Not Quite The Time of His Life: A Look at Billie Joe's Vegas Breakdown
Rarely does an album cover so accurately reflect real life.
For most bands, the week of their album release is full of excitement. It's the moment when people are most interested in what they're doing. They get to do the press rounds, fans get to hear the new songs, and the label waits to see if their investment paid off.
Today Uno, the first of Green Day's new trilogy of records, hits stores but this week will not be the victory lap the band hoped for. Instead of being all over the national press the band instead had to put out a press release explaining that their lead singer was headed to rehab.
How could it go so wrong for one of the biggest bands in the world?
Well, it starts by agreeing to play a gig at a big corporate music festival. It gets worse when you find yourself short on time. Freaking out and breaking your instrument only exacerbates the situation.
It really doesn't help that the show is bring broadcast on the Internet.
But if you're looking for some play by play commentary we've got you covered: watch the video below and check out the following in-depth breakdown:
0:01: We join the band in the middle of "Basket Case," which is sounding pretty good.
0:05-0:16: You might think the crowd is really in to the show but that's just careful editing. Sure, the people front and center are having a good time, but there's a greater story unfolding when you really look. A lot of people in the background are clearly uninterested in what's going on, along with one girl who seems to think the show is a bit too loud.
0:20: Billie Joe isn't the only one bored with the performance. In fairness to him, he's probably played the song 2,000 or so times so I can understand wanting to play something new. It's still a bad call for two reasons:
a.) "Basket Case" is an awesome song with a rad ending, so he's killing it before the best part. b.) The new Green Day songs are all pretty boring. "Let Yourself Go," for example, sounds like a bad blink-182 leftover.
0:28: It is at this point the phrase "One minute left" is uttered for the first time. This brings up a question: Did he stop the song out of boredom or did he look at the time warning and lose his shit? It could go either way. After all, he had to know that he couldn't fit a new song into a minute, either.
It's worth noting that at this moment the rest of the band is just hanging out, not looking too upset about the time issue.
0:40: Good on the production crew to grab a shot of the display showing the "1 minutes" warning, which would have been easy to ignore. I'm not sure what amuses me more: The fact that the sign reads "1 Minutes" instead of "1 Minute," or the guy standing under the sign that points up to it, so everyone knows what Billie Joe is talking about.
0:46: Billie Joe claims he's been around since 198-fucking-8. This is a weird claim for a variety of reasons:
a.) He was born in 1972. b.) The band that would eventually become Green Day, then known as Sweet Children, was formed in 1987. c.) By most accounts the band didn't change its name until 1989. d.) Most people didn't care about them until 1994.
I'm not saying he's wrong, I'm just saying that's a weird date to go with.
1:02: I think we can all agree on this: He is not in fact fucking Justin Bieber. I don't think they could have shown that on the Webcast.
1:10: Why does he suddenly develop a new accent?
1:21-1:22: This is my favorite part of the video. At this point he knows he has to do something since he's just spent the last minute complaining so he goes with the old classic: guitar smashing. Not the worst idea in the world until he gets to the moment above.
It's hard to see in still frame but in motion it's amazing: it's as if for a fraction of a second he suddenly realizes "wait, I'm not sure I can do this." His arms go up, he pauses at the top of the swing, and then with no other option he leaps forward and brings the guitar down. Of course it doesn't break.
1:25: How awesome is Mike Dirnt as a friend? Once he sees that Billie Joe is determined to do this, having failed on the first two swings, he finally takes his bass off and starts trying to break it as well. He could have walked offstage but he didn't; he stood by his lead singer even when he was making a fool of himself.
Tre Cool is much more laid-back about the situation and simply walks off stage without even attempting to knock his drum set over.
1:39: People have asked about what Billie Joe meant when he said "We'll be back." I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that he's referring to Green Day's February 8 return to Las Vegas, provided he's back on the road by then.
Uses of some variant of the word "Fuck": 21 Swings it took to break the guitar: 5 Members of Green Day who entered rehab after this event: 1 Times Billie Joe used the word "Uno" instead of "One": 0
Lesson learned: Always have a one-minute song ready to play. Impossible, you say? Not if you listen to one punk-rock veteran:
Fuck the Kids, Juicehead, See Her Pee... 3 songs in one minute. Whats the problem with one minute?
— Mike Burkett (@FatMike_of_NOFX) September 24, 2012
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.