The only Green Day song not sung by Billie Joe Armstrong

Billie Joe Armstrong

Billie Joe Armstrong shows energy that defines every Green Day song. Armstrong’s stories of being a teenage burnout helped fans move beyond the sorrow of grunge. They resumed having fun when the majority of the rock community was still in shock over Kurt Cobain’s death. Though he wrote every song on Green Day’s collection, Armstrong became overlooked by his fellow musicians on one of their songs.

Armstrong initially became interested in the music of Van Halen and Ozzy Osbourne. He learned songs like “Crazy Train” and “Ain’t Talkin’Bout Love” while still in high school. After becoming involved with local punk bands like Crimpshrine and collaborating with Mike Dirnt, a classmate on bass, Armstrong started penning original songs.

With drummer John Kiffmeyer at the drum kit, the recently renamed Green Day started to gain recognition in the local punk scene by putting out a few EPs on Lookout Records. But as soon as the group began to make progress on their debut album, 39/Smooth, Armstrong realised something was lacking.

Kiffmeyer was the band’s publicist and de facto manager. His drumming approach was beginning to get in the way of the other members. So, the group eventually brought in Tre Cool from the nearby band The Lookouts. Cool’s approach was initially more chaotic than Kiffmeyer’s. However, things started to come together when he streamlined his kit for the band’s second album, Kerplunk.

Cool’s outrageous sense of humour was one of the group’s bonus factors. Cool originally aimed to become a clown. Unmatched since Keith Moon’s heyday, his comedic timing behind the kit featured outrageous comments every time he took the mic.

It was only a matter of time until Cool took the lead vocals for the first time. As his humorous banter had become a mainstay of their performances and rehearsals. Cool performed a joke song he created about a character who enjoys nothing more than S&M, “Dominated Love Slave,” on Armstrong’s guitar.

While Cool’s performance isn’t bad, it’s evident that all the instruments aim to induce laughter, from Armstrong’s energetic drumming to Dirnt’s faux-hick twang on the backing vocals. This one joke song would pave the way for the release of numerous other joke songs as B-sides. It includes “DUI,” a B-side, and Cool’s “All By Myself,” a hidden track on Dookie.

Armstrong would occasionally give in to his bandmates after that. The band members each wrote a portion of the song “Homecoming”. It is a suite of songs they performed while working on their massive rock opera American Idiot.

The bondage theme would come in handy for the band a few years later, even though it was a complete joke. Green Day’s album Warning, released almost a decade after their ironic joke song, includes “Blood Sex and Booze”. It  features a dominatrix “performance” as the opening to another song about getting whipped. There was never any sense that Green Day was taking themselves too seriously. Even though they became one of the founding rock bands of the modern era.

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