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A collection of random brain activity
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We're a mess. Things are slow and some people are just being dicks to each other. It's not new, people are always dicks to each other, but it's usually sandwiched between Green Day news and new members coming in to water down the shitty attitudes.
I'm going to write today about two things that have always frustrated me the most since I've been in charge of GDC: cliques and people saying "it's just the internet" or some variation of that.
"a small group of people, with shared interests or other features in common, who spend time together and do not readily allow others to join them."
This is something GDC has always had. Some are better than others. Some are more interesting, some aren't based on exclusion, some aren't negative toward other members. Unfortunately the ones that most people remember are the negative ones. I remember talking about cliques with Amanda back when she was helping me run this place nearly a decade ago. When people group up and start using their friendships as a circlejerk to bash other members, it gets really tiring very fast. What I find most tiring is when people use them to not only bash other member, but then come after the mod team like a pack of hyenas who have somehow managed to learn how to write while using only half their brain. We're the authority here, it's fun to mock the people in charge. But it goes too far sometimes and ends up actually hurting people. That's not cool, no matter what position they have. Team members volunteer here because they like this place and want to have input on how to make it better. Having to deal with shitty people making shitty comments shouldn't be something that we just accept as part of the job and let it all slide. I find that this happens a whole lot more when people get all cliquey and find it amusing to push people's buttons, then go back to their private chats and giggle about it. Whether it's toward mods or just a member they don't like, it's destructive. It fuels negativity and it's basically the same mentality as high school bullies. How adults can act this way and feel justified in their behavior is beyond me.
Another negative side of cliques is when people disagree with someone's beliefs they get their friends to come in and own them. It's a popularity contest where winning is absolutely pointless and in the long run actually adds to the problem. Everything is just one misunderstanding away from someone being absolutely obliterated by someone else's friends. That's a fucked up community.
So how do we fix this? Either the mod team grows and we babysit everyone,telling people to stop saying mean things to each other. Or people act a little mature about differences and realize it's perfectly fine to disagree with someone about something while understanding that doesn't make them the fucking devil. You don't have to like the chat room to respect the people who go there. You definitely don't need to go there just to shit on the people who actually like chatting with their friends in there. You don't have visit the feminists club just to see how many people can riled up with your shitty point of view. You don't have find opportunities to shit on someone else just because you think it'll be funny.
"It's just the internet"
The internet isn't detached from reality. The things you say to someone don't magically get stored away in a special internet part of your brain. Fucked up things that upset you don't magically feel better just because it was said online. Everyone you talk to here is another person in the same situation you are, reading the same community from their home/phone/work/school/wherever. I think the internet just gives people a sense of selfishness and it's easy to detach feeling from the things you're saying to someone else like they're an actual human being. It's all just words thrown into the ether and random shit gets thrown back by faceless droids. There's no reason for people to think it's ok to say something fucked up to someone online and pretend like that's totally normal.
Everything doesn't need to be a fight or a battle. Disagreements don't all have to devolve into naming calling and seeing who gets hurt the most. GDC - or forums in general - are not like other online communities such as Reddit or Tumblr, because people actually start to know each other more easily. We're not all just another username. People become familiar with how individuals act, they become friends and couples, we learn about each others lives and struggles and it's not all in a passing way through the tubes. So the way people act toward each other actually starts to set a tone of how this place is perceived both by newcomers and oldies. That tone naturally changes from time to time, but when the tone changes in such a way that I no longer find this place enjoyable, the solution shouldn't be more me to leave or step back. Much to the chagrin of some, the solution is to delve in and make sure this is the community that I want it to be. That starts with getting rid of members who find it funny to push buttons so they can have a laugh about it with their friends.
I'm not interested in babysitting, nor am I interested in suspending or banning users. I am interested in making this community better for the people who actually appreciate it. That will be the guiding principle I use going forward this year.
Over the last two years I've become more reclusive than ever before. I left school this time last year and have worked from home all of 2013. I used to travel to the university every day to attend class or work. i worked at a computer lab, a very public place where I would help students who needed any kind of help - technical or just someone to help them with homework. I was pretty good at it, to the point where I considered for a brief period that I should become an instructor.
But school and work were really my only two outlets for interaction. Most of my friends (all but one) had graduated and moved away from Las Cruces, luckily my best friend (who I moved down here with in the first place) stuck around after he graduated. He made friends through his new job and they had weekly parties, which I'd attend sometimes but mostly stayed in. Which was alright, I still had school and work to keep me pre-occupied and if not, I always had GDA.
Every time Green Day starts touring I go to multiple places around the US (usually California or New York), and attend shows and attend meet-ups - meet all kinds of interesting and fun people. Last year we met up for the American Idiot Musical in San Francisco and had an awesome time. This year, I refused to go anywhere. For the first time in my life Green Day was playing less than 45 minutes from my home and I turned down a free ticket. That seems like madness to most people, hell, it seems like madness to me, but it still felt like the best thing to do.
At the time I was at a low point with depression. Something I've talked about here and to my friends. It took months to climb out of that hole of feeling pathetic, feeling that I didn't deserve to do anything. I got back on anti-depressant medication for a while and it helped some. After a month I stopped taking it because I felt better, and I was. It's been a while now since I've really felt depressed like I did earlier in the year. I do genuinely feel I have more clarity now than I did most of the last two years.
With that clarity, it's starting to hit me about just how anti-social I am, and how much I hate it. I can make any excuse to not be around people: "sorry, I don't have money to go out", "sorry, I have work to do", or just matter-of-factly "no thanks, I don't feel like going out." The truth is that I do enjoy being alone, but I'm not actually sure why anymore. I don't spend my time doing things I find fulfilling, I just find ways to waste the minutes away. There are times where I would just rather sit here watching some tv show or watch YouTube clips of bands I like playing live - but I also know I need to have fun with other people so I don't go crazy.
But knowing that and changing it are two very different things. Sure it sounds easy to most people, but my initial reaction to any invitation is always "no", and rarely will I come around and say "ok, I'll go". Years ago (2005 or 2006 when I first started dealing with depression) I started turning down invitations to go out with my friends. It was a fucked up way of looking for attention. I would say no, then hope some friends would beg me to go out. Like I had to validate their friendship every single time they wanted me to be around them. Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn't, I'm sure that type of attitude can be tiresome for any person. I'm not proud of that. But over time I became very insular and eventually I just genuinely would rather stay home. Whether working on GDA or playing games, I just enjoyed that more than "dealing" with other people.
So here we are today. What spawned this blog post? My friend/roommate is planning on having a New Year's party at our place. The idea of having to socialize with people brought on this level of anxiety where I've almost felt sick to my stomach for a couple days. It's non-nonsensical, and I know it is, but the knowledge alone doesn't help. I know what will happen, I will feel very anxious about it until people show up and I start socializing and either I'll enjoy it and have a good time or I'll get bored and come back upstairs to my office. It won't matter, it won't be a big deal, but I'm dreading it for some reason. "Oh god, what will I talk about? People I'm meeting for the first time, what will they think of me? Should I try to be funny or will that annoy people? Maybe I should try to stay quiet. Will I come off like a weirdo?" These are the dumb things that have crossed my mind. It's not something that should matter, it's not something a normal person would be worried about a week in advance.
Tonight I've come to two conclusions. 1) I need a psychiatrist. 2) I need to start going out more so this feels normal and the worry disappears.
Well, I can manage the first one at least.
I wrote a blog back in Februrary where I talked about wishing I could just restart GDA & GDC from scratch. Get a complete do-over.
Here I am seven months later, thankfully haven't deleted everything, but wondering where things are going from here.
I can't shake this feeling like things aren't working out. I feel like the sites are stagnant, no doubt a reflection of my own leadership.
So I've been thinking "how do I fix things. Make them better" or more fundamentally important "how do I get that passion back I had for working here that I used to have freshman year of college ", when I spent 13 hours a day (at least) working on the sites. I could never get tired. I loved the challenge.
I think the biggest issue right now is that we have no competition. All other Green Day sites have pretty much fallen by the way-side, either totally forgotten or just a shell of what they used to be. In 2004 we had at least 3 competitors that I felt were constantly doing new and innovate things for the community - plus there was this rush to try and beat each other with news. Now we can have a story sit in the queue for 2 or 3 weeks before someone will finally be bored enough to write it up.
GDC has gotten too big - too many subforums, everything has a place and is immediately filed away there once its made, only to be seen by people who already regularly frequent those sections. In the early days of GDC we had less than 6 total forums. Everything was together, one big clusterfuck, but it worked somehow until I changed my mind and split it up. Now I'd like to put it back together but know how much bitching comes with any change. Not that it's a bad thing, it shows people really care about the community and that's a very welcome thing.
Like I said in my last blog
It kind of feels like I've squeezed the toothpaste out of the tube and now I'm trying to figure out how to put it all back in.
Fundamentally, the problem I have now that I didn't have back in 2004 is my own self. 9 years later, about 60 pounds heavier and having gone through depression, I'm hardly the same person I was then. In spirit yes, but that only comes in short bursts of motivation. I spend more time now thinking how much I'd like to change rather than doing anything about it. The same is true for GDA and GDC.
I guess ultimately I feel like I don't have the same support structure here on the team that I did back then. That's not a knock on the current team. I love all of them for helping out and volunteering their time. But I've all but crawled into an introverted shell and don't really like peeking out of it for anything these days. So I don't talk with the team like I used to, I avoid meet-ups and going out - it's the reason I didn't go to any Green Day shows this tour. As a result, people move on like one would expect them to. They find other ways to fill their time that doesn't involved communicating with me. In the old days we had a group AIM chat where we talked about everything. If I thought about doing something I'd often throw it to them and within a couple hours I'd have some feedback and I'd be working on something new. Now it takes days or weeks for me to come around to something. Bum can send me a message on Facebook to do something as simple deleting photos, which literally takes 2 minutes, and I'll take 4 or 5 days to reply or take care of it.
So I've been rather pensive about the sites recently. A large part of me really thinks it's time for me to go because I'm the bottleneck in progress, but I also don't want to leave. Mostly out of stubbornness. I feel I have something to prove to myself about leading the team and this site into something much more sustainable and enjoyable.
I have some ideas I want to see happen. I still have the goal of making the site totally sustainable only on merchandise sales.
I have ideas. I don't have the motivation to even think them all out completely. That's how shitty my mind is.
So now I think some more. Think about those goals, think about how to reach them, think about what changes need to be made (both personally and with the team), and then start following through on something. ANYTHING.
I have decided to kill off Static Noise. Even though it's been months since we did a show, and it's been about a year since we did them weekly and regularly, I let the guys know that I have no plans to bring the show back. I also removed it from iTunes so we could stop paying the $20/month we paid to host it.
The show was a lot of fun. We had some good times. But there were some problems behind the scenes that made it more and more a chore to do a show. It basically stopped being fun like it was in the beginning.
As for me hosting the show, the truth is that for the past couple years I've been dealing with depression, and it really hampers my ability to plan for anything in the future. It took a lot to get me to do a show. Once we were doing it, I was fine. It's the first part that was the problem. I know it was frustrating for the other guys that I was so inconsistent with scheduling.
I also didn't feel we were doing our best with the show itself, and as a result the show wasn't growing. During our peak we were getting around 10-15k downloads a month, which was awesome. Towards the end we were lucky to break 4-5k.
I decided that would should re-focus on content for GDA for now. That's not to say we'll never a show again. I love chatting with Mikey, Jimmy, Matt and Jack - and I think when we're "on", we put on a fun show. I'd just like to do it at a point when I'm feeling up to it and feel like we could really do the show that I think we can do.
Thanks to the thousands of you that listened every time we put out a show. It was really great to connect with so many of you and have you guys laugh at our stupid jokes and over-inflate our egos.
I've been seeing a lot of people talking about Green Day's set list now that they're back on the road. There have been some complaints that they aren't playing more trilogy songs, which usually goes something like this
They have 37 new songs. Why aren't they playing more of them?
Looks at the setlists for their two shows so far during the full tour, I see that they play about 27 songs each night. Out of those, 25% of them are songs from the trilogy, and the other 75% span the rest of their career.
The band has 178 songs they've released through through their albums (not including The Network or Foxboro Hot Tubs). That number is even higher if you were to include their side projects as well as other songs which haven't had a release on a Green Day album (songs like Ballad of Wilhelm Fink, Too Much Too Soon, Favorite Son, When It's Time, etc.). This means that the trilogy songs are now 20% of Green Day's 'official' discography.
Trilogy songs are getting more attention on tour than any other album ( American Idiot a close second with 6 songs in the recent set-list).
The argument could be made that Green Day could swap out a few American Idiot songs for some newer trilogy songs, but I think that ignores the fact that American Idiot has been Green Day's biggest success in the last 15 years.
Don't forget why Green Day goes on tour, it's not just to promote their latest albums. They don't attract only fans who want to hear the new stuff. In fact, I'd argue the far majority of people who attend don't really care about the new stuff too much and are much more familiar with the older songs. People forget these concerts aren't just for you. The band picks songs that they like to play and that they think the crowd will enjoy. When American Idiot was taking over the world, Green Day didn't fit their set-list with 50% AI songs. Picking songs that more people know, being able to engage the audience even more, makes for a more rewarding show for everyone. They want to play songs for the people there who have enjoyed Green Day's 24 years of music.
Depression sucks, and it's a bitch to explain. I've struggled with varying levels of depression since 2005. While I've had my low points of actually feeling sad and helpless, I've also recovered from those to feel amazing highs like last year when I was able to lose 40 pounds from March - June in 2012. I was eating healthy (very healthy), exercising daily (no exceptions), and started taking anti-depressants (Zoloft, well actually it's non-name-brand equivalent Sertraline). I felt better than I had in over a decade of my life. Then in June I started thinking "I've done so amazingly well, I deserve to have some celebratory fast-food" and so began my downward spiral of stopping exercise and daily fast-food trips.
Depression is incredibly destructive. I started eating shitty food every single day, I gained back the 40 pounds I had lost, I stopped going out with friends and just started lounging around in a pitiful show of anti-social introversion.
I've never been an out-going guy to begin with. I don't like being in social groups. Over the years I've flown across the United States for various Green Day events and had a blast. But every single time I've nearly backed out because I have a near-phobia of being around people. I'm not scared of people, I'm just more comfortable alone and have trouble forcing myself to take the leap and get out. However, once I get on the plane and actually get somewhere I'm happy to be there and have had some of the best moments of my life meeting with Green Day fans and some of the incredible friends I've made through GDC throughout the years. But getting there is never as simple as it should be.
That introversion is only amplified when i'm struggling with depression. I'm the type of person who hates to do anything if I don't feel like I deserve it, and these days I don't feel like I deserve much. Since December I've worked on GDA full-time. This is my job. I've left school, I stopped working at the university and have tried to focus only on GDA. But when depression strikes (not coincidentally with my terrible eating habits), I don't get work done. Over the last 3 months I've done not nearly as much as I should have, and it's hard to explain why.
I feel like I constantly let the team down. Almost everyone here volunteers their time for their love of Green Day, these sites, or the community, and I don't hold up my end of the deal. It's not about being too hard on myself either, I think I'm reasonably self-aware. I don't do enough. I consider myself a "busy idiot", something Gordon Ramsey used in one of his TV shows talking about a restaurant manager who was always very busy, but never doing anything useful.
Thankfully since I started talking anti-depressants, my depression doesn't show itself as sadness. I don't hate my life or wallow in self-despair. These days it's more of a stressful apathy. I feel like there's so much to do that I end up doing none because I don't have the motivation to get it done. And explaining that to anyone is near impossible. I know what I need to do to change (eat healthy, try to exercise, do some fucking work), but I don't. Why? I DON'T KNOW. I just can't get myself to do it. I don't understand what it is.
Team members send me messages saying "hey, can we do this, should we this?" and I don't reply. Why? I don't know. I just don't feel like talking to anyone. It stays on my mind for a while about what people want to do, and I feel a little overwhelmed but I never do it. I never take action. I know that if I did I wouldn't feel as stressed out. Running these sites isn't that tough with some action, but I don't do it and that apathy or lack of motiviation is really what's bothering me the most.
These days my escape is SimCity. Just like World of Warcraft back in 2007, SimCity allows me to escape for a few (dozen) hours. I don't have to think about anything happening in the real world. I just focus on my fake city, and my fake sims, and trying to fix things there. I could spend that time working, and I should. But I don't.
I don't know how to fix it. I mean, I know how to fix my depression (as mentioned above), I just don't know how to fix the apathy and lack of motivation (which is the root cause of my depression to begin with). Every day that goes by I just feel like I'm doing almost nothing, because I'm not.
GDA is my full time job. I've been sucking at it lately. I feel guilty about it, but it's yet to change. When I visit GDA and GDC I feel like there's just so much stuff I want to change. I wish I could restart both sites from scratch. GDC feels bloated. I feel like we have too many subforums and the community is splintered because of it. I don't feel like it's a cohesive group.
All of this falls on me. The current setup is the way it is because I made it that way. And now it's hard to change, just like signatures.
On GDA there are things that haven't been worked on in years (news archives for example, didja know, a proper calendar page).
All of this is at the point where I wish I just had a clean slate. No string attached to any decision I make. These sites are my responsibility and I'm failing at running them. I disappear for days at a time because I can't prioritize what I need to work on so I just avoid it all.
I don't know how to fix what we have. I mean, I have my ideas, but it's not easy. It kind of feels like I've squeezed the toothpaste out of the tube and now I'm trying to figure out how to put it all back in.
As soon as I got word about Green Day allowing a new song in the upcoming Twilight movie, I knew what to expect, fans bitching about it. Maybe rightfully so. But I thought I'd offer a different point of view for the sake of conversation.
Allowing songs in a movie doesn't really define anything. All it says it "hey, listen to our song." So let me run down some points to support my argument.
Why do people have a problem with Twilight?
I'll be the first to admit that I haven't seen the films, nor do I have plans to start. I don't find the premise interesting. I don't know how good or bad the movies are, but plenty of people do enjoy them quite a bit. They have a following for a reason.
I think the people who hate on it, hate it on it for the sake of not wanting to follow the mainstream. I don't have a problem with that, I feel the same about most pop culture. I think people make up their minds about something before they experience it. Punks aren't supposed to like anything that most other people do. But that alone doesn't mean anything about whether or not Green Day should or shouldn't be in a film.
From what I gather from reaction so far, people think Twilight is cheesy, aimed at tweens, and this someone tarnishes Green Day's reputation as the badasses they are. But wait...what other movies has Green Day songs been in.
A history of Green Day on shitty stuff
Most recently Green Day allowed their song in the film "The Campaign". I went to see it, I didn't think it was a particularly good movie. It was maybe worth a rent if I was bored enough (which never happens). This song was about the Occupy Wall Street protests, probably the only significant progressive movement in the last decade or two. Yet the song was allowed at the credits of a campy comedy movie.
Here's a few other gems that Green Day (but much more likely, their record label) allowed their music to be on.
- The Hills
- The Vampire Diaries
- Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County
- Surf's Up
- The New Guy
- American Pie 2
- Freddie Got Fingered
- Joe's Apartment
- The Jerky Boys
[*]Madden NFL 2006 (Wake Me Up When September Ends)
[*]Tony Hawk: American Wasteland
What's my point?
Green Day is on one of the worlds largest record labels, Warner Brothers, who will market the shit out of anything they can. Green Day's music has been included on a bunch of content, some good, some terrible, and that doesn't change a goddamn thing.
Many were upset at Warner for doing such a shitty job of promoting 21st Century Breakdown. This is them doing something else, but not new, to get the word out about Green Day's new albums.
Having a song in Twilight doesn't change anything. More people will hear a new Green Day song and they'll possibly pick up a few fans from it. The song and it's meaning doesn't change. Green Day will continue to write music for themselves, about their experiences, and however their label decides to market and promote it has little effect on what the music actually is.
I fell into a nasty slump for much of last month which left me feeling uninspired and lazier than usual. I didn't do much work on GDA (or anywhere for that matter) and let a lot of stuff fall to the side. Then over the last 48 hours, super Andres (as Lone calls my exceptionally productive side) came out. I hit these peaks where things start making sense, everything I have to do kind of clears up and I get motivated to work. Writing news, writing code, taking care of something I've had on the infamous to-do list (well, infamous in my world).
This leads to crazy thoughts. I came up with an idea for a new project totally unrelated to Green Day. Something that I think would benefit my home-state if I can pull it off. I immediately called up a friend to talk to her about it, she seemed excited about it too, then ideas on how to make it happen kept creeping into my mind. I thought of people I should call and schedule meetings with, maybe the University, local news papers, local businesses, politicians. It seems so wildly out of the ordinary for me who's exceptionally introverted. I like being alone. Actually, I love being alone. I'd rather be alone than with other people. Yes, that's fucked up and not healthy, but that's usually how I feel. So to get this idea that would be quite the opposite of that, and not being terrified of it, made me really excited. I could do this. I might fail, but oh well, it could be fun and I could learn from it.
Then I sat at my desk and thought "wait, i have a website now, one that needs my attention." And I started thinking about all the things I want to do on GDA and GDC. The list seems endless. i know it's not, I know at some point I'll have the major things I want done, but that'll take a while. There are so many things I want to do, here's a few off the top of my head
Launch new downloads
Put up the new band biography
Create a Green Day quiz
Hold more contests
Find more writers
Update forum colors to match GDA and trilogy
Make a proper page for upcoming events
Just to name a few. Not to mention the fact that I'm also responsible for shipping out all orders from the GDA store. I've enlisted the help of my roommate to help me pack all these orders tonight so I can check these off the list and be caught up with those before we try to sell anymore merch.
One thing that was on my list for months was to create a page that listed all the tags/categories we use on GDA. Sat down last night and a few hours later finished this. I like it.
So now I have this same feeling of super-Andres. I don't want to stop doing stuff while I'm awake because I'm scared that if I stop for too long, or sleep too much, I'll just wake up groggy and tired, lazy and unmotivated and fall back in that rut that I despise. So I'll continue while I can and hope for the best.
Yesterday's news about Billie Joe getting treatment for substance abuse has definitely hit me in a way I wasn't expecting. As someone said on GDA
This isn't my fucking problem.
But it hurts. It hurts really, really, bad
Billie Joe and Green Day have had their fair share of "substance abuse" dating back to their major label debut. It was known the guys' "drug of choice" was speed back in the day, evidenced in the infamous Tonka Truck version of "She" at Jaded in Chicago. And of course less amusingly, with Billie Joe's arrest and DUI in 2003 for driving drunk.
Still that was old Green Day. Many fans thought that type of irresponsibility phase was set behind them as they put out music that was more matured, they seemed to care about their public image, and started working really really hard. They inspired millions of fans with their music, and these demons have also been present, but less prominent.
I can't for the life of me remember where I read this quote. It was interview of some-sort with a musician where someone asked if they'd write an autobiography. They replied with "I already have, it's in my music." GDC'er Bohemian+Scandal really hit the nail on the head about this:
The people here who are "disappointed" or "shocked" are making me sad. Most of you should have a pretty fair portrait of Billie Joe's issues in your head. He's been painting it "since 19-80-fucking-8". Have any of you actually really listened to Billie's lyrics? He's revealed so much of himself in them, and now it seems like a lot of fans have never really been listening.
His demons and how he channels them so beautifully into music are what make him such a remarkable human being. That's why I respect him so deeply. I would have always put "fucked up" on a list of Billie Joe adjectives. Ha. But so what? Everyone is fucked up in one way or another. What sets this guy apart, is that he has been brave enough to share his raw pain and passion through his music. He makes us all feel slightly less alone and I will always love him for that. And when I see him having to deal with this kind of shit under the ridiculously nosy and judgmental eyes of millions, my love for him grows tenfold. It's why I've been compulsively listening to Green Day all day (not normal for me).
I'm in support of sending good thoughts his way, letting his friends and family help him deal with whatever issues he is having, and NOT pretending like I know real fucking thing about it.
Rage and Love. <3
It has unbelievably annoyed me to see people writing this decision off as PR move to save face from Billie's rant at iHeartRadio festival. I honestly believe that this is not reaction to a single event, but that event really was the public showing of deeper problems. Let's be honest, the whole band has been working incredibly hard. They wrote over 80 songs for a trilogy of albums over the last year and a half, that's after Billie Joe did a show 6 nights a week on Broadway for two months. Which started shortly after they finished touring in support of their last album where they played over 140 shows across the world. That's a lot to deal with. Green Day's work ethic is something to idolize, but at the same time, it seems like Billie Joe was dealing with some demons he hadn't properly dealt with in some time.
Now we have tabloid sites writing about our guy, and it sucks to see. His rant on iHeart was very entertaining, but it was misguided. Their time was not cut short, Billie just wasn't happy that it was over. People loved his rant because it showed that bratty punk side of Green Day that so many of us fucking loved back in the day. Here's a band that truly doesn't give a shit, and while that's fun to see, he ultimately disrespected people that didn't deserve it.
As I mentioned earlier, I believe that this was just the public showing of some deeper problems, ones that I think other members in Green Day along with family and friends, wanted to see him deal with. Who gives a fuck if it took a rant in front of thousands to push it to the top, all that matters is that he's going to get help and get his shit together. Who cares how it looks for them to apologize to Clear Channel? They felt it was the right thing to do, and it was. It wasn't the punk "we don't give a shit" thing to do, but it was the right thing.
Billie Joe will be fine. He's getting help for something that needed to be addressed, just like many others before him have done. We need to support him and stop worrying about what this means for his public image or what this means for business. I was sad when Robin Williams - someone I've idolized from an early age - recently went back to rehab after being sober for 20 years, because it shows you the people you love from a distance aren't perfect. They hurt just like everyone else. But getting help is exactly what Robin needed, he came out the other end much healthier and the same will come for Billie Joe.
Update Monday September 24th: I've written a follow-up to this post after it was announced that Billie Joe was getting help with substance abuse. Please read it.
Love the reactions today from Green Day's performance last night at iHeartRadio festival. (Watch the video over on GDA) I didn't get to watch the whole thing live because I was distracted. After a friend text me and told me it was a disaster, I turned the stream on, right at the start of Basket Case and just in time to see Billie stop the song half way through and say he didn't want to play that shit.
Billie was pretty drunk. You could tell in their pre-show interview he was already pretty tipsy. I won't lie, his performance wasn't very flattering. He kept hitting the wrong notes while he sang and clearly just wasn't up to the usual kick-assedness that he usually is live, but that's alright for me. I thought his drunken antics were pretty entertaining. They play 140+ shows on tour this one fuck-up won't define them.
While the performance was shotty at best, the antics were fucking great. I think many of us can readily admit that current mainstream music sucks, but for some reason it made me very happy to see Billie Joe go on stage and talk shit about it. It wasn't over the top in obnoxiousness, I actually thought it was subtle when he mentioned they could bring Usher back since Green Day has such little time for their set.
This also isn't the first time Green Day plays drunk. Yeah, this is the first time in a while that at a proper Green Day show in front of a huge audience they've clearly had a few too many, but it's not new, and I don't think it's anything to be disappointed about. They get pretty fucked up at a Foxboro Hot Tubs show and every still has a good time.
I'll only be disappointed if this becomes a regular thing. A festival where Green Day plays a short set sandwiched between some mediocre artists isn't going to yield you the ideal Green Day experience.
I think this quote is great:
I remember a time back 16 years ago when green day got angry everyone would say "yeah they are bratty punks .... What do you expect"
Now 16 years down the line getting angry on stage is now called having a "massive ego".
What the fuck happened ?
As I mentioned in the iHeart thread - Green Day isn't family entertainment. If people expect them to be, then they've assigned an attribute to Green Day that the guys don't assign to themselves. That's not Green Day's problem.
Billie Joe turned this show into something worth talking about, whether for the right reasons or not. I'll let everyone get up on their high horse and talk about what a grown man should or shouldn't do. I'll just sit here laughing because I loved it.
With the release of a new album there's lots of conversation about what Green Day's music should sound like. I've seen such a huge array of comments on the pro and con side about the new music. While I think the overwhelming opinion of the music is very positive, there has still been some criticism of it (as expected), and I felt like addressing some of the topics.
It's too simplistic
Since Green Day's breakthrough in 1994 some people have written them off as a "three chord band". While anyone with an ounce of common sense knows Green Day is much more than that, it's obvious that simple three chord songs is where they found their early inspiration. American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown really showed their musical ability. I really doubt most of those who criticize Green Day's style could sit down and write not one, but two nine minute rock operas. That shit isn't easy. Not only it is an awesome arrangement of music, but it fits within a story spread across a whole album. Music ability is more than just how quickly you scale down the neck of a guitar.
In íUno! the band definitely departs from that and the lyrics and music are direct and missing the grandiosity of the last two albums, and that's alright with me. The beauty I find in Green Day's music is that they're capable of doing both. They're capable of writing a nine minute rock opera and 3 minute song about having sex.
It's not punk
This argument is so overplayed that I'm only going to give a very brief point. Punk is more than just a quick loud song with a repetitive drum beat. Punk is where Green Day found their souls, and so long as they write the music, it's punk. It's Green Day punk. Any purists out there will disagree, and that's fine with me. I don't care about your definition of punk, and you don't have to care about mine. Let's be friends anyways.
There's nothing new in this music
First off, have you listened to Kill The DJ? If that's not a new sound for Green Day I don't know what possibly could be. I've never heard two Green Day albums that I felt were identical musically. The closest were 1039/Smooth and Kerplunk, along with American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown. But each album had a different sound, slightly matured. You can tell with every release that Green Day challenges themselves to push it a little more. Yes, I agree that ¡Uno! has nothing groundbreaking in it - but I don't know how that's a criticism. The point of music isn't to change for the sake of change. With Green Day it's always been an organic change, and this time they felt like going to back to a similar style in their earliest albums. If they're able to do that while writing catchy songs that they appreciate, that tell the story they feel like sharing, then it's exactly what it needs to be.
It's not "Green Day"
I think one problem people have with Green Day is that because of the array of musical style they play, people assign a certain standard to them and really appreciate them for a specific one. Someone who liked Kerplunk may not have liked Nimrod. Someone who liked Dookie may not have liked American Idiot. Someone who liked 21CB may not like ¡Uno!. I think it's actually kind of awesome that people find a certain type of Green Day music they like and it sticks with them, something they retain fond memories of, something that they look back on with nostalgia. There are some of us who appreciate it all, but I don't believe in the "true fan" description. If you like one of Green Day's albums and not the rest, I think that makes you just as much of a fan as me. You're not required to love everything a band does (or anyone for that matter) in order to appreciate what they do. Dookie still exists, nimrod. still exists, American Idiot still exists. All of these came from the same guys. They write it, so it's "Green Day" whether you like it or not.
I don't mind if people don't care much for ¡Uno!. At the end of the day, these albums weren't written for any one of us. We can appreciate them for what they are, or we don't have to. I love the music, others won't, and the world will continue to spin. Some people want an album filled with songs like F.O.D., others want something filled with 21 Guns -- as I mentioned at the start, the beauty of Green Day is that they're capable of doing both. Take what you like and enjoy it, forget the rest.
As many fans are aware, ¡Uno! leaked early yesterday (September 17, 2012) exactly one week prior to it's release. I was in class when we started getting emails, then work till 8pm, and I was running on 3 hours of sleep from the night before, so I came home and slept and it wasn't until around midnight I was finally able to lay in bed and listen to the music. Over the course of it's 40 minute run-time, I laid there in complete appreciation for what I was hearing.
To start off, I'd like to write about what this album isn't. This isn't rock stadium Green Day. This isn't Green Day bordering the giant arena rock sounds of U2 which I felt they started going down the path of with American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown. This is simple Green Day. This is Green Day just letting loose and writing some catchy fucking music.
The music isn't overtly complicated, it's not heavily layered (though we can expect that stuff on ¡Tre!), and the lyrics don't have sociopolitical meaning.
It's personal and it's fucking perfect.
This is exactly the album I wanted Green Day to release. When they first talked about the trilogy they said it was "going back to their roots" which got a lot fans of excited, and maybe a little worried. Were they trying to re-live yesteryear when Dookie came out? After listening to this album the answer is absolutely not. This album feels inspired more by 1990 Green Day than 1994 Green Day, and definitely more distant from the Green Day we recognize from the last decade.
The lyrics are straightforward and they speak directly to experiences that Billie Joe has had. It's a very welcome change from the story-line concept. Billie Joe told Guitar World that not having characters or a story-line really felt freeing, they were able to focus on each song individually, making it how they wanted, and not worrying how it fit into the bigger picture.
I loved both American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown, and I know I'm in the minority in thinking 21st Century Breakdown was a better album musically. Lyrically both albums are deep, they both seemed to take that new-found depth from Warning and go further with it, applying it to a modern story and current events. ¡Uno! lyrics are more focused on the simple human experience, and that's the Green Day that hooks me in.
I think the first half of the album is stronger than the second half, just more bum thrust ©. But I'm not disappointed in any of these songs, besides Oh Love. In context with the album, it's an alright tune. Why it was the first single I'll never know. It's not the least bit representative of the upbeat sound the rest of the album posseses.
I have a lot more thoughts, especially about some of the comments I've read in reaction to the music, but I'm going to stop here. I'll probably dedicate a whole other post for that. I need to listen to the songs again before really talking about my favorites or anything like that.
We'll be releasing a special edition of the Static Noise podcast on Thursday with all our thoughts on the album. I'll come back and write another post after that so I can let the music sink into my veins a little bit more.
Single line reaction: I fucking love it.
I spend a lot of time thinking about life and what I'm doing with it. We all get to spend a little time on this earth, how does our presence make a difference? Since the death of our friend Jay, I'm reminded that time is not unlimited. I've put off so much in my life thinking "I'll do it better when I get older." I tweeted this out yesterday
It's time for me to grow up. Maybe not mature, but grow up.
I'm 26, I'm still kind-of in school, I don't have a savings account, I feel like I'm still 18 and have the whole world in front of me. I do, everything I want is still out there - but it's time to make changes to bring the things I want to myself.
In March I started losing weight. For 3 months I was on a very strict diet (1200-1500 calories a day) and exercised every day. Started with a short walk, got into daily bike ride, then daily visits to the gym. I lost 45 pounds and was feeling better than I had at any point in recent memory. Then I reached my first goal (210 pounds) and people were complimenting me, saying "good job! you look great!" then I just gave up. I thought "You did awesome. Time for a reward." I started eating fast food again, I stopped counting calories, I've only been to the gym 3 times this month. As a result, I've (not surprisingly) gained some weight. About 10-15 pounds. I really want to get back into the routine I had, continue losing weight, and feel as good as I was. But I keep finding excuses. "I ate like shit today and didn't sleep much last night. I'll eat really good today, sleep, and I'll feel good enough tomorrow to go to the gym." I've been saying that for about a week and it hasn't happened. Night time comes around and fat-Andres wakes up. But it has to change. I want to be healthy, and the sooner I make the change for the better the happier I'll be.
Last night I thought about that quote I posted up above. I need to stop thinking I'm a kid just starting out. I need to get serious about work or school (or both). If I'm in school, there's no reason I shouldn't have A's. I know i'm a smart and very capable person, there's no reason I should be half-assing my responsibilities. These sites could be much more successful if I dedicated even just a few hours each day to working on them, actually working on them, instead of this "do a little here, get distracted, do a little more" bullshit I've been doing.
Some people tell me I'm too hard on myself. But that's because I know my potential and I'm not living up to it. I've fallen into the rut where I'm comfortable doing as little as possible to get by. Make just enough money to pay bills, do just enough homework not to get thrown out of school, work on GDA just enough to keep them around. It's pathetic, and it's time to grow up and do something about it.
Over the last 6 years I've built a pretty good relationship with Green Day's team. They know me, I get stuff in advance, I know things most fans don't, I'm very lucky for all that. I get this stuff because they trust me. I'm told when something might be coming out so I can prep something to write-up on GDA. I often don't tell anyone at all about everything I actually know, and it sucks.
A couple years ago someone I care deeply about was really upset because I couldn't take them with me to an event where I got to spend time with Green Day. I don't hold it against them, I understood 1000% where they were coming from, and I'd probably feel the same way if the situation was reversed.
But I couldn't do anything about it. It was too late to fix it, and even if I could, I'm not sure what I could have changed. Had I chosen the route to please this person, someone else would have been upset at me. This is what sucks. I'm so extremely lucky to know things about Green Day before many 'regular' fans know about it. But i've also become very close to many people that I have this incredible guilt that I can't tell them everything I know. I can't tell them when the next secret show will be, I can't tell them when the next studio update is coming out, I can't tell them when any special announcements are coming - and those friends resent me for it.
I've made very few friends through GDC because of this. I worry that people expect something out of me that I'm not comfortable providing. I can't be the friend that tells people everything just because we're friends. And because of that, people end up disliking me.
I see people who make best friends on GDC, and even better, they can fall in love and find the person of their dreams through GDC. I've seen it more than a couple times. What makes me incredibly sad is that I can't do this. Because at the end of the day I feel my role as part of these sites is so different from everyone else that expectations of me are higher than I wish they were. I want these sites to succeed, and that means getting access to information before other fans at times.
I wish I could make more friends through this site that I could consider close friends, without ever feeling like they expect something of me.
I'm jealous of everyone who can use these sites to make those connections. How is it possible that I'm the owner of one of the largest fan sites on the net with millions of visits in a year, yet I feel so incredibly isolated from everyone. That shit sucks.
I've decided to have a taste of my own medicine, I want people to use the blogs, so I'm going to use this one as regularly as I can. I have lots of thoughts about everything, so maybe putting them into written form will be helpful for me and hopefully someone will appreciate reading it.
I'm not entirely sure what I'll write about. I figure since my life kind of revolves around these sites they will take a large focus, it will mostly be personal though.
I'm not sure how I want to start off. Introduce myself? I feel like most people know me already, then again I think most people perceive me to be someone I'm not. I wish that every single day I could get a summary of what people think about me - good/bad, right/wrong fair/unfair. I really love that kind of stuff. When someone sends me a particularly harsh criticism, I feel I leave that experience a better person. Sadly that doesn't happen much at all anymore. It used to be a weekly occurrence when I first started - now I'm lucky if it happens a couple times a year. It's a combination of me doing this job better and people feeling more threatened by me, which is silly.
I like criticism more than the average person does. I like knowing what people think and seeing how that lines up with how I perceive myself. Sometimes it helps me understand what I'm doing right or wrong and how I can be a better person.
Running GDC has given me an understanding of people I'm not sure I would have received otherwise. It's a pretty unique position. To go from a nerdy introvert to ... well I'm still a nerdy introvert. But boy can I be forward on the internet. In my day to day life, I'm pretty quiet, easy to get along with, but mostly quiet. I like listening to people more than I like talking. Here i'm required to be vocal, introduce ideas then defend them, tell people to cut their shit, and my least favorite thing, tell a team member when I disagree with something. It's so out of the norm from who I am, but since I've been doing this for so long, it's a real part of me now.
I am a very complicated person. I'm hardly ever happy with myself. I feel like I have to constantly prove to myself that I'm doing the right things with my life (I've yet to convince myself). I have these two sides constantly fighting inside: I want to create stuff that bring people together, make something that's really special and successful; but I'm also incredibly unmotivated. Partly due to depression, partly due to ... laziness. I don't know how to fix that. If I have to choose between watching a TV show and working, I'll almost always pick the TV show. If I had to pick one thing about myself that I don't like - it's that attitude. I just don't know how to fix it. Googling "how to not be lazy" won't get me far.
That's enough for now. I don't really know what this was. It was basically be showing the tiniest amount of my inner-personality, the stuff that sits on my brain constantly.