Around the release of 2004’s career-redefining American Idiot, Green Day singer Billie Joe Armstrong expressed concerned about the future of America. “Everybody just sorta feels like they don’t know where their future is heading right now, ya know?” he said. History is repeating itself, because 12 years (and five Green Day albums) later, the country’s as divided and unsure as it’s been in decades, and President-elect Donald Trump isn’t even officially in office yet.
The furious songs on American Idiot were written during the heart of the George W. Bush years, when Armstrong was a young boy that had big plans in his 30s? Has his age mellowed him, Mike Dirnt, and Tré Cool? Not exactly.
In September, Green Day railed against Trump during a concert, with Armstrong telling the crowd, “No racism in this f*cking room! There is no white supremacy in this f*cking room right now! We are coming together tonight in New Jersey to call bullsh*t on all the f*cking politicians tonight!” He then changed the “pulverize the Eiffel Tower” line from “Holiday” to “pulverize the Trump Tower.” Last night at the American Music Awards, Green Day again expressed concern about Trump being the most powerful man in the world.
Armstrong, who previously compared Trump to Hitler, chanted, “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA!” during the performance of “Bang, Bang,” the first single from the band’s most recent album, Revolution Radio. The lyrical tweak is a nod to the 1982 single “Born to Die” by political punks MDC, which goes, “No war, no KKK, no fascist USA.” (MDC stands for Millions of Dead Cops.) Anyone who knows anything about Green Day should have expected a protest of sorts, but it was still a refreshingly rare moment of “authenticity” in an awards ceremony that considers Twenty One Pilots to be “alternative.”