In New York for radio and TV appearances and performances, they spoke on Monday by phone with Melena Ryzik, in individual interviews, about their early influences, their latest grooming habits and the transition to rock star life. “Currently we’re driving through New York, and there’s many people banging on the windows,” Mr. Irwin said. “Sorry if I seem distracted.” These are excerpts from their conversations.
Q. You started out posting covers on YouTube. What was your inspiration?
Luke Hemmings What really got me into music is the band Good Charlotte, when I was 10. And then it grew into Green Day with “American Idiot.” I had the Foo Fighters’ “Live at Hyde Park” DVD, and my dad had the AC/DC box set, and I used to watch them all the time. I had the Slash “How to Play Guitar” DVD. I just wanted to be the best guitarist, like, ever. My brother played guitar, and he taught me “Smoke on the Water,” and I played it over and over again for ages.
Calum Hood When I was younger, my sister was a big fan of R&B — Usher and Chris Brown. I got a lot of my love for R&B from her. She used to sing all the time, and I used to wonder why I wasn’t as good as her. When I was about 14, I got on the bus, and my sister’s friend’s brother handed me a burnt CD that said “American Idiot,” and that was pretty much the first time that I fell in love with music. I couldn’t stop listening to it. I saw an acoustic guitar sitting around the house, and I picked it up.
Ashton Irwin It wasn’t just their music that influenced me, it was the attitude behind it. When I was a kid, I sort of felt like it wasn’t all right to be what I was. And they told me it was.
Have you met the frontman, Billie Joe Armstrong?
Hemmings I haven’t. It’s probably better that I don’t, because I’d probably cry.
Full interview at New York Times: HERE