I’ve been reading the book Gimme Something Better (thanks to Abbey), and I wanted to share some quotes.
One of the things I love about Green Day is how true-blue they are in their core beliefs. It confuses me when fans whine about Green Day’s outspokenness, because giving a shit about the world, and caring about being ethical and doing the right thing, is so central to who they are. That steadfastness comes in large part from their formative years in the Gilman scene, and the book touches on that quite a bit.
James Washburn: “I have a lot of respect for Billie. He’s been very successful as a person. He’s very bighearted, very generous. And I’ll love him to death forever. He has given back a lot, and he respects the scene and respects the people that are here and in it.”
Bill Schneider: “I think it goes back to the Gilman scene in general. We were all young and impressionable when we got into punk rock. That scene helped shape who we became later in life.”
It’s funny that Billie Joe thought Tre was obnoxious when they first met. It’s also an interesting quote for anyone who thinks being punk is about doing whatever the hell you want:
Billie Joe: “Tre and I kept getting closer and closer as friends. But he was really obnoxious. To the point where I didn’t even know if the guy was that cool. We wanted to be more conscious people. We carried the ethics of Gilman into our lives. Those codes were sort of intact. Tre was not even close. Didn’t care what anybody thought, didn’t care what anybody did. He did anything he wanted all the time. And that was really hard.”
One of the things that stood out for me about punk rock shows, when I used to go to them in the 90s, was how specific the crowd was depending on the bands that were playing. Hardcore bands would draw spiky-haired guys with home-made Subhumans patches on their pants, and the ratio of guys to girls was 20 to 1. Pop-punk crowds were much nerdier and more clean-cut, and there were more girls, but it was still a majority of guys. Only with Green Day, even after the release of Dookie, was the audience predominantly female.
Billie Joe: “A lot of our songs were about girls. When it comes from a 17-year-old kid, the songs are just gushing. It drew a lot of girls. It was weird. We got a lot of shit from other bands because we had love songs. But I wanted to sing about truth and where I’m at, my relationships with people. Or lack thereof. We would play Santa Rosa or Petaluma, and tons of girls would show up. They started showing up at Gilman, it would be 75 percent women. It almost feels funny to say, but we never took liberties or anything like that.”
For male and female alike, Green Day struck a chord, and I would add, as I always do, not only with disaffected teenagers.
Noah Landis: “To see the world finally catch up, desperate for music that makes you feel something, music with emotion, honesty, and aggression. These feelings that are undeniably in every young person born on the planet, especially people who have had to — god forbid — live through hard shit. The world finally caught up to that and wanted some. They wanted their Green Day songs about teenage alienation and masturbation.”
Amen to that.
November 9, 2009 at 12:16 am [ Category: Books, Interviews, History ]
The Profound and Pointless History of Bay Area Punk
Ten Years of Gilman St. Zine
Reviews of Gimme Something Better