Music History

Billie Joe Armstrong has shared his “embarrassingly bad” demo of a Green Day demo he wrote on meth

Billie Joe Armstrong has had his struggles with drugs and alcohol that required at least one band hiatus so he could seek treatment. But back when he was younger, he felt he could handle it.

Sometime in late 1992 or early 1993, he got high on meth, plugged in his guitar and fired up a brand new four-track recorder. He thought he was writing a ballad but it didn’t turn out that way.

He explains to the Sound Exploder podcast: “The true confession is, I was on crystal meth when I wrote the lyrics to it, and I thought I was writing the greatest song ever. As you know, with drugs, they wear off, and then I felt like I’d written the worst song ever. I thought that the lyrics were just embarrassingly bad. I had a few songs before that I’d written on drugs, but this one was the most pitiful, I felt, after. And so I kind of let the song go for a while, because I felt so gross about it.”

When he sobered up, he was so embarrassed that he shelved the song. But when it came time to record Dookie, the melody kept coming back to him, so it decided to give things another shot. We know how the new version turned out, but what did that four-track demo sound like? This.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38562 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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