Green Day: Interview with Mike Dirnt

Tell me about playing Live 8.

I think Live 8 was a really great forum. Anytime you can be a part of something like Live 8, or the original Live Aid for that matter, and you can socially make a difference on this planet, and come together for a positive thing, who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? It’s amazing.

And it was pretty intense, playing in Berlin for 200,000 people. It’s something on the one hand you want to do and on the other hand, you just hope it’ll come through. We’ve got the leaders of these countries to go ahead and promise that they’ll help and promise the money, but now it’s a matter of staying on ’em and making sure they do it.

How do you do that?

There’s a thing called the ONE campaign.You sign up for the ONE campaign and they will keep you informed of what’s going on. Basically it’s for lobbying, you can send your e-mails in for lobbying to let your local leaders know that it’s their job to represent you to our government. Your voice can be heard.

One voice is actually stronger than situations may appear to have it be. A lot of the time people think their voice isn’t worth anything, especially when people feel a lot of the time that they’ve voting for the lesser of two evils.

It’s like a ripple effect in the water.You can send a wave all the way across the ocean if you throw that first stone in the water.

Do you ever really get used to playing the huge places and the crowds of 200,000 people?

A lot of people will say, ‘Oh, I just like seeing bands in a club, and this and that.’You know what? I love playing in small clubs. I love playing giant arenas, or festivals or whatever. I just really like to play. I’m nervous before I go on stage every time. I think the day I need to be nervous is the day I’m not nervous anymore. I’m fortunate, and I try to remind myself of that all the time. Fortunate to be doing what I do. But no, I don’t think you ever get used to it, I really don’t. Every day is a different day, different situation.

How is the tour going?

Pretty good. We actually missed two shows though, Billie’s voice wore out, which is actually only the third time it’s happened in 17 years. He’s alright now, as far as we know.

We missed two days and we had a day off after that, so he’s had some time to rest and we’re going to play a show for the first time since then tonight. We’re in Oklahoma right now. It should be great.

It’s really tough too, because we’ll obviously come back—we didn’t cancel, we’ll reschedule, we’re going to come back and finish those shows up and we’ll make them better than ever, I’m sure—but it’s so tough, because you feel like shit about it.

You never want anyone to leave your show unhappy for any reason whatsoever.Yeah, I know Billie comes down on himself pretty hard about it, but it’s like, we are human, regardless of what people want to think. (laughs)

You can kind of trace Green Day along with the growth of punk as a genre. It seems as Green Day came of age, all of punk came of age.

The thread is sewn through Green Day’s music. In our career, you can see it. If you did a retrospective of our career, you could see the growth of us as a band.

One thing I think that’s been important to us as a band growing and everything is that we never took for granted—no matter what our state of popularity was or anything—we always respected that and we never made a mockery of where we come from.

This band has never been a joke to us, it’s always been a very real thing and we treat it with that kind of respect. It’s its own entity for us, it’s a living thing to us, and it’s the thing we do best.

And I think that’s where you get your maturity, is experience, and just touring and touring, and never taking for granted where you’re at. If there’s 50 people that are willing to come out and see your band, be thankful for that. If there’s 50,000, be thankful for that.

Now that you’ve done something as grand as American Idiot, with that kind of depth, where do you go from there?

Well, you know, I think one of the important things for us will be to take our time.We still write all the time right now, just to keep our creative juices flowing, and it’s been such a big year, we’re going to have to take our time and take a deep breath and give our fans a deep breath too because it’s been pretty intense. We just want to wait and write the record. I don’t want to put our expectations too high. I think we just need to wait and write the record that we think is right for Green Day.