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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014

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Billie Joe Armstrong performing last month in England.
Billie Joe Armstrong performing last month in England.

Are musicians entitled to act like this?

I've been hearing a lot about the iHeartRadio music festival, which was held in Las Vegas last weekend. I'm sure it's the same for everyone else who tunes into Milwaukee radio. Local stations in the IHeartRadio network include Oldies 95.7, FM 106.1 and 97.3 Radio Now.

It seemed like a great idea to me, and frankly I was amazed that anyone could pull off such a monumental project. Getting all those stars together at one time to sing their radio hits - how does that work? How many managers do you have to deal with, how many contracts need to be made out, and with what provisions? Doesn't Britney Spears only want green M&M's in her dressing room, or something? (Maybe I'm just making that up.)

And most of all, I wondered how these megastars share a stage. That's a lot of talent, a lot of ego.

As it turns out, some of them couldn't. 

Billy Joe Armstrong had a massive meltdown when told he only had one minute left on stage. You can watch the video on Jesse Mitchell's blog (if you don't mind hearing the F-word...a lot) so I won't go into the details, but it suffices to say that he smashed his guitar. Smashed his guitar. Like he's Pete Townshend.

Except he's not.

Well, we certainly know he's not Justin Bieber either, because he yelled that as he was smashing the guitar. 

Green Day apologized today and Armstrong entered rehab, that tried-and-true face-saving move.

I've attended and reviewed plenty of concerts and interviewed plenty of musicians. 99% of them have been friendly, polite and self-deprecating. But then there's that 1%.

I don't know what to make of this. Is it just another rock n' roll moment, par for the course at a concert like this? The tantrum of a spoiled artist? Is a talented musician entitled or even expected to act like this? And if he didn't, what would we all talk about?

Talkbacks

quickened | Oct. 5, 2012 at 10:24 a.m. (report)

Bunderscore nailed it. Armstrong still has to prove he is "punk". Good timing with Album releases and all. There is no such thing as bad publicity. Kudos for getting the media talking.

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Bunderscore | Sept. 25, 2012 at 3:59 p.m. (report)

35781 let's not forget that Green Day has THREE new albums coming out between now and January. Yeah, THREE albums. Uno, Dos and the (not so) cleverly titled "Tre". Coincidence that Uno came out today? I think not. The guys have to prove that they're still punk rock and not corporate sell-outs.

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InTheView | Sept. 25, 2012 at 7:43 a.m. (report)

Jim, you took the words right out of my mouth. It's completely staged. Green Day's image is waning, they have to prove how punk they are. How much more punk could it be than to smash a few guitars on stage, and then "enter rehab" for an unspecified problem. Way to go. The puppeteers at Clear Channel and the industry lables struggle to keep perpetuating the image of your idols.

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CoolerKing | Sept. 25, 2012 at 7:23 a.m. (report)

Rehab? Anger management rehab? Hissyfit rehab? The whole rehab thing is the biggest cover-up excuse ever for a celeb acting like a jackass.

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TosaJim | Sept. 24, 2012 at 4:11 p.m. (report)

This is all staged...guy acts out...gets millions of dollars worth of free publicity (by the way...bad publicity is as good as good publicity...In fact...bad publicity is even better). He'll go into rehab...come out and be welcomed by the same morons who waste time watching the horrible, mindless reality shows that just keep spewing out the network wastelands....what is wrong with people today?

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