Green Day: Billie Joe Had Been 'Drinking A Lot' Before Breakdown

Tre Cool's ex-wife alleges that the singer had battled with alcohol problems.

Ultimate Guitar

NME is reporting that Billie Joe Armstrong had been "drinking a lot" on the night of his breakdown at the iHeartMusic festival in Las Vegas. Claudia Saurez, the ex-wife of drummer Tre Cool, has told Celebuzz that Armstrong had been sober for a year, but had started drinking again on the evening of the show:

"When he was in Vegas he was drinking a lot. The night of the show he had been drinking. In Las Vegas there's a lot of temptation to drink and it's tough to be around when you're fighting against it. They have a new album coming out and it's a demanding lifestyle. It's very difficult".

Armstrong's foul-mouthed tirade had been reportedly sparked by the cutting short of the band's set after Usher's performance had overran. However, in the statement announcing that Billie Joe had checked into rehab, band members Tre Cool and Mike Dirnt noted that this was not the case. Ex Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver drummer Matt Sorum has had some heated words to say about Armstrong's breakdown on Twitter, as Classic Rock notes.

Sorum claimed that the outburst was "the most punk rock thing he has ever done" and added: "Then he had to go an ruin it by apologizing. Corporate rock is alive and well. Never really bought that band anyway". Sorum's former band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Armstrong in April of this year.

Billie Joe's meltdown has somewhat overshadowed the release of "Uno!", Green Day's ninth studio album, which came out on September 24th. The record is the first of a trilogy of albums that will be released between now and January 2013.

127 comments sorted by best / new / date

    It's funny how whenever someone has the courage to say what they really think, everyone else who doesn't have the balls to do so claims "he must have been drunk at the time".
    Why do they feel the need to make excuses for him speaking his mind? And why do people keep calling it a breakdown?
    I think that, sadly, the "rock and roll" life isn't as accepted as it used to be. Not that drinking yourself to death is cool, but the guy has a right to his opinion. And why should usher get to go over time and not green day? They've been around like 10 years longer, and were one of, if not the ONLY rock act there.
    It's probably also because there's an incredible stigma over addiction now. Have a drink before 5pm and you're suddenly a drunk. Smoke weed every once in awhile and suddenly you're a drug addict. It's not like he got drunk and drove home intoxicated to beat his wife, or he's calling off tours and recording sessions to go party. The guy was just angry that his set was cut short, which he rightfully should have been. He just happened to be a plastered at the time.
    Honestly, I think he had every reason to be pissed off. Their 45 minute set was cut by 20 minutes, which is almost half the time they had. Also Billie Joe wanted to play some new somgs, but couldn't because of the cut. And worst of all, the cut happened so USHER of all people could play more. Who wouldn't be angry that their performance was cut in half so an inferior "artist" could have some extra time to dance and lip synch to his music
    This story is full of so much bullshit. There are videos on Green Day's YouTube account that clearly show Billie Joe doing shots while playing the piano, and those videos are only a few months old.
    Usher released his first independent album in 87. 1 year after Green Day. On a commercial level they only got famous in 94 and Usher in 97. Green Day have hardly been around longer. Anyway it's a commercial event, and they will want the more commercially viable act on stage, which just happens to be Usher.
    Why does Matt Sorum have to put a message like that on his stupid Twitter? Why didn't he have the courage to tell him personally at the HoF that "He has never done anything punk in his life"?
    Since this happened after 2000, is it officially a 21st Century Breakdown? (Sorry, I just couldn't believe no one else had said it. Maybe they did in the other threads, but I'm too lazy to go look right now.) I still say that it appears he was just really angry, and that he seemed pretty damned focused in his rant. The whole rehab thing seems kind of made up after the fact, as some sort of appeasement tactic.
    who cares! he did the right thing, and that's what matters!
    this so called freakout is very anti-punk. him saying that he's been around since 88 so he should get more privileges than everyone else is just him being an old dick. usher has been making music since 87. he agreed to play at the IHeartRadio festival with between usher and rihanna...not very punk. not to mention the fest is basically a glorified smartphone app commercial the app is owned by clear channel. if you dont know what clear channel is listen to the leftover crack song "clear channel (**** off)"
    Somebody read a Cracked article.
    cracked? is that like a leftover crack magazine or something? i love the band but i dont know of every little project they do
    Pretty sure hes been drinking since some time before this.
    ...and never had a so-called "meltdown".
    Exactly haha. Green Day have posted quite a lot of videos in the studio showing Billie drinking. Unless for whatever reason they thought it was cool to stage them, I'm pretty sure he hasn't been sober for a year.
    that's why I'm not too keen to trust Tre Cool's {b}ex{/b}-wife we might as well trust Mike Dirnt's side-burn barber
    Obama FTW
    I give props to Billie Joe for his meltdown.
    Love the meltdown. Hate the apology
    Epi g-310
    Billy Joe didn't actually apologize, did he? I thought it was Mike and Tre that released the apology letter. I don't know if that makes a difference, but y'know, it could have been damage control, trying to keep Armstrong out of trouble for calling them out on their crap... that's what I've chosen to believe anyhow.
    It has never been confirmed that the statement was made by Mike or Tre. It was posted on their website and Facebook first, pages run by publicists and PR people. UG has been saying that they released this statement personally when they in fact did not.
    i dont like green day, i love guns n roses, but i really hate matt sorum. hes a mediocre drummer who seems to think he can just throw his opinion in anywhere. and honestly. what drummer do people remember more from gns? adler or him? adler is a beasttttt
    Nicotine, Valium, Vicodin, Marijuana, and Ecstasy not involved. Oh, and c-c-c-c-c-cocaine.
    Year Zero
    He wasn't even in the wrong, how is it a melt down? People are such tools in society today.
    I recently started listening to Green Day again after his 'meltdown' on stage.
    Me too. I hadn't been interested in a Green Day record since hearing Warning, and not liking it. This peaked my interest enough to give Uno a chance. It is not bad.
    If he really is struggling I wish him the best. Either way, I respect him for speaking his mind.
    I'd love to get Pete Townsend's take on his "apology." I never had issues with Green Day. That tirade at IHR made me respect them a lot. Nobody has the balls to do that anymore. But seriously. I'm sure they didn't ask their Pr guys to issue that apology but you have to grab those guys by the nads and let them know that you aren't sorry, and that not everyone has to be your friend. That's what rock and roll is
    If you play in between Rihanna and Usher, wear makeup, sing top 40 pop songs, get introduced by Demi Lovato and Mario Lopez, play on Clear Channel, play in front of screaming tweens, and have songs like Longview, then you're not just Justin Bieber. You're Justin Bieber if he was going through a "punk" phase and sang about masturbation.
    Why the hell would they ask Tr's ex-wife?! Billie hasn't been sober for a year and that's based on fact.
    Usher has been around 1988. His first album dropped in 1991, just the facts.
    Instead of being a douche and smashing his guitar he could've let me have it. That kinda stuff really annoys me. Like, don't smash it, give it to someone in the front row.
    Stop with the excuses, seriously. Billie did what a real man, rocker, and punk would do. He flipped off the industry and he was in the right.
    von gelb
    I don't understand all the apologies and media coverage from this. I have seen far worse reactions to a short cut set, and yes... even by myself. Never broke my guitar though, I'm not rich like Billie Joe. Too bad, 'cause he is a good man, had a couple of drinks with him about a year before they got famous. He was very nice back then.
    Anyone who believes Billie, Mike, or Tre have anything to do with the apology probably also believe Golden Tate caught that pass against Green Bay on Monday Night Football....
    It was done to create publicity right before their album was released. Nothing to do with anything else. You people are ****ing stuipd.
    Obviously i don't play in green day, and obviously they're a commercial pop rock band, though that doesn't really change anything. Is it not reasonable to assume that a band's management would be managing a press-released apology, especially as commercial as they are? i could be wrong but that seems fair imho. And again I fail to see how a few f-bombs and a broken guitar is on par or even close to the shitstorm that has been Lindsay lohans career over the past 5 or so years... One incident at a gig vs non-stop media attention, numerous stints in rehab ad jail, and a complete loss of any integrity at this stage (I.e Lindsay lohan). I don't know armstrongs history extensively but I wouldn't be surprised if he's had less controversy surround him in his entire career than Lindsay's had in less than a decade. Bear in mind I'm no green day or lohan fan, just saying that your comparison is a bit over the top, and responding to your confusion over why people might be praising him for this..
    Weird.. That was supposed to reply to jfitch832 above. Sorry for double post!
    Doubt it, seems like this is all just to cover the fact that they did actually get ****ed over by promoters that night. Managers and labels, gotta ask them for permission just to wipe
    Sorry, bro. Someone beat you to the punch with the 21st Century Breakdown joke.
    Let me get this straight. So this dude is turning into Lindsey Lohan with a guitar and y'all are praising him because, for whatever reason, y'all are under the impression he's somehow punk, neverminding the fact they're playing a festival called iHeartRadio, a company owned by ClearChannel corporation? That's what's going on here?
    He's getting praise because he didnt just do the politically correct thing to do and simply and walk off stage. The apology was clearly at the behest of the band's label/management, and they probably just played the gig to promote the album they just released... Any comparison to Lindsay Lohan is f***ing absurd. The dude was a bit drunk and pissed about his set being cut short for trash like Usher. I find that hardly comparable to getting jailtime and extensive rehab because you cant get any attention from acting anymore.. -_-
    The apology wasn't clearly at the behest of the label, that's just what YOU think, and to the best of my knowledge you dont play in Green Day or work at their label. However, the thing that IS clearly stated is that the set was NOT cut short, so he was really just being a drunk celebrity causing a scene. Sounds like lindsey lohan to me. And now he's in lindsey lohan. The parallels are palpable. And yes they were playing the festival to promote their album, but the were also playing it because they are a commercial mainstream pop band, and if you think any different you're incredibly misguided
    This is a publicity stunt. Everyone involved was mentioned in this little conversation alone. Lohan comparisons are a little off though..
    If it's a publicity stunt that's even worse. I like musicians who play music, not games. " So i'm gonna f*** up this concert for everyone who wanted to see us play, but hey we got a new record out, so go buy that s***!" No thanks. But i dont think it is. I could be wrong though.
    Good to know, his meltdown sounded pointless. I mean, he has the right to be angered about getting his show cut, but using the F word 400 times per minute and going "I'm here since the 80's lol derp" does not really help.
    No, but the guitar smashing did. I haven't seen a good bout of destruction like that in a while. Made me feel like smashing one of mine, but I don't have the heart to destroy one of my children..
    To be fair i'm sure to him it seems like a much longer period of time, that IS like 23 years of touring, their almost eligible for the rock n roll hall of fame.
    *Why is this still talked about? The "outburst" was obviously fake.
    yeha he didnt seem very mad. he was just dropping the f bomb like it was the. not to call it a publicity stunt, but thats sure what it sounded like. like an imature child going off.
    The band's a sell out, Billies a sell out, Mikes a sell out they're all sell outs. "Well so is Usher" The both played at a corporate wash out crap concert. There was nothing "punk rock" about the melt down. He was whining because he agreed to play in between two far more popular "artists" and was sad when his time got cut short. Green Day washed up long ago! It's not about music for them anymore it's about the money it always has been. Same thing happened to Nirvana, I still have respect Nirvana though. They're a bunch of forty year old wash ups that are trying to pop out meaningless albums with no heart to make bank. They about as bad as a rabbit farm. If I was Billie I would have said sweet I played for 20 minutes and I'm still walking out of here with have a million.
    *half a million, sorry, that was annoying me. Anywho, you expect them to keep on making stuff like they did during dookie? You would say the same thing about a bunch of 40 year old men singing about getting high and all that stuff. And i doubt they got half a mil to play at this festaval thing.
    It was not a breakdown, it was stating a fact. Usher sucks, and i would be pissed if my time was cut for him too.
    "They have a new album coming out and it's a demanding lifestyle. It's very difficult" really? i dont know what its like being a touring popular musician in a hard economy and probably making 7 figures a year.. but i love playing music in front of people and making music for nothing and it hasnt made me pick up bottle yet.
    It's easy to do something when there is no pressure on you to do it. They wrote 3 albums. Promoting all 3 at the same time. A single every week. Talk shows every morning and afternoon with a concert every night. Playing stupid obligatory events like I heart radio, which they probably didn't even want to do. They Had to fly to Vegas all the way from NYC where they were for the past week for one show that they probably weren't even getting paid that much (if at all) to do. I'd smash my double-cutaway Les Paul too
    shut up, theres to it than that like the fact that they're away from their families frequently for long periods of time. that'd be hard on anyone.
    "It was the 21st Century Breakdown"! Hehehe, I had to! I was so confused by all the media calling it a meltdown/breakdown, I mean, wasnt this Rock n Roll at one point? well, Punk...metal? and now he's an alcoholic goin to rehab?! .....I say he does it all over again, this time leaving out the apology. It was ****in great.. and loved seeing him smash the guitar over and over again on tv. Way to go Mr Joe.