ROAD RAGE
GREEN DAY GO BACK TO THEIR PUNK ROOTS ON THE WARPED TOUR

2000 Spin Magazine (August 2000 Issue)

   It isn't the money or promises of pampered glory that is bringing Green Day back from self-imposed exile. The best-selling punks on the planet will work out the road rust in time for the fall release of their sixth album, Warning. And where better to recapture their fans than on this summer's Vans Warped tour? "You know the little Evel Knievel dolls you wind up and they just take off?" asks bassist Mike Dirnt. "That's us. We've been away for a fuckin' year and a half."

   Staying home has been, dare they say it, calming for the Bay Area trio. Though Dirnt, 28, got divorced during the recording of 1997's Nimrod and moved five times, in part to stay close to his daughter, he's now settled in Oakland with a new girlfriend. Singer Billie Joe Armstrong, 28, is married with two kids. Drummer Tre` Cool, 27, also a father, saw the preacher in March.
   But if the shrieks coming over the phone are any indication, domestic bliss hasn't meant suburban mellow. "Tre` just put a staple in his nipple!" Dirnt shouts, cutting into an interview at 880 Studios in the Bay Area, where Green Day are recording Warning. "That hurt," Tre` says, quickly ruling out removal of the staple because it's "going to bleed like hell."

   Even without a product to push, the Warped gig is a savvy move. Green Day have been away for almost two years, and the double-platinum Nimrod was a relative commercial letdown, despite the single "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)" being pimped on Seinfeld. While Dirnt brushes aside the idea of reesttablishing the band's punk cred on this lo-fi (though heavily sponsored) tour, Tre` more than hints at the strategy behind the Warped deal. "We want to show everybody the goods," says Tre`. "Stake a claim, sort of. We're Green Day, we're for real."
   Entering its sixth summer, Warped's m.o. remains. The headliners don't get special treatment beyong the promise of a main-stage slot. In addition to the skaters, bikers, and specialty tents, this summer's roster features the Long Beach Dub Allstars, NOFX, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, the Donnas, Flogging Molly, as well as the tour's first genuine death-metal band, Six Feet Under. Warped's creator/organizer, Kevin Lyman, is also sticking with rap. Last year, he brought in Eminem and Ice T; this summer, Los Angeles MCs Jurassic 5 will join the mohawk fest. "We want to see how far we can test ourselves," says Jurrasic DJ Nu-Mark. "The Fiona [Apple] tour we just did was a challenge, everybody seated in ballroom settings and teenage girls shouting Fiona's name. But we rocked it."

   But it's Lyman, who remains unusually hands-on, who drives the spirit of Warped. Instead of spouting off about what the kids want, he asks them. " I have to," he says. "I mean, I just turned 39." That means surfing the tour's message board (he has added bands after hearing about them online) and heading off the latest "Warped Sucks!" thread with his own posts. "Late at night these kids will start bashing me and signing me up for porno sites," he says. "I got in this big debate and said, 'I value your views. Why don't you come and express them at the shows?'"

   Hence, Lyman has set up a PA at each stop to serve as an impromptu punk soapbox. "I'm just going to have a microphone," he says. "Hopefully, it won't be stolen."


Written by Geoff Edgers
Typed by Broc Johnson

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