Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong said the mega-hit "American Idiot" -- which led to the creation of a Broadway musical of the same name -- was inspired by the terror attacks of Sept. 11.
"I remember seeing those planes smashing into the World Trade Center live. Right there," Armstrong said during his appearance on the Broadway stage Friday night with "American Idiot" director Michael Mayer for a talkback session dubbed "Idiot University."
"I don't think we ever really, as a society, we had never seen anything that implicit. It was just chaos. I was so confused. I felt paralyzed. So the song 'American Idiot' was the first thing that came to mind."
Select audience members of five performances last week had the opportunity to attend the talkbacks after the show, which also included four cast members and a few members of the shows creative team.
Armstrong, whose "American Idiot" album focused on American society in the early part of the decade, said watching the band's music performed on stage is a different experience from listening to the record in a traditional setting.
“With me, Mike (Dirnt) and Tre (Cool), we are the three pieces, and it’s like we’re fighting,” Armstrong said. “And that’s been the main argument with the band is us fighting to hear ourselves. [In] the show (on Broadway) the music is pulled back and the vocals up front, it adds a whole new dimension to it – a whole new dynamic.”
He said many of his songs sound better when coming from different voices -- especially female vocalists.
He added, "A lot of them sound better than I do. ... They’re just beautiful singers all around. They could sing the freakin’ dictionary. It’s amazing.”