Billie Joe Armstrong On The Success Of Dookie: "I Remember Being Pretty Freaked Out"

Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong casts his mind back to 1994 – a life-changing year for the band.

Billie Joe Armstrong On The Success Of Dookie: "I Remember Being Pretty Freaked Out"

In a new interview with Billie Eilish for Rolling Stone's Musicians On Musicians series, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has reflected on the band's breakthrough album Dookie – and how, at just 22 years old at the time of its release, he didn't have much of a chance to enjoy the record's success.

When asked to look back to 1994 and Dookie selling 10 million copies, Billie Joe responds: "Gosh. I was only 22. I had a kid at the same time, and I was married. So it was a crazy year. I remember being pretty freaked out. I was playing a kind of music that had never been on that kind of scale before. But what I really wanted to do was keep working, and keep writing songs. I never wanted to feel like I was taking advantage of the situation. I didn’t really stop and smell the roses. Later on, I was kind of like, 'Did I enjoy myself enough? Was that fun?' Because the feeling of when you first get popular as a musician, that never happens twice. After that, you have to keep creating new stuff to keep things interesting in your life."

Read this next: How 1994 changed rock music forever

Billie Eilish then asks the Green Day frontman if he actually enjoyed the time period, to which he admits, "Not all the time. I was sort of lost at sea. There’s extreme highs, and you’re playing to a new audience really excited to hear you. But I think what was really important to me was being real. I think I worried about that too much, the part where you’re thinking, 'I need to stay rooted at all costs.' Sometimes I would get very hardheaded about that. And the record after that, Insomniac, was a really dark record. I was pretty numb to everything."

It's safe to assume that the band are enjoying Dookie's success significantly more these days, as they look set to perform the record in full this evening in Madrid, Spain.

The album turned 25 back in February this year, with the three band members honouring their game-changing third LP online.

“Remember that time 25 yrs ago we put out a record and called it Dookie!” bassist Mike Dirnt posted. “Well, believe it or not, Insomniac was almost named Donkie just to fuck with people!!!”

Billie Joe also reflected on its release, while pondering how they might celebrate such a momentous milestone a quarter of a decade later.

“We wanted to think of something special to do but we couldn’t quite come up with anything… Maybe play the record in its entirety at the pyramids in Egypt,” he said. “Or jam it Machu Picchu? Exclusive in Viggiano? Never quite came to fruition… But never despair. 2019 still has time…”

Read this next: 20 things you probably didn’t know about Billie Joe Armstrong

Catch Green Day, Fall Out Boy, Weezer and The Interrupters (U.S. only) on the Hella Mega Tour next summer. Tickets are on sale now.

June 2020

13 Paris, France, La Defense Arena,
14 Groningen, Netherlands, Stadspark
17 Antwerp, Belgium, Sportspaleis
21 Vienna, Austria, Ernst Happel Stadium
24 Glasgow, UK, Bellahouston Park
26 London, UK, London Stadium
27 Huddersfield, UK, The John Smith’s Stadium
29 Dublin, Ireland, RDS Arena

July 2020

17 Seattle, WA, T-Mobile Park
21 San Francisco, CA, Oracle Park
24 San Diego, CA, Petco Park
25 Los Angeles, CA, Dodger Stadium
28 Commerce City, CO, DICK’s Sporting Goods Park
31 Arlington, TX, Globe Life Field

August 2020

1 Houston, TX Minute Maid Park
5 Miami, FL Hard Rock Stadium
6 Jacksonville, FL TIAA Bank Field
8 Atlanta, GA SunTrust Park
11 Minneapolis, MN Target Field
13 Chicago, IL Wrigley Field
15 Pittsburgh, PA PNC Park
16 Hershey, PA Hersheypark Stadium
19 Detroit, MI Comerica Park
21 Washington, DC Nationals Park
22 New York, NY Citi Field
24 Toronto, ON Rogers Centre
27 Boston, MA Fenway Park
29 Philadelphia, PA Citizens Bank Park

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