Now, Stern is reflecting back on all of Green Day’s performances and why their 2001 appearance was so controversial.
One of Green Day’s first appearances on The Howard Stern Show was in 1997. Since Nimrod was released that same year, they performed songs from the album including “Basket Case.” Then, in 1998, Billie Joe Armstrong did an acoustic performance of “Time Of Your Life (Good Riddance)” while Tre Cool and Mike Dirnt watched on. This particular performance still remains one of Stern’s favorites.
It was their appearance in 2001, however, that Stern says is one of his show’s most controversial ever. According to Stern, one of the show’s producers talked to Green Day’s record label about what songs they should perform.
However, things didn’t end up going exactly as planned. Green Day, as it turns out, didn’t like that the label and Stern Show had discussed what songs they should play.
“We said, ‘Oh, you’re doing this and this song,'” Stern says. “And they go, ‘fuck you, we’re gonna do what [we want].'”
Stern says that Green Day thought they were being told what songs they had to play. In reality, Stern was only wondering what songs they were actually going to perform on his show.
Given the misunderstanding, Green Day decided to take full control of their performance on The Howard Stern Show, resulting in a moment Stern will never forget.
“We’re on regular radio where you can’t curse and they just went berserk.”
Green Day ended up performing “Platypus (I Hate You)” which is, obviously, filled with profanities and words not typically heard on regular radio. Stern shares that their performance was a big middle finger to radio stations and corporations that try to censor music.
“Actually, that song was kind of a ‘fuck you’ to the FCC an everything else in censorship,” Stern says. “You know, Green Day takes that shit seriously as I do too.”
Their 2001 performance on The Howard Stern Show ended up impacting quite a few of their future radio appearances. To start, Green Day didn’t return to The Howard Stern Show for 15 years. Other radio stations also had problems trusting the trio to perform live on their broadcasts.
“But anyway, they didn’t return to the show for 15 years following that because no radio station was going to trust them to come in and play live,” Stern says. “We had a dump button because you couldn’t have dirty words on the air, we would’ve just been thrown off the air. The dump button ran out.”
Since then, Green Day have performed 16 times on The Howard Stern Show. Most recently, they appeared on the show in 2019 where they performed “American Idiot,” “Father of All…” and “Wake Me Up When Septembers Ends.”
If you download SiriusXM’s mobile app, you can watch an hour-long compilation video of every Green Day appearance on The Howard Stern Show.
Watch Green Day’s controversial 2001 performance below.
What is your favorite Green Day performance on The Howard Stern Show? Let us know in the comments below.