Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong: “Sex Pistols killed punk before it could go mainstream”

His comments come ahead of the biopic series 'Pistol', which is set to drop next week

Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has opened up about the impact the Sex Pistols had on him as a musician.

Speaking about the first time he heard the punk icons, he told Rolling Stone: “Never Mind The Bollocks was one of the first punk records I ever heard.

“The first thing that popped into my mind when I heard ‘Holidays In The Sun’ is how those guitars sounded so gigantic and real; and hearing [John] Lydon’s vocals, how he was just sort of this anti-singer. For me, it just had a huge impact. Everything about it, from the lyrics to the guitar sounds to the songs, I thought was just perfect.”


He also said one of the things he admired about the Pistols was their ability to destroy punk before it went mainstream.

Sex Pistols CREDIT Barry Plummer / Press

“The Sex Pistols killed punk before it had the opportunity to go mainstream back then. What they had proved is that punk rock was not meant for the masses,” Armstrong continued.

“If you’re picking up the guitar to play punk rock music, it’s not for fame. You do this because it’s something that matters to you and it’s something that’s underground, and that was my early experience of being in a punk band with Green Day. And obviously with Green Day it was a different trajectory altogether, but I gotta say I didn’t predict that for us.”

He also elaborated on the impact the punk icons have had on bands today.

Armstrong added: “It gives you faith that music is not just there to be manufactured and corporate and consumerist. It’s there because people are investing into their lives and reflecting the way that they feel about the world and the way they feel about themselves.”


His comments come ahead of the biopic series Pistol, which is set to on Disney+ on May 31.

The series has come in for criticism from John Lydon who called the series a “middle class fantasy” that is “rewriting history” and “would be funny if it wasn’t tragic”.

Despite his comments, director Danny Boyle said that he wants Lydon to “attack” Pistol, saying that he wouldn’t expect the singer to “change the habit of a lifetime”.