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Green Day’s Mike Dirnt Had Doubts After Billie Joe Armstrong’s Meltdown

Green Day
Michael Buckner, Getty Images

Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong melted down last September as a result of his addiction issues. His personal problems derailed promotional efforts for the band’s trilogy of albums. But even worse, it appeared as though the band’s future was in doubt and in jeopardy as Armstrong marched off to rehab.

Bassist Mike Dirnt, who had been friends with the frontman since they were 10, told Australia’s The Age, “Honestly? [I thought] ‘This is f—ing horrible and I don’t like watching my friend go down this road. This is getting really bad and how can I support my friend right now, how can I be there for my friend and get us through this night?’”

He realized that his friend’s well-being was ultimately more critical of a concern than Green Day the entity. He furthered, “From a personal point of view, there were doubts [about our future, but] my friends’ lives come before the band. As much as the band is part of our lives, we have to be healthy — mentally and physically — and what we do on stage is not easy. It carries a lot of responsibility and it carries a lot of physical stress and mental stress. At this point, [Green Day] is held to a higher bar than we would have been a long time ago.”

Dirnt attributes the forced pause as the result of not stopping for two decades. They didn’t find time to stop so they had no choice when Armstrong’s issues came to a head.

He said, “We hadn’t taken a vacation, hadn’t looked up, hadn’t done anything that wasn’t writing music and touring. When you’re working that hard, there’s a lot of down time on the road. You can drink too much or get into sleeping pills or whatever, but at some point, you have to step up and make sure the person that you are is the [best] part of you.”

Despite the fears he had about the band’s future, Green Day are back on the road, since Armstrong is better. “It’s pretty awesome right now,” he said. “Before it was tense … it was chaos … Now we’ve had time to let the dust settle and get our s–t together, we’re ready to tour and play. [But] we’re going to take some breaks in between so we don’t kill ourselves. It’s important for this band to make more records.”

Next: Watch Green Day Perform the 'Dookie' Album in London

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