Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has opened up to the public revealing his tragic and sad 17-year struggle with substance abuse for the first time to Wednesday, Feb. 27 Radar Online reports.
Armstrong completed his drug and alcohol rehabilitation program in October 2012, when The Green Day singer checked in to a 30-day treatment program after his very public breakdown during the IHeartRadio Festival in Las Vegas back in September.
Billie Joe sat down with Rolling Stone recently to discuss all the nasty details about his long battle with substance abuse going into graphic detail in what he said is a one time only open discussion about his private life.
Opening up about some of the graphic and disturbing details of his former self, Billie Joe admits that when he was living with Tre Cool in Berkley, they were engaging in some pretty horrible things including scarification, bad tattoos, drinking and snorting meth.
“We would be at a party at someone’s house where bands were playing. Someone would have speed, and we’d do it. Then I would start writing songs when I got home. It wasn’t a necessity. The song was already there. The courage was what I needed. The fear was always there, even when we were doing American Idiot.”
Armstrong admits that drugs and alcohol had a lot to do with Green Day's initial image.
“We were total potheads – hence [the name] Green Day. We’ve always been drinkers. Our favorite bands were drinkers,” he explains.
“I played onstage loaded a lot. I’d have anywhere from two to six beers and a couple of shots before I went onstage, then go and play the gig and drink for the rest of the evening on the bus. Fall asleep, wake up the next day, feel like s**t, do sound-check…it was over and over again. In that way, I was a functioning alcoholic.”
While he claims he functioned, of sorts everyday, he also struggled for over 17-years to get sober hitting rock bottom on more than one occasion “waking up in a strange house on a couch,” having numerous meltdowns onstage and waking up in parks after blackouts.
“I’ve been trying to get sober since 1997, right around Nimrod. But I didn’t want to be in any programs. Sometimes, being a drunk, you think you can take on the whole world by yourself. This was the last straw. I had no choices anymore.”
Without going into exact details Billie Joe Armstrong attributes his final meltdown at IHeartRadio Festival to a combination of prescription pills “for anxiety and sleep,” paired with heavy drinking.
“I started combing them to a point where I didn’t know what I was taking during the day and what I was taking at night. It was just this routine. My backpack sounded like a giant baby rattle [from all of the vials inside].
Billie Joe Armstrong, reveals that he completely blacked out during the infamous I Heart Radio performance, doesn't like to think about the events that surround his public rock bottom.
“People will remind me a little bit. Or I’ll see a photograph. And it makes me so sick,” he divulges.
Whether it be a good or bad thing for Billie Joe he will forever be reminded of what went down that September day via the internet which went viral immediately after his breakdown occurred..
“No. I can’t go there. That’s my last drink. Which is good – it’s documented. Anytime I feel like drinking, I can think about it.”
Billie Joe Armstrong now has the opportunity to make amends for his actions and reconcile with all the people in his life that his addictions have affected, hopefully Armstrong's treatment will stick and he will continue to work the rest of his life to remain sober.
What do you think about Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong's addiction confessions, will he finally turn his life around after nearly two-decades of addiction?
For more on Billie Joe Armstrong, pick up the latest issue of Rolling Stone which is on sale now.