SPIN just put out this list of what they call "rock deities, rap messiahs, and would-be golden gods," all about musicians who claim to be equal to or bigger than some kind of religious figure (ie. John Lennon's "bigger than Jesus" remark, Kanye wanting to name one of his albums "I Am God," etc.). Billie Joe is #15 on the list, and here's how they explain why:
Granted, when Billie Joe Armstrong adopted the "Jesus of Suburbia" persona it was within the context of Green Day's American Idiot rock opera, but the truth-seeking messiah figure didn't arrive ex nihilo. "I think I'm digging up a lot of stuff in my psyche, like the whole 'Jesus of Suburbia' thing,' which isn't necessarily about me, but I feel like I had to go through a similar experience to be able to write from that standpoint," Armstrong cryptically told a biographer.
Tellingly, the frontman had been building toward playing the part for some time. Speaking about the lingering guilt he felt over possibly betraying his youthful punk ideals for stardom, Armstrong revealed in an interview earlier this year how he came to embrace his destiny as a fisher of pop-punk fans. "They wanted to have a good time, and it's okay to be a ringleader," Armstrong said. "All of that built up to American Idiot. It took me until I was 32 years old to actually speak for myself and do it with confidence." Good thing he got there. As he surely knows, sometimes 33 is too late.
Link to the whole list, starting with #1: http://www.spin.com/...ye-west-beatles