Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong feared reaction to ‘Good Riddance’: “I thought people were gonna fucking hate it”

"Doing something like Good Riddance was terrifying for me, to put myself out there and be that vulnerable."

Green Day‘s Billie Joe Armstrong has revealed how he once thought that the band’s seminal track ‘Good Riddance’ would receive a hostile reception upon release.

The acoustic number debuted on 1997’s ‘Nimrod’ and has gone on to become one of their most beloved tracks – played as the closing number for the vast majority of their live shows.

However, Armstrong has now admitted he initially feared that the personal and romantic themes would cause fans to reject the band.

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“Doing something like Good Riddance was terrifying for me, to put myself out there and be that vulnerable,” he told Kerrang!

“I thought people were probably gonna fucking hate it, you know? But I think the way that it resonated with people, I was able to kind of go, ‘Okay, now I’ve really accomplished something that was a shift.’ And, as an artist, I felt more empowered that I could keep doing my thing without having to feel like I had to please everybody.”

He went to explain that he’s always strived to not succumb to musical trends throughout the band’s career.

“It’s important to never give people what they want; you give people what they don’t know they want,” he explained.

“It can definitely turn people off, but, I mean, with me, Mike [Dirnt, bass] and Tré [Cool, drums], it’s always just been this collective effort. It’s like being a three-headed monster.”

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In the same interview, Armstrong opened up on his fear of social media.

He said: “Sometimes it’s great – when I’m able to communicate with fans and people are cool, and when people get something out of the music and you make these connections.

“But I think the thing that makes it uncomfortable is how fucked-up social media has become, and how everyone’s got a camera in their pocket now. There are a lot of people out there who aren’t fans who just wanna be guilty by association or something. They wanna hold you in their pocket as a souvenir. And I think that sometimes that’s the part that gets annoying.”

Throughout the coronavirus lockdown, Armstrong also tackled a wide range of weekly new covers.

As well as delivering his take on The Equals’ Police on My Back, he also shared a rendition of Billy Bragg’s ‘A New England’.

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