Green Day—the punk rockers who brought us 2004’s American Idiot and the more recent politically-charged Revolution Radio—have never shied away from taking a rebellious approach to the U.S. social and political landscape. But in a new backstage interview with Rolling Stone, frontman Billie Joe Armstrong shared a somewhat more optimistic worldview. Although, at first, Armstrong did not mince words when it came to the current administration.
“Bush, as far as I’m concerned, is a war criminal,” Armstrong reflected on the era in which the band wrote American Idiot. “With Trump, we have no idea. Right now it’s just a freak show.”
When asked about his kids’ futures (Armstrong is father to two aspiring musician sons), he said he looks at them as the “Harry Potter Generation,” referring to J.K. Rowling’s ubiquitous, popular magical universe and its built-in lessons in morality and resilience.
“There’s a sense of justice about that, in beating Voldemort,” he explained of the story’s ultimate narrative arc of overcoming the villain. “It’s a classic tale of good versus evil. To have a role model like Harry Potter that says you can defeat evil, but still be a complicated human being. That gives me a lot of hope.”
Armstrong and his bandmates Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool are in the midst of a giant tour that will take them around the world through the fall.