always being ... kind of a bummer,” Billie said. “Things happen when you're that young it's almost like life starts at year zero.”
Howard ended his time with the band and the week's L.A. shows on an appreciative note. “I got into radio a hundred years ago and I remember sitting in a radio station playing records and I fast forward to one of the greatest bands of all time,” he said. “To be sitting here watching like a live concert ... I got very emotional watching you guys.”