All is not well for Greenday frontman Billie Joe Armstrong who looks set for a long stint in rehab for treatment of substance abuse. The post-punk-pop-rock-but-mainly-pop singer has been under the hammer in the past 12 months and the signs of mounting pressure started to become publicly evident.
After a tantrum in Las Vegas where Armstrong reacted badly to being given only one minute to finish his skit, resulting in a swearing fest and a smashed guitar (all publicity is good publicity, kids, mkai) the singer/songwriter was admitted to a clinic for help with his problems.
In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, label boss Rob Cavallo said ‘he’s under medical supervision for a while to get him clean. His doctors are still evaluating’
‘All I can say is I don’t know if we’ll see him before or after Christmas. It’s basically undetermined when he will be back’
Armstrong’s behavior had become more erratic in the build up to his rehabilitation and Mike Dirnt, bassist in Greenday and solid friend to Armstrong spoke with Radio 1’s Zane Lowe where he shed some light on the possible cause of the issues citing the pressure to promote the band’s triple album releases of ‘¡Uno!’, ‘¡Dos!’ and ‘¡Tre!’.
‘With hindsight 20/20, it was a tremendous undertaking,’ offered Dirnt. ‘Although we were having fun, we didn’t take our nose out of the book for a long time.’
‘I think it catches up with you a little bit. We definitely just jumped off a moving train.’
‘There were signs of things hitting the fan, we hadn’t slept in forever and Billie had definitely had the worst of it.’
‘He’d been going through his own struggles; we were there with him, but you can only handle things on your own.’
‘At the end of the day, when we got off the road, the most important thing was my friend’s life.’
Greenday’s success isn’t a surprise; their nursery rhyme pop songs are as catchy as anything you’re likely to hear and with a dash of eye liner and spiky hair they appeal to the pseudo-alternative crowd (despite being one of the most mainstream bands out there). It’s amazing how much you can get out of three chords.
For all the talk it is actually possible that we’re seeing the fame and fortune associated with success going to Armstrong’s head. We’ve seen it happen on so many occasions before when the ego takes hold and the humble little soul that set out on the road to glory whithers and cowers in the corner. Maybe, just maybe, Armstrong is simply behaving like a brat with too many toys.