Even though Green Day faces a “Redundant” May, playing 25 shows in 31 days, drummer Tre’ Cool says he and singer-guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong and bassist Mike Dirnt are having the times of their lives.
“We’ve already done something like 94 shows,” Cool said. “When you see a schedule like this, you just have to make sure you know where you’re going and make sure you’re ready to be there when you get there, because you get to go to so many cool places and check some shit out.
“Being prepared for the fun you’re about to have is the thing. Basically, we’re on the road and having fun for a living. We don’t have to do anything we don’t like to do. We like playing shows, and if we want to play in a big place, we play in a big place. If we want to play in a small place, we play in a small place.”
They’re still talking about their April 17 performance on MTV’s “Live From the 10 Spot” at the Bottom of the Hill club in San Francisco. Toward the end of the set, Dirnt broke his nose during “She.”
“He bashed it real good,” Cool said. “I think he jumped too high and hit his bass on the ceiling and that mashed into his face. I don’t know … all I know is that he broke his nose. The next morning, he calls me and says, ‘Oh, shit, my nose is bleeding again.’ Mike’s a trouper, man. He gets hurt so much, it’s ridiculous. His nickname is Accident-Prone. Usually, he breaks an arm or knocks some teeth out.
“There was blood all over the place. The weird thing is, the day before, we were wondering what we could do for fun, what would be a cool thing, and I’m like, ‘Why don’t you spit blood, Mike? Like Gene Simmons, dude. You split blood and I’ll breathe fire.’ Then he takes me seriously, spitting blood out both of his nostrils and his mouth. Crazy son of a bitch.”
Fortunately, while Dirnt was tended to backstage, Cool and Armstrong were able to find a quick replacement: Debris guitarist Gavin Freitas.
“We were lucky,” Cool said. “Before the show, Gavin and Chris (Freeman), from Pansy Division, were outside and we were totally sold out, and I’m like, ‘Sneak ’em in, sneak ’em in.’ I got those guys tickets, right, and then we ended up using Chris later on ‘James Bondage,’ a song Chris wrote. When Mike got hurt, Billie put on the bass and Gavin got on the guitar on ‘Disappearing Boy.’ He’s there, all 95 pounds of Gavin, playing that shit. He did okay.”
Dirnt reappeared for two more songs before MTV’s hourlong show ended, but he stayed for 90 more minutes of Green Day originals and several cover versions, including Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” and The Who’s “My Generation.”
The Berkeley, Calif., power-punk rockers’ third Reprise album, “Nimrod,” is still going strong after seven months, selling more than 1 million copies and yielding yet another modern-rock track hit, the album’s third single “Redundant.”
“It’s a timeless rock ‘n’ roll album,” Cool said. “They’ll still be listening to this in 20 years.”
“Nimrod” also was the band’s most difficult album to record, Cool said, because there were so many songs to choose from.
“Billie Joe is a sick songwriter,” he said. “He has a songwriting disease, he just writes songs like crazy. I don’t know how he does it, but he does it a lot and really well.
“We were like practicing all year long and he kept bringing in songs and kept writing them on the wall till we had 40 songs up there. We recorded 30 and they’re all so good, so we’re like, ‘What are we gonna do?’ The ones we didn’t use, they’re B-sides, baby. Check out the European singles, they have tons of unreleased tracks and B-sides.”
BWF (before we forget): It’s a Green Day on the Web @ www.RepriseRec.com. … Green Day has had five No. 1 hits on Billboard’s modern rock chart – “Long View,” “Basket Case,” “When I Come Around,” “J.A.R. (Jason Andrew Relva)” and “Minority.” … The Green Day album discography – “39/Smooth” (Lookout, 1990); “Kerplunk” (1992); “Dookie” (Reprise, 1994); “Insomniac” (1995); “Nimrod” (1997); “Warning:” (2000).