March 1, 2013 11:43

Green Day's Billy Joe Armstrong admits to using prayer to help him stay sober

Singer says his onstage meltdown last year was "the last straw"

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Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has spoken out about his stint in rehab following his now infamous on-stage meltdown in late 2012.

In an interview in this month's Rolling Stone magazine, Armstrong says he is using "prayer through meditation" to help him stay sober after revealing that his bag used to rattle with the sound of all the prescription drugs and alcohol in it. "I started combining them to a point where I didn’t know what I was taking during the day and what I was taking at night. It was just this routine," Armstrong said. "My backpack sounded like a giant baby rattle."

Armstrong was admitted to rehab in late 2012 following an incident at a radio show in Las Vegas where the band's set time was cut short, infuriating Armstrong to a point where he swore at the audience and destroyed his instrument on stage. It soon transpired that the recovering alcoholic had relapsed and was to return to rehab immediately.

"I played onstage loaded a lot," Armstrong said. "I’d have anywhere from two to six beers and a couple of shots before I went onstage, then go and play the gig and drink for the rest of the evening on the bus."

He continued: "Fall asleep, wake up the next day, feel like shit, do soundcheck… it was over and over again. In that way, I was a functioning alcoholic.? I’ve been trying to get sober since 1997, right around 'Nimrod'. But I didn’t want to be in any programmes. Sometimes, being a drunk, you think you can take on the whole world by yourself."

However, the frontman now says he is motivated to stay sober by the reminders of last year's onstage incident. "This was the last straw. I had no choices anymore," he explained. "People will remind me a little bit. Or I’ll see a photograph. And it makes me so sick. No. I can’t go there. That’s my last drink. Which is good – it’s documented. Anytime I feel like drinking, I can think about it."

Armstrong has left rehab now and it was recently confirmed that Green Day will perform for the first time at this year's SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. The trio will be making their SXSW debut on March 15 at ACL Live at the Moody Theatre on the same day of the world premiere of their film Broadway Idiot and also a screening of the documentary ¡Cuatro! takes place at the Paramount Theatre, also in Austin.

Green Day will play London's Emirates Stadium, the huge 60,000 capacity stadium commonly used by Arsenal Football Club, on June 1. Green Day will also be playing this year's Optimus Alive festival in Portugal, which takes place July 12-14.

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