Here at blfr we frequently lament the scarcity of bright, bold, creative, iconoclastic young bands who can cut new ground in rock while keeping it real.
But there is Green Day—the power-pop, retro-punk trio from Oakland, California. They're not kids anymore, but they've reinvented themselves in recent years (with two experimental but mega-successful punk rock operas) and, in the process, scooped up a new generation of young fans.
This band is now the standard bearer for Generation X and the Millennials. If that wasn't enough, Green Day's music has spawned a Broadway musical this year, American Idiot, which should win over a few more generations.
One reason for Green Day's success, methinks, is their total commitment to their ideals, which are abundantly expressed in their records. True to the punk tradition (especially by way of the '80s Berkeley scene) they consistently rail against racism, misogyny, and homophobia. (They once confronted a guy waiting in line for their concert wearing a 'White Power' T-shirt and told him they'd throw his dumb-ass out if he created any trouble.)
With Green Day you don't have to figure out what they stand for. File this under good branding.
And it's my fervent hope that in this US election season their many fans in the States will heed their message (pointedly expressed in the song below) and not support the new/old wave of American cultural narcissists, jingoists, and xenophobes (you know, the ones who speak of 'real Americans') who come out of the cracks during election seasons and to the rest of the world make Americans look like… well… idiots.
If you think the disruptive urgency of rock & roll is dead you need to watch the live segment of this clip. In the interview afterward, singer Billie Joe Armstrong defends Green Day's experimental approach and underscores the importance of innovation (in any business) by musing, 'Anything that's successful is a series of mistakes.'
Come to think of it, if idiots (American or otherwise) make mistakes, idiocy may have its redemptive qualities.