Billie Joe Armstrong Thought Fans Would Hate ‘Good Riddance’
In an exclusive clip from Billie Joe Armstrong's upcoming Words + Music Audible installment, the Green Day frontman discusses his trepidation over debuting the band's classic 1997 acoustic ballad “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).”
"I remember the first time I ever sang it live. I thought people were gonna throw bottles at me because the single was gonna come out," Armstrong recalls. "And so right at the end of our set, I remember going backstage. I was like, 'Okay, I'm gonna do it.' And I grabbed a beer and I chugged it. And then I went out with my guitar and I played it, and it got an amazing response."
Armstrong is the latest artist to take part in Audible’s Words + Music series, which combines personal storytelling and exclusive performances to provide an in-depth look at some of the biggest names in music and the moments that shaped them. Other artists to participate in the series include St. Vincent, Alanis Morissette, Sting, Patti Smith and Tom Morello.
As the frontman of the most commercially successful punk band of all time, Armstrong has enjoyed euphoric highs and suffered crushing lows over the past 30-plus years. His new Audible special, titled Billie Joe Armstrong: Welcome to My Panic, chronicles Green Day’s rise from snotty Bay Area punks to globe-trotting superstars, and Armstrong’s battle to maintain his integrity through it all.
In the exclusive clip, which you can hear below, Armstrong also expresses his amazement at the crossover appeal of "Good Riddance," which appeared in the final Seinfeld episode, became a graduation-song staple and exposed the group to a brand-new audience.
"When it was on Seinfeld, the season finale, and it became sort of this prom — it was like proms, graduations and funerals and weddings or something like that," the frontman says. "I never anticipated that song going from like, playing, you know, dirty punk clubs to suddenly being quotes for someone's yearbook."
Green Day were set to embark on the Hella Mega tour last year with fellow pop-punk and alt-rock titans Fall Out Boy and Weezer. The band delayed the stadium trek due to the coronavirus pandemic but is tentatively scheduled to resume touring again in Europe at the end of May — and fans can expect to hear "Good Riddance" on the road.
"It's really fun to play 'Good Riddance' live because you're able to look at people in the crowd, and it's at the end of a really sweaty — everybody dancing and going crazy, and you get this one last piece of music where people are really unified and singing along," Armstrong says in Welcome to My Panic. "It makes me want to go out and play a show right now, actually."