Alex Blaze

Queer music Friday - Billie Joe Armstrong

Filed By Alex Blaze | December 18, 2009 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: Billie Joe Armstrong, Green Day, queer music

Billie Joe Armstrong, lead vocals for Green Day, has been out about his bisexuality for over a decade. The band itself has come back, as political as ever, this past May with 21st Century Breakdown. Personally, I love "Welcome to Paradise," both the energy and the lyrics are kinda like my life right now (yes, I'm HLM). Here's a live performance:

Here's their most recent single, "21st Century Breakdown":

Here's their come-back hit from the mid-2000's, "American Idiot":

And here's "When I come around." I was in junior high school when this was popular. That brings back memories.

Here's part of the interview with The Advocate in which Armstrong came out. He also talks about playing with Pansy Division, the gay punk band, which is also interesting.

"I think Pansy Division is the kind of band that saves people's lives," Armstrong says matter-of-factly. "They're catchy, and they're really educational. They're honest about their sexuality, and that saves lives."

"Sometimes it gets kind of ugly because there are a lot of ignorant dorks out in the audience, and they start throwing shit at Pansy Division," he continues, discussing the tour. "I was kind of discouraged watching the audience flip them off. I kept thinking, Shit, these are the people who are here to see us?"

Armstrong's response was to stop his band's show in the middle of a set and address the audience. "You're all fucking pathetic," he told them. "There you were, three songs into their set, really enjoying them. And then you figured out from their lyrical content that they're gay, and now you're afraid of them. And that's what it is, you know. You're afraid of them. Well, I hope you all know that Pansy Division is the future of rock 'n' roll."

For Armstrong, who grew up with band member Dirnt in a suburb of Berkeley called Rodeo, homosexuality is neither a new subject nor one he must defend himself against. "I think I've always been bisexual," Armstrong says simply. "I mean, it's something that I've always been interested in. I think everybody kind of fantasizes about the same sex. I think people are born bisexual, and it's just that our parents and society kind of veer us off into this feeling of Oh, I can't. They say it's taboo. It's ingrained in our heads that it's bad, when it's not bad at all. It's a very beautiful thing."

When asked whether this beautiful thing is something he's ever actually acted on, the recently married (and about to become a father) Armstrong smiles. "I think mostly it's been kept in my head," he says. "I've never really had a relationship with another man. But it is something that comes up as a struggle in me. It especially came up when I was about 16 or 17. In high school people think you have to be so macho. People get attacked just because someone insinuates something about their sexuality. I think that's gruesome."

Armstrong's struggle with his sexuality isn't something that has gone unnoticed by his fans. "I've gotten letters because I wrote this song on Dookie called 'Coming Clean' about coming out," he says with the same ease that Kurt Cobain used to show while talking about his song "All Apologies" and the now-famous lyric from it: "What else should I say/ Everyone is gay."

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I'm a weirdo; my favorite Green Day album is "Kerplunk!" "Welcome to Paradise" on that album has the grit and grime of a punk band just starting to cut their teeth.

However, they certainly have made a name for themselves now...

Saw them in the Twin Cities last July. Probably the best show I've ever been to (Pink Floyd possible exception). They even played King For A Day, at which point I was screaming and jumping up and down.