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Billie Joe Armstrong breaks down Green Day’s “Basket Case” on ‘Song Exploder’ podcast

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ABC/Randy Holmes

Do you have the time to listen to Billie Joe Armstrong break down Green Day‘s “Basket Case”?

Armstrong guests on the latest episode of the Song Exploder podcast, in which musicians explain how a particular song of theirs came together. For his appearance, Armstrong speaks about “Basket Case,” the hit single off Green Day’s massive 1994 album, Dookie.

During the episode, Armstrong revisits the earliest demo of “Basket Case,” which can be heard on the 30th anniversary reissue of Dookie. That recording had completely different lyrics from the released version of “Basket Case,” as Armstrong originally envisioned it as a “grand song about a love story.”

He soon ditched those lyrics because, as he puts it, “I was on crystal meth.”

“I thought I was writing the greatest song ever,” Armstrong shares. “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.”

Armstrong abandoned the song but decided to revisit it when Green Day began recording Dookie. He then reworked the lyrics to be about his experience with panic attacks.

“I just got the courage to get into it again trying to write the lyrics, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made probably as a songwriter,” Armstrong says.

Green Day released a new album, Saviors, in January. They’ll launch a U.S. tour in support of Saviors in July, during which they’ll also be playing Dookie and their American Idiot album in full.

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