“I know my limitations, but at the same time I’m really pushing myself to be a better guitar player”: Billie Joe Armstrong on ripping solos like Angus Young – and what Green Day have in common with Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran

Billie Joe Armstrong
(Image credit: Future / Jen Rosenstein)

Green Day burst onto the scene  – or, at least, the mainstream scene – 30 years ago with Dookie, the multi-platinum monster of a record that was largely responsible for dragging punk rock out of cramped clubs and dingy DIY venues and into the world of sold-out arenas, glossy magazine covers and near-constant radio and MTV rotation. 

And while the trio – singer and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong, bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tré Cool – remain by far the most commercially successful punk band in history, they’ve also spent the last three decades taking a torch to any conventional ideas of what punk actually is. 

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.