What up, gang? It’s been a while. I can’t even remember the last time I submitted something for the newsletter. I don’t have a real excuse except for life getting in the way. That, combined with being a little further away from the rest of the crew in Raleigh and also working at Vinyl Conflict made it extra hard to feel connected and inspired to write. But one of my new year’s resolutions is to get back to contributing to the SSR newsletter, which always brought me joy and gave me some camaraderie with all my friends down at the shop. It’s good to be back!
You guessed it! I’m writing about Green Day.
Cometbus #54: In China with Green Day - A friend of mine ordered this for me and insisted I would love it (thanks, Brian). I obviously was familiar with Aaron Cometbus and his zine. I have even exchanged letters with him before. But, truth be told, this is the first time I have ever read a Cometbus. I was always a much bigger fan of his work in Pinhead Gunpowder as the drummer and lyric writer (and to a lesser extent, Crimpshrine).
This zine is a hands-on account of his experience traveling with Green Day in China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and Singapore. Aaron had been a roadie for Green Day in the DIY days back before Dookie, the money, the fame, etc. After all these years his old friends invite him back to travel with them again, and as much as it’s about Green Day and the commercialized theatrics that go with it, it’s also about getting older and learning to respect your friends’ decisions even if it’s not the life you would choose. It’s really cool for me as a Green Day fanatic to read stories about the band from the perspective of a close friend, someone who has seen all sides of them. Aaron isn’t shy about giving criticism and opening up about his feelings about his friends either. I would not call this a puff piece. Also, as a first time Cometbus reader I love his open writing style, which at times even felt like I was reading his journal entries on his trip rather than a version changed for public consumption. Awesome read, even for a casual fan.
Green Day: BBC Sessions - These days I always check the G section of any record store I end up at hoping to find some reissue I don’t have, or a cool bootleg, or maybe even a duplicate copy of a Green Day album I already have. At a local shop, I came across this BBC Sessions double LP which I had no idea had just come out a month ago. It has 4 sessions by Green Day in 1994, 1996, 1998, and 2001. I had never heard these cuts before, so naturally it hasn’t left my turntable for days now. I love these kinds of recordings, just a few quick (polished) live tracks that perfectly capture that moment in time. I swear each session is better than the one before! I was also pleasantly surprised by some of the song choices, specifically “Prosthetic Head” on the ‘98 session, which is a song I have always liked but have seldom heard live recordings of. Two of my other favorite cuts I wasn’t expecting were “Castaway” and “Church On Sunday”. I always get excited when I find something new (to me) to listen to by a band I have listened to to death. One last nerdy thing about this release that I love is I finally know where the name of one of my favorite Green Day songs came from: In the liner notes Steve Lamacq (BBC DJ) recalls Billie Joe saying that they rehearsed a new song in the studio during their 1994 session but had the engineer throw it out. However, Billie said he found a name for that song while in the studio bathroom, where he saw the words “Armitage Shanks” (UK toilet manufacturer) on a urinal.
Aiight, that was enough Green Day talk for one day. I think I’m gunna throw on some Disclose as a palate cleanser.
‘Till next time!