Billie Joe Armstrong, Billie Eilish on art, sanity, kicking people in the head
Getting the rare chance to interview each other, Eilish expresses her love of Green Day while Armstrong shares his admiration for the 17-year-old artist's music.
Although the iconic 1994 album Dookie came out seven years before Eilish was born, the album still holds her favorite Green Day track, "All By Myself."
Eilish states she has been listening to Armstrong's band since she was nine, thanks largely to her brother and fellow artists FINNEAS who was a massive fan.
Similarly, it appears that Armstrong is a huge Eilish fan in return.
"I know this sounds [weird], but I always gravitate toward music that sounds like freedom," Armstrong explains. "And that’s what I get from your music. It’s like an earnest person that’s expressing themselves and incorporating new sounds. Some of it sounds like jazz to me, if that’s cool to say?"
He adds, "But the lyrics are also just very real. That’s important when you’re surrounded by things that sound synthetic and not very real."
Armstrong also takes a moment to reflect on the importance of being real during the crazy times of your career.
"There’s extreme highs, and you’re playing to a new audience really excited to hear you. But I think what was really important to me was being real. I think I worried about that too much, the part where you’re thinking, “I need to stay rooted at all costs.” Sometimes I would get very hardheaded about that. And the record after that, Insomniac, was a really dark record. I was pretty numb to everything."
Eilish jumps in to discuss the pressures of touring and how life continues to move on while you're on the road.
" There was a period where I was like, “Do I even enjoy music?” It just felt like so much touring. And I don’t mean the shows. The shows are always my favorite part. But it was just traveling and being alone all the time, on a cold bus in Europe, horrible food, and when you come back, everyone’s kind of moved on from you. This last tour I went on was the first I’ve ever enjoyed. I feel like I have this amazing thing that now I actually see."
Lightening the mood, Eilish takes a moment to ask Armstrong a very important question.
"Hey, I don’t even know how to ask this, but what gave you the urge to, like, moon the audience, or kick people in the head and stuff?"
Armstrong replies, "Oh, Jesus, kicking people in the head? Did I kick somebody in the head?"
"There’s a video that’s the hardest shit I’ve ever seen," Eilish explains. "There was somebody in the crowd doing something, and you just jump on the person in the crowd. That was the hardest, most gangster shit. Like, what made you be so dope?"
While Eilish refers to the moment as "dope," Armstrong doesn't recommend following his actions.
"I think someone was getting kind of aggro, and then we started having a back-and-forth yelling at each other. And then I was literally fighting with someone in the crowd. I wouldn’t recommend it. Please don’t do it."
You can read the full Rolling Stone interview with Billie Eilish and Billie Joe Armstrong here.
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For our Musicians on Musicians issue, Billie Eilish asked her songwriting hero Billie Joe Armstrong about early Green Day, staying sane in the industry and that time he got into a fight with a guy in the audience. "I have never been more self-conscious than when you came to my show," Eilish tells Armstrong. "I'm glad you came to that one, and not a shitty one." Tap the link in our bio for the full conversation.