Billie Joe Armstrong: “If Green Day were a new band in this era, we’d fit right in next to Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift”

“If it’s good songs, you can bust through any genre or any sort of popularity contest.”

Billie Joe Armstrong

Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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Top 40 behemoths Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift aren’t artists you’d likely associate with Green Day, but Billie Joe Armstrong thinks that if they were a new band, they’d fit into the scene right next to them.

Speaking to Guitar World, the Green Day frontman discusses his band’s place in the contemporary music scene. He says, “If Green Day were a new band in this era, I feel like we would fit right in next to Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift in a lot of ways.

“Because I just feel that if it’s good songs – if it’s great songs – you can bust through any genre or any sort of popularity contest. So I just always go to where I’m strongest, and that’s good lyrics, good melodies, good songwriting.”

He continues, saying that it’s important to “throw yourself curveballs” on occasion, as it keeps you from getting bored.

Elsewhere in the interview, he talks about what it means to be punk. The frontman of one of the biggest pop-punk bands in history, who played a huge part in making punk more mainstream, Armstrong says, “Punk, to me, has always meant freedom.

“Maybe there’s some people where it’s just about being an aggressive punk-rocker and saying, ‘fuck society’ and falling into all those sorts of clichés. But that’s not my definition.  For me, it’s about getting into the deep end of the water as an artist. All that other stuff is just limitations.”

Green Day’s most recent album, Saviors, came out in January, and true to form it features plenty of political commentary. And Armstrong says, “Whether it’s social media or influencers or war or Trumpism or political correctness, it just feels like we’re all over the place right now… It’s just really fucked up.”

And of the state of his native USA, he explains, “I actually think our country is more divided than it’s ever been. And the thing about the American dream, the original idea of it, is just sort of lost on me at this point. On top of that, now we’re all sort of set on this algorithm that we’re being fed every day.

“I’m a victim of it, too. The stuff that I see online or on Instagram or YouTube just feeds the thing in your brain that your brain wants to see. You think you’re being informed, but really you’re retreating more into your own bubble.”


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