Get To Know Your Enemy | GREEN DAY’s American Odyssey
FEBRUARY 26, 2020 by Jenna Enemy
It’s funny how the Fates work. They come and go like the tide, never knowing when or if you’ll ever see them again. If you’re a musician, it’s never clear which is better; seeing them come, or seeing them go. Last September I had a moment to see greatness before me, up close and personal. The band of my teenage dreams was about to materialize right in front of me, that band was Green Day. Instead, the Fates shuffled the deck, and decided that finding Jesus of Suburbia was going to take me on a different path.
It was an early Tuesday morning, September 10th to be exact. I was in East Los Angeles and I just finished up a night of seeing one of my favorite bands of all time, Angels and Airwaves. Needless to say, I was already in musical heaven; that’s when I saw the message. I received a suspicious tip…. it said: “Go to the Whisky a GO GO tonight,” followed by a thread of very cryptic emojis that I could decipher about as easy as ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. This particular “deepthroat” thought that Green Day might be making a secret appearance and risked it all to tell me. I was skeptical and thought my friend was just drunk and bored again. Knowing how much I loved music, this wouldn’t be the first time I fell for their catfish style shenanigans.
Shrugging off what I deemed to be just another desperate attempt from one of my friends to get me to hang out all night long on the strip. I ignored the message and decided to enjoy my last night in L.A. doing what tourist do. First, I inhaled In N Out burger with family, then I drove down PCH listening to KROQ. I ended the day by taking my last few glimpses of the Ocean before I got sent back to my little land-locked ice box in Minneapolis. It was a perfect day until I saw deepthroat’s picture messages later that night; grinning ear-to-ear almost arm-in-arm with Green Day at the Whisky.
Title Track from the album, American Idiot
I should’ve known better, of course Green Day would play a small intimate venue; because they’re the coolest band in the world. They do coolest band in the world things. I later find out from a few of my L.A. friends that Green Day does that every now and then. Turns out they play small clubs every so often in L.A. or OC… but I digress. Sure enough, I missed the Green Day concert of a lifetime and have had severe FOMO ever since. Wake me up when September ends, friends.
Wake Me Up When September Ends from the album, American Idiot
This isn’t the first time my path had almost crossed Green Day front-man and the Father of All…(clears throat) Punk Rock legend: Billie Joe Armstrong. In fact, he and I share quite a bit of common ground. For one thing, he and his Minnesotan wife (that’s right!) own a home in Minnesota in our capitol city: Minneapolis’ older, crotchety, and slightly more confusing brother, Saint Paul.
As these same Fates would have it, Billie and I also have mutual friends in common. One of my very first jobs was working for The Triple Rock Social Club, a punk venue that members of Dillinger Four owned and operated. I loved hearing the “glory days” touring stories of their time on the road with Green Day. I still fantasize about the lavish sushi platters Erik Funk described when he spoke of their buses and green rooms. He always told me to tour with Green Day if you get the opportunity; they’ll take care of you. L.A. based fan favorites, The Interrupters will attest to this fact.
Freedom Lies in Being Bold
Green Day has always had a soft spot for Minneapolis and spoke highly of the scene here. One of my favorite recordings is an interview they did with the University of Minnesota’s radio station WMMR after playing First Avenue’s 7th Street Entry, a stage The Von Tramps and I love playing.
In the recording, Billie is handed an acoustic guitar and candidly plays kerplunk era songs with Mike Dirnt. You can tell Billie is still developing his voice and they’re finding their style; but it’s one of those moments that I told you we would talk about in this column. It’s the moment right when Green was on the cusp of transforming from that one awesome punk band from the Bay Area into Green Day: Master of International Superhits. You can feel the momentum in this recording and it’s stunning. I wonder if they even knew their lives were about to change? Or if they even cared; more possibly the latter.
Green Day Interview WMMR + Music Live 1991
I discovered this recording when doing a deep Green Day dive on tour a couple years ago. Part of my pre-show ritual is sneaking away and warming up by myself. It was so fitting to stumble on it when alone in our sweaty mini-van parked right outside of Green Day’s 924 Gilman. It was the first time The Von Tramps would play this iconic venue and it seemed so appropriate that our hometowns were colliding moments before I walked onto Sweet Children’s stage.
Oh Yeah! from the new album titled, Father of All Motherfuckers
Suffice it to say, for me… Green Day is kind of my big white whale; I’m always so close, but just out of reach, not this time! It’s also said the Fates reward the fearless, so clearly, this story isn’t over. Sure, the band has had its challenges over the years, haven’t we all. What seems to endear us to the trio is that despite everything life has thrown at them, they pick themselves up and take on life over and over again. That’s what we love so much about them, they are just like you and me. They seem to be the kind of guys you can sit down at a bar and share a drink with and talk about your day.
Green Day has a new album in tow, so let’s stick a harpoon in this FOEs as the HELLA MEGA TOUR is almost upon us! This journey is a five-leg mega tour featuring support from other legends of ALT Rock, Fall Out Boy, and Weezer. The tour also features 4th wave ska-punk juggernauts, The Interrupters. These bands are epic on their own, and all under one umbrella. Bottom line, this is a Hella Good Mega Tour!
FOR INFORMATION ON THE HELLA MEGA TOUR
With such demand for this tour, keep an eye on this website as there may be more shows added.
With all this in mind, I asked my Twin Cities neighbor, Billie, if he’d like to say a few things on the tour, but he was unavailable. Maybe I’ll stop by for a cup of sugar and a story the next time I’m in the Summit neighborhood of Saint Paul.
P.S. Billie, Mike and Tre, thanks for the theme song “Know Your Enemy.” That’s pretty darn sweet of you.
Jenna Enemy AKA Mother of all Fatherfockers
Know Your Enemy from the album titled, 21st Century Breakdown