Category: Green Day

Don't listen to me, I have Screeching Weasel tattooed on my arm, but ...

There's no "American Idiot" without Screeching Weasel. If the Ramones helped define the pop-punk template for urban malaise, Screeching Weasel reclaimed it for suburbia. The down-and-out, disillusioned and financially unstable couch-bound characters that dominate the Green Day soap opera were the misfit heroes of nearly every Screeching Weasel album.

That opening paragraph makes the bratty Screeching Weasel out to be something serious. Make no mistake, the band grappled with aging (the fear of impending fatness in "Pretty Girls Don't Talk to Me"), tolerance ("I Wanna Be A Homosexual") and themes of maturity throughout its career. Ben Weasel (real name: Ben Foster) colored his insecurities with conversational, self-deprecating details. "I'm sure you got a boyfriend and he's probably a lawyer or something" he sang on "I Wanna Be With You Tonight."

Weasel_tat_Of course, he also pleaded with girls to "Lose the Dink," bragged about his political indifference and had little use for metaphors, unless they were somehow related to television shows. "If you were a TV show," Weasel told one ex, "baby, you would have been cancelled." 

Snarling its way out of the northwest suburbs of Chicago in the late '80s, Screeching Weasel created the roadmap for what would be the mid-'90s pop-punk explosion, when the songs of Green Day, Blink-182 and Offspring made the slacker a king. Screeching Weasel's anthems weren't of the woe-is-me-sort, however. There was anger, but this was motivation through sarcasm, and "old folks," Led Zeppelin, surfers and girls with boyfriends were the target of Weasel's venom. 

Now on the reunion circuit, Screeching Weasel plays Club Nokia in Los Angeles on Sunday night, making a rare appearance outside of the Midwest. The night prior, Weasel-off-shoot the Riverdales (Screeching Weasel with less snarl and more pop) will appear at the Troubadour. The Weasel Weekend is a well-deserved and long overdue victory lap, and not simply because it keeps songs such as "Amy Saw Me Looking At Her Boobs" alive in the American rock 'n' roll canon. 

Look, Pop & Hiss understands the Club Nokia gig is not a cheap ticket for a punk rock show. While the $21 list doesn't seem so steep, various Ticketmaster fees and AEG building fees ultimately result in a $41.40 ticket. That's a Hollywood Bowl-like investment you're looking at right there. But there are reasons Screeching Weasel may be worth the cash.

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Live review: Green Day at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater

GreenDayStory Billie Joe Armstrong and company reinforce their scrappy punk status at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, inviting fans to come on stage and sing along.

Heads up, Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman: You may be in for some unexpected company come November.

“I’m running for governor of California!” Billie Joe Armstrong revealed Tuesday night at Irvine’s Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, where Green Day played one of the final dates of its U.S. tour in support of last year’s “21st Century Breakdown.”

That this announcement came not long after the frontman declared (in slightly saltier language) that he’s a rock star and can therefore do whatever the heck he wants was no cause for worry: Armstrong is a benevolent despot who encourages fans to join him onstage and launches free merchandise into the cheap seats with an air-powered T-shirt gun.

The singer’s introduction into state politics would present another problem, though: the early retirement of what might be America’s best live band.

Green Day is riding as high as it ever has this year, thanks in large part to the success of “American Idiot,” the Broadway adaptation of its 2004 album of the same name. And in Irvine the Oakland-based outfit — filled out to a six-piece with auxiliary players on guitars, keyboards and other instruments — seemed determined to prove that its theatrical streak runs deep.
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Ann Powers on the 2010 Grammy Awards: It's not all about the music

These days, visuals, media saturation and listener interaction are as crucial as the notes.

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When will.i.am shouted, "Welcome to the future!" as he and the rest of the Black Eyed Peas cavorted with a blur of dancers through a medley that sounded like a military cadence mixed with an ad jingle at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, he wasn't only spouting a cliche. His bulletin announced that pop music's winning game is changing, and that the only way for the music business to survive is to jump into the pandemonium.

This year's telecast and the awards it celebrated showed how the recording industry is definitively moving beyond albums, and even songs, as the basic unit by which music is both sold and affects our lives. Music is increasingly enhanced by visual or dramatic elements that deepen or even change its messages; it intersects with other art forms, like dance and fashion, to form more complex statements, and benefits profoundly from the active engagement of fans. These perennial realities have now thoroughly transcended the idea that the literary, privately absorbed version of music -- exemplified by the records that played on the gramophone that is the Grammy symbol -- matters most.

The night's performances connected to Broadway (best rock album winner Green Day's performance of "21 Guns" with the cast of the forthcoming New York musical based on their 2004 album "American Idiot"), Cirque du Soleil (Pink's gorgeous "Glitter in the Air," which featured the soulful rock star doing an aerial routine with silk ropes), opera (Mary J. Blige's duet of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" with tenor Andrea Bocelli), and the rise of social media (Bon Jovi playing a song requested by fans over the Internet.)

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Grammy Countdown: Is this Dave Matthews' year?

Pop & Hiss will be handicapping the major Grammy categories leading up to the Jan. 31 telecast. Read our picks, and vote for your own, below.

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The category:
Best rock album

The field at a glance: A pair of recent Grammy winners will compete for this year's best rock album title. U2 and Green Day have each won this category in recent years. Green Day for its first attempt at the rock opera with "American Idiot," and U2 for its prior two efforts, "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" and "All That You Can't Leave Behind."

Prior to the announcement of the nominations, it would have been easy to guess that best rock album would largely be a bout between U2 and Green Day. Green Day's "21st Century Breakdown" is another ambitious effort from the group, once again filling out its punk rock with Broadway-ready flourishes. U2's "No Line on the Horizon" wasn't the runaway sales success of its prior efforts -- although at more than 1 million copies sold to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan, it wasn't exactly a retail bomb, either -- and the band won high marks for its 360 Tour.

Yet neither rock release was chosen to represent the genre in the overall best album field. Instead, that honor went to Dave Matthews Band's "Big Whiskey And the GrooGrux King," a release that received generally favorable reviews for maintaining a rather direct rock 'n' roll drive. But don't count out AC/DC's "Black Ice." While a late 2008 release, it was one of that year's bestselling rock efforts, and AC/DC is overdue for Grammy recognition. Though it doesn't do anything different, it showed AC/DC hasn't lost any of its energy.

A live release from Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood rounds out the field. It's here on brand recognition only, and while Grammy voters have a tendency to go with the elder statesman, it shouldn't be considered a serious contender.

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Grammy countdown: Is there an M.I.A.-like surprise for record of the year?

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M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes" wasn't the obvious choice to be nominated for a major Grammy Award. The song, after all, uses a string of gun shots as one of its hooks. At a major award gala, one in which the Dixie Chicks were considered a surprisingly political nomination choice, it would be safe to assume that the revolutionary anthem "Paper Planes" would be sitting the kudos event out. 

Yet old man Grammy had a few surprises in store for its 2009 telecast, nominating M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes" for record of the year, and embracing obscenity-per-second rapper Lil Wayne in its album of the year field. Ultimately, the more conservative choices won, but a step on the continued road to relevancy had been taken.

Can the Grammys maintain a bit of adventure when nominees are announced this Wednesday evening? Pop & Hiss has already handicapped the major album and new artist categories, and today turns the attention to the record of the year field. In a year that featured new singles from Green Day and U2, is there room for any new blood in Club Grammy? Read on.

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Green Day to give '21 Guns' a theatrical makeover

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Liked Green Day's "21 Guns" but thought it lacked a certain -- how shall we say? -- pizazz?

Then you are in luck, as Green Day will re-release the cut later this month with the cast of Berkeley Rep's "American Idiot." The musical, based on the 2004 Green Day album of the same name, made its debut in the Bay Area earlier this fall, where Times theater critic Charles McNulty found it more positive than negative, writing, " 'American Idiot' translates Green Day's generational angst into a moody theatrical fantasia. If it doesn't spin an entirely satisfying yarn, its roar is still irresistible."

An official release date wasn't given for the newly recorded single, but it will be made available for purchase at all major digital outlets. Green Day will perform this Sunday on the American Music Awards on ABC, and "American Idiot" just finished its run in Berkeley.

The next stop for the musical? Likely Broadway. 

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Rihanna, Green Day added to American Music Awards lineup

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Rihanna will take a break from the interview circuit to promote her upcoming "Rated R" at this month's American Music Awards. The pop star, on the verge of releasing her first album since last February's pre-Grammy incident with Chris Brown, was among of host of new performers unveiled Friday morning.

Green Day, Shakira, Mary J. Blige and Keith Urban were also added to the AMA lineup. The AMAs will take place Nov. 22 from the Nokia Theatre and downtown's L.A. Live complex, airing live for the East Coast at 8 p.m.

Tickets for the AMAs, which range from $70 all the way up to $1,000 VIP packages, not including Ticketmaster surcharges, of course, are on sale now. There is a four-ticket minimum when purchasing a VIP package, bringing the total cost to over $4,100. 

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Grammys 2010: An early look at album of the year (Part 2)

GRAMMY AWARDS 2010

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For the first time, the Grammy eligibility year has been moved up from the end of September to the final day of August. In making the change, the eligibility period for the 2010 Grammy Awards was shortened to 11 months (the Grammy year will be back to a 12-month cycle, with the new qualifying dates, for the 2011 awards). 

Ultimately, this means that heavy hitters such as Mariah Carey and Jay-Z will now have to wait until 2011 to see their albums get Grammy recognition. An album now must be released no later than Aug. 31 to be in the Grammy running.

That means it's time to look at the albums most likely to be lauded by Recording Academy voters in the album of the year field, Grammys' biggest prize. Note, however, what follows is not a reflection of the year's best albums. No discussion of that sort could happen without mention of Metric's "Fantasies," Lily Allen's "It's Not Me, It's You" and on and on and on. 

For now, however, get your pencils and scorecards ready. Here's an early look at some of the works most likely to receive album of the year attention when Grammy nominations are unveiled at the end of the year.

This is Part 2 of the installment. Click here for Part 1 to see what you missed. Pop & Hiss will be back to see how wrong we all were in December.

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Live review: Green Day at the Forum

The pop-punk veteran group spreads its message of secular humanism in an age of 'static and contraband' before a mass of screaming Southern Californians.

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"Look at where we live!" Billie Joe Armstrong, the frontman of Oakland pop-punk veteran Green Day, exclaimed Tuesday night at the Forum, where he spent considerable time extolling the virtues of life in California after spending two months on the road.

The show capped the band's North American tour in support of its latest album, "21st Century Breakdown," the follow-up to its Grammy winning epic "American Idiot."

"We've just gotta get rid of Arnold Schwarzenegger," Armstrong continued, riling the already enthusiastic crowd. "We're bankrupt! But tonight we're not bankrupt of hope, or of belief."

At the Forum, business in belief was booming. Over three action-packed hours, Green Day proved that the arena-rock concert -- usually a venue for chest-beating bravado and shallow bombast -- can be a meaningful experience, an opportunity for a band with something to say, to say it.

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Road trip alert: Tickets for Green Day's 'American Idiot' on sale Friday

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Green Day will be back in Los Angeles with a date at the Forum on Aug. 25, and those who want to further explore the theatrical side of the band's last two albums -- 2004's "American Idiot" and this spring's "21st Century Breakdown" -- may want to take a trip up to Berkeley the following week for the premiere of the "American Idiot"-inspired musical. Tickets, writes our sister blog Culture Monster, will be on sale Friday. That's supposedly earlier than the Berkeley Repertory Theatre had originally planned.

"American Idiot" will open up north on Sept. 4. Here's some more details, as reported by David Ng:

Ticket prices start at $32 – and will be sold for half that for anyone under 30 years of age, according to the theater.

"American Idiot," which runs through Oct. 11, will feature music from the band's Grammy-winning album of the same name, plus selections from their album "21st Century Breakdown." Directed by Michael Mayer, who also staged "Spring Awakening," the show will have a live onstage band and a youthful cast of 19 actors, including Tony-winner John Gallagher Jr.

The theater says that phone and in-person sales for "American Idiot" will  begin Aug.16 at noon. The numbers are (510) 647-2949 or (888) 4-BRT-Tix.

Of course, Green Day fans are probably already aware of this, but pre-sale tickets are available now if you purchase through the band's site and enter a promotional code. 

-- Todd Martens

Photo: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

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