During last night's interview with Billie Joe Armstrong, the Green Day front man divulged a secret to warming up backstage on Broadway: “I once came up with a Spider-Man costume.”At the final round of live interviews for The New York Times Arts & Leisure Weekend feature, Patrick Healy moderated the talk between American Idiot director, Michael Mayer, and Armstrong, whose Broadway cast performed a special acoustic performance.
“Some days I arrive to rehearsals and everybody is warming up doing harmonies or vocal progressions,” said Armstrong, 38, who is scheduled for five performances until February and favors the nonchalant approach to Broadway. “I just go and grab some costume and go around.”
But that might just be humility doing the talking.
For instance, when asked why he chose to bring Armstrong to Broadway to perform, Mayer said, “If you’ve ever seen Billy Joe perform with Green Day, you’ll see why. He’s a force of nature.”
In fact, box office reports show an increase on “American Idiot” ticket sales since September, when Armstrong started to appear, playing the part of troubled character St. Jimmy. “Who would know that in the same place where Carol Channing came down the stairs doing Hello Dolly!... now we have this!” said Mayer, showing unrestrained admiration for Armstrong. “Coming to a theater, the crowd becomes an orchestra,” said Armstrong, doing a live impersonation of the famed Bugs Bunny clip directing an orchestra, using the Times audience to create a grand ovation from his fan base. But as American Idiot was a reflection of the war on Iraq and the Bush era, when asked about how he would update his magnum opus in the Wikileaks and Tea Party era, he had some fighting words:
“Do we need free health care? Fuck yeah! I believe the Republicans are wise in some areas and not so smart in others… I don’t want to have all my songs to be so political, though.”
After confirming that a movie version of American Idiot is also on the works, the Green Day leader came up front with his thoughts for 2011:
“Some people categorize what we do as pop punk, punk rock… My New Year’s resolution is not to be classified as any other thing than as Billy Joe Armstrong.”
[Image via Fash99]