WHERE DO YOU SEE BOTH YOURSELF AND GREEN DAY IN FIVE YEARS?
"I don't look that far ahead. None of us do. It's like, we don't look too far into the future. Here today, gone later today, you know? We're very happy with what we've done so far, and if we can continue to put out music that makes us happy -- and we're happy with it, then I'm sure there will be a good amount of people who will like it. That would be a great place to be in five years -- still playing our music and enjoying playing."
DEFINITELY. WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY?
"Hmm, my favorite childhood memory . . . I used to ride my bicycle a lot. I was silly on bicycles when I was a little kid, like from the age of two, it seemed like. I got a lot of good little ones (memories) from when I was a little kid. But, I don't know. I guess none of that really matters right now."
HOW DO YOU LIKE OR DISLIKE THE TOURING MUSICIAN LIFESTYLE?
"I don't think we have the typical touring musician lifestyle. Well, we work a hard shift -- we hit the road every night. We don't stay in hotels. But, we have the most exciting job on tour, because we get to play one hour a day. We live for that, but we also have the most boring job on tour, you know, doing interviews and standing around all day -- hurrying up and waiting. So it's a hard one for sure. I miss my fiancee like crazy. She's not always with me on tour, because it's even more boring for her."
WHERE ARE YOU AT TODAY?
"Today we're in Chicago."
DO YOU BELIEVE IN EVOLUTION? WHY OR WHY NOT?
"Yes I do, because I watched it happen for four records. Because I feel that Insomniac evolved perfectly after Dookie. Evolution of people, yeah. I believe in evolution of people. So, yeah man. You know, when Beck said, 'In a time of chimpanzees, I was a monkey,' well I was also a monkey. I'm sure of it. I just feel it in my bones."
IS THAT WHAT YOU BASE YOUR BELIEF ON?
"You know what? I'm an optimistic agnostic. I think the second we die, within a matter of seconds, everybody else arrives, and that's the party, and you live your Hell on earth. I don't know."
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF JESUS CHRIST?
"I'm down with J.C. He's cool. Whatever."
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF HIS CLAIMS TO BE THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE, "NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER BUT BY ME?"
"Sounds a little mafioso to me. You know, to each their own. Everyone has the right to believe in whatever they believe in. Like I said, I'm an optimist, so I believe in some sort of life after death, I don't know what kind."
HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT ABOUT HOW THERE'S THIS GUY HERE, EVERYBODY SAYS HE WAS A GREAT TEACHER AND ALL. HE WENT AROUND SAYING HE'S THE ONLY WAY TO THE FATHER, AND THEN HE DIED FOR THAT STATEMENT.
"I'm sure that He did. I'm sure that a lot of people have died for that, but I'm sure more people have died arguing over it since then. You know, millions. And when I hear people say that everybody in the world has heard of Jesus Christ, it makes me want to puke, in all honesty. I'm not gonna base my religion, well, I base my religion on my own spirituality, and 'what goes around comes around.' If there is a God or anything like that, there's nothing I can certainly do about it. I believe we're all part of the force. It's like the force. There's Luke, there's Laia, and there's us."
US MEANING ME AND YOU, OR GREEN DAY?
"As in the world."
WELL, EVERYBODY BASES THEIR BELIEFS ON SOMETHING . . .
"All my religious beliefs are based on Star Wars."
I BET YOU'RE PRETTY EXCITED ABOUT THE TRILOGY COMING OUT.
"You better believe it. I am totally excited."
HOW DID THE SUCCESS FEEL TO YOU?
"It's nice to know that people can get our music, and that people relate to it, and that we can go all over the world and the people that we play to can buy our records now. The exciting part to me is when you go somewhere that you've never been before, or you go somewhere that you have been before, and you feel the connection. There's a comradery. Everyone's there for the music. I think it's great. I don't stop and look back and lay on my laurels at all. We're all too busy thinking about what's going on in the future. Not the far future, though, mainly today 'till tonight."
HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THE CRITICS WHO SAY STUFF LIKE, "OH, GREEN DAY ISN'T PUNK."?
"I agree (laughter). It's kind of an oxymoron to say 'punk rock' and 'hockey arena' at the same time. We definitely come from a certain element, and we have a certain idea of what we like. We carry our morals, our ideals, our ethics, everything with us from where we come from. But I can't say I am the same person as who I was five years ago. I'd be kidding myself. I think that's the most important thing you can do to be a real person -- is to be honest with yourself."
DO YOU GET PEOPLE THAT GET KIND OF DOWN ON YOU NOW THAT YOU'RE NOT UNDERGROUND ANYMORE?
"Not at all. Well, I can't say not at all. I'm sure there are, but it's not a problem. I mean, we make music for people who want to hear our music and we make music for ourselves. Call us greedy, call us selfish. We make music for ourselves. When we create these CD's, we give 'em to people, and it's theirs to pick and poke and prod at, or to love and to hold and to cherish, or whatever you want to do with it. I think that's all really important, because for me, and I think for most musicians, even if they don't know it, but part of the greatest joy of playing music at all is sharing music and playing it for people."
ARE YOU A SPEED FREAK?
"Am I a what?"
A SPEED FREAK.
No, but we have a lot of friends who are. Northern California is kind of one of the meth-amphetamine capitals of the world. Let's just say we have a lot of friends who've gone that direction. I've dabbled here and there. We all have, but we are not speed freaks. We are insomniacs, but we're not speed freaks. There's a generational thing with a lot of the lyrics on this album. Like 'Geek Stink Breath,' a lot of people 20 or 30 years ago, people don't know what speed is. And they don't know that people who do speed lose their teeth constantly and pick scabs off their face constantly, and it eats holes in their brains, and whatever. But that's really a prevalent thing, where we come from."
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE BAND MXPX?
YEAH, THEY'RE CALLED MAGNIFIED PLAID. THEY GO BY MXPX.
"I have no idea who they are. I'm sure they're great. I'm sure they're the greatest thing ever (laughter). I don't know. I'm really open-minded in that aspect."
JUDGING FROM MY READING OF THE LYRICS TO THE INFECTIOUS SONG, "86," I GET THE IMPRESSION THAT YOU HATE CORPORATE HEAVY METAL. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT IT?
"The song's more about not being able to go and hang out in your old stomping ground. It's just how Billy felt for a matter of time, you know, and put it in perspective. It's like a friend stopped by his house, a friend he hadn't seen in a long time. Said, 'What brings you around? Did you lose something last time you were here?' And you know, just kind of coming to terms with the fact that you can't go back to the years of whenever, or you can't go back to yesterday."
I JUST TOOK MY BEST SHOT AT IT.
"That song's got a neat position, because it's jaded. There's kind of like a resolution to that, and that is: 'Don't be jaded and think that the only best times of your life are already over.'"
THAT'S WHAT I THINK ABOUT SUICIDE. YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT'S GONNA HAPPEN FIVE YEARS DOWN THE ROAD.
"That's the thing. Songs are just expressions of emotions at times, or how you feel about a particular subject at times. Me personally, I can't swing really far to the right for a long time. I can't be like totally pissed off for days or years, unless I had a dramatic change in my life or something. But chances are, given time, most wounds will heal -- most. And of course this is earth and we are mortal . . . emotionally speaking, I guess."
HOW DO YOU ATTEMPT TO KEEP YOUR FEET ON THE GROUND NOW THAT YOU'RE KIND OF RIDING THIS CREST OF POPULARITY?
"Just don't put yourself on a pedestal and think it's more than it is, because you're here today and gone later today. We don't go out and buy Ferraris and throw the rock & roll lifestyle -- not at all. I'm surprised the question isn't, 'How can you afford such an exceedingly poor punk lifestyle?' Well I'll tell you how I do it. I give all my money to my mom. Everybody who buys a record, I send 'em a dollar (laughter). I don't know. We've been weaned into it really well. We'd been going on tour years before we ever got to a major label. So we'll go on tour for months, and we'll come back and our friends'll give us a head check. And that's been happening for, you know, we'll leave for two months, come back, leave for three months, come back, and every time, our friends give us a head check. I think that we're pretty firmly grounded in who we are and where we come from. As to where we want to go, well, see ya when we get there."
WELL, HEADING BACK FOR THE LAST QUESTION, ABOUT THE STAR WARS AND THE FORCE, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR BEST IDEA ABOUT WHAT KIND OF FORCE IS OUT THERE, WHAT KIND OF SUPREME BEING OR SPIRITUAL WORLD AWAITS US?
"That's a strange thing, because life is so amazing that people will argue. They will argue this and that, or whatever. I think that everything is connected in one way or another. I bet I'm connected to some star that is hundreds and hundreds, and zillions of miles away. If there is a God, it's something I can't even fathom. So, why spend my life trying to understand something that I can't understand? I just take my morals and my scruples out of whatever I have learned in life and just go with that. I don't know. It's got to be something like a force."
WHAT IF THERE WAS A GOD. COULD YOU SEE, LIKE, HOW SOMEONE COULD BE A FANATIC, AND THERE REALLY WAS A GOD, AND YOU COULD KNOW OF HIM?
"I had an ex-girlfriend who left me for Jesus. I thought I was gonna marry this girl, a long time ago."
HOW DID THAT GO?
"It didn't. She went to Los Angeles to a Christian Bible college, and did her thing, which is fine. That's great, you know? I don't so much find myself bitter. I just think that she was jaded in a lot of respects. She wanted to become a psychiatrist, only it goes against her church, so in total tears and agony, she's now decided she can't do that. And that's pretty upsetting considering she could've been a pretty good psychologist. Maybe she could've worked out some of her own problems. I think she's wishing the best. I think that religion has a lot to do with family. I don't think that pumping fear into people is a good way to get them to have morals. Pumping love into people is a better way, and I'm not a hippie."
I JUST INTERVIEWED GEEZER BUTLER TODAY, AND I MENTIONED TO HIM HOW THEY CAME OUT WITH BLACK SABBATH IN THE DAYS OF HIPPIE MUSIC, AND HERE THEY CAME OUT WITH MUSIC THAT BLEW THE WALL PAPER OFF WALLS AND STOMPED ON HIPPIES' HEADS.
"I wouldn't go stomp on anyone's head either though. I do unto others as I would like to have done unto me. I'm a pretty mellow person, I think."
WELL THEY AREN'T REALLY LIKE THAT EITHER. I DON'T WANT TO PORTRAY THEM AS THAT. BUT I AGREE WITH YOU IN THAT FEAR IS NOT A VERY GOOD MOTIVATOR.
"It's just that when I was a little kid, I had a pastor tell me . . . you know, I was really confused by a few of the sermons I'd heard, and I asked him, I said, 'My mother smokes cigarettes. Will she go to hell if she smokes cigarettes?' And he said, 'Yes.' And I was seven years old. That was (bleep). I was at church with a friend of mine's family, and it was really (bleep). So I go home thinking my mom's gonna burn in eternal hell, in eternal damnation. In my opinion, Heaven is not a place where all my friends aren't. You live your Hell on earth, and there might be something further to it than that, but afterwards, our spirit kind of takes off. That's why I'm gonna be cremated. I don't want to be stuck in any box. Maybe they'll bury me upside down and plant a seed in my (bleep)." "Where are you located right now?"
IN AUSTIN, TEXAS.
"Wow. I once got lost in Austin."
IT'S A VERY COOL TOWN.
"Lost in Austin -- get it?
YEAH -- LOST IN AUSTIN. YOU COULD SAY IT BETTER IF YOU WERE FROM BOSTON OR NEW YORK.
"I like Austin. It's a cool place. A lot of clubs. That's important."