Brain Stew

2 Oct

I can’t watch.

I know it’s out there everywhere online – YouTube and Facebook and a bazillion tabloid sites – but I just can’t bring myself to seek it out.

I can’t bear watching Billie Joe Armstrong lose his marbles on international TV.

Billie Joe Armstrong: the prettiest girl in punk rock

There have been any number of rock-and-roll meltdowns before. (The one, I hate to admit, that makes me laugh every time I hear about it? Pigeons registering their opinion of Kings of Leon by pelting them with poo during an outdoor concert … and landing a bomb in their bass player’s mouth.) Some would say it comes with the territory, cracking under the pressure of living the over-examined public life, dealing with ridiculously intrusive fans, facing unrestricted access to great quantities of any number of controlled substances. Oh, those delicate creative types.

Particularly for punk. With the Sex Pistols setting the bar for behavior, being hauled off to rehab an instant after smashing your guitar during a televised concert while screaming obscenities at your live studio audience (and defaming Justin Bieber) is kind of like forgetting to cover your mouth when you sneeze. It barely earned a column inch in Entertainment Weekly.

I hoped Mr. Armstrong was going to avoid all this. For a punk he seems like a responsible adult. He’s been married to the same woman for 18 years; his son and my daughter are both high school seniors this year; he loves The Who and Broadway. (It’s as if I’m looking in a mirror …) Green Day’s musicianship is tight, the vocals well-supported; Billie Joe probably won’t sound like Leonard Cohen in his later years … if he takes care of himself now.

Sigh …

There have been too many train wrecks in rock-and-roll and I get no pleasure in watching them happen. Here’s wishing Billie Joe a permanent recovery, and may American Idiot always be known as his best album, not his epitaph.

See you on the flip side …

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9 Responses to “Brain Stew”

  1. Jason Wendleton October 2, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    Glad someone wrote about this (so I didn’t have to)! I haven’t seen the footage, but I have heard the audio on a podcast…it’s kinda tame as far as rock “breakdowns” go. I know he was hospitalized earlier for a “mystery” illness so there’s more going on that one incident, but the whole thing smacks of the rehab-ization of our society. It drives me nuts when a celeb does something bad and is then instantly hauled off to rehab so we can forgive him/her (the most famous example is David Duchovny going to rehab for sex addiction after it came out that he’s a cheating asshole).

    I digress. I think this is all much ado about nothing. And you’re right, in the old days this would be a “light evening” for the Sex Pistols. Hell, Armstrong’s behavior would probably get the Pistols onto Santa’s “nice” list.

    I hope he gets help, if that’s what he’s doing. I’m just so jaded about publicity and rehab at this point that I have a pavlovian reaction to rolling my eyes whenever I hear stories like this.

  2. Jason Wendleton October 2, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    Oh, I almost forgot…I know I’m gonna come off as a conspiracy nutter BUT: Green Day did just happen to release UNO, the first of a three-part album sequence. Kinda funny that Armstrong’s melt-down/rehab was so perfectly timed to coincide with this release, huh?

    Damn, I’m so jaded. This is the dark-side of knowing everyone and everything via the mainstream media.

    • lpon45 October 2, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

      (David Duchovmy broke my heart. It was no fun figuring out Mulder was a total scuzz. As much as Tea Leoni bugged me she deserved better.)

      The rock “lifestyle” is best suited for guys who would rather scream about what matters to them than settle their differences quietly. But that often gets mixed up with true, medically diagnosed addiction, which is passed off as a moral failing or personality quirk a few times too often. Too many good musicians have died of being a Big Personality.

      Only Billie Joe and his physician know what’s really going on. I just want the guy back on stage, swearing at full volume.

  3. vdafilms October 2, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    I still love him. In fact, I love him even more after seeing that. Tells me he hasn’t lost his edge in all the lovey-dovey stuff he’s been putting out lately. That’s the Billie Joe I was going to marry when I was 15. If that was a meltdown, it’s the hottest meltdown I’ve seen in a long time, since Fiona’s “This world is bulls–t.”

  4. Jason Wendleton November 16, 2012 at 12:31 am #

    But what did you think of DOS?

    • lpon45 November 16, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

      I haven’t heard it yet but have it on my Christmas list, along with TRE. Perhaps it’s time to reinstall Spotify (it didn’t load onto FB correctly and I never got around to fixing it) so I can preview it. UNO was fun; I want to get more familiar with it.

      And you?

      • Jason Wendleton November 17, 2012 at 10:26 am #

        What I’ve heard of both UNO ad DOS (about 1/3 of each) on Spotify has been decent.

        You totes need to get your Spotify working!

      • lpon45 November 20, 2012 at 11:50 pm #

        Spotify is now locked and loaded … finally I can hear your posts.

      • Jason Wendleton November 21, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

        Niiice. I love it so much I PAY for the premium service.

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