“IT’S always been us against the world,” says Billie Joe Armstrong.
“Three albums, like this, it’s never been done before and proves how free we are as a band in our approach.”
The Green Day singer is in characteristically defiant mood.
And no wonder. The Californian trio are about to release THREE new studio albums, called ¡Uno!, ¡Dos! and ¡Tré! (“Yes an album named after me,” jokes drummer Tré Cool.) All will be released within four months, six weeks apart, and if there are any nerves about this tall order, they’re not on show today.
SFTW are at the Bren Events Center at Irvine University, California, where the band from Oakland are taking a break from rehearsals to chat.
They’ve been holed up in a nearby house for the past few weeks as they prepare for upcoming live shows across Europe including a surprise appearance at Reading Festival this weekend, to play their breakthrough 1994 album Dookie in full.
They’re off the booze and have been working out, looking healthy and lean.
“We have a mammoth task ahead,” says Billie Joe. “We usually have five weeks of rehearsals up to the release of an album but this time it’s ten weeks including promo and production as we have three records in one. We don’t make things easy for ourselves.”
Not that he seems fazed by what lies ahead. As a group of UK friends scream at a TV showing Mo Farah winning the 10,000 metres, Billie Joe, 40, continues to pose for a magazine cover shoot. It seems everything with Billie Joe is taken in his stride. There are no distractions.
“There was no planning for these albums,” Billie Joe tells me later from the band’s dressing room.
“We even took the three album cover photos of us on our iPhones.
“And it’s the first time we’ve got sex, love AND politics here. It’s what the whole record is about.
“The first record is back-to-basics power pop, classic Green Day. But done with a new sound. It’s like getting the party started. Then the next record is the party going wild and you’re deep into the hell of it. Then the third one is about love and reflection.
“We have songs on there like Oh Love, Wild One, Makeout Party and F**k Time which are about sex because sex is fun.
“We’ve hinted at it before in songs but now it’s just more direct. Instead of implying it, we say, ‘It’s f**k time’. You can’t be more direct than that!”