Developing story: Following the publishing of this post, Billie Joe Armstrong apparently entered rehab. While that doesn’t change my point, I do wish him nothing but the absolute best in his battle against addiction. I still believe that his actions were a smart way to reinforce his band’s image. Hopefully as a sober performer, he will retain the same vitriol towards authority.
You’re a veteran punk rock band, hired by one of America’s biggest media corporations to play their music festival. Then, just before you are set to go on stage, you find out that your 45 minute set has been cut to 25 minutes in order to allow another act, Usher, more time on stage
What would you do?
In a rare and refreshing show of modern rock ‘n’ roll swagger, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong brought back images of the Sex Pistols, The Who in their heyday, and The Clash. As the stage clock showed one minute left in their set, Billie Joe abruptly stopped playing and unleashed a profanity filled tirade toward the organizers of the event, capping it off by smashing his guitar, flipping his middle finger, and walking off the stage.
How awesome to see a brand (Green Day) that so clearly understands its values and so brilliantly seizes an opportunity to showcase them in a way that gets them massive coverage… at a time when they are about to release three back-to-back-to-back new albums within a few months of each other.
When your brand’s image is anti-authoritarian, rebellious, and destructive, you should be exactly that.
If Taylor Swift had learned her set was being cut short, she would have been much wiser to take her frustrations out through her management team in a private meeting with the concert organizers. It isn’t in Taylor’s girl-next-door image to act like an assh*le.
But it is perfectly in line with Billie Joe Armstrong and Green Day’s image to rise up against authority, fight for their cause, and take no bullsh*t from anyone.
Those who boycott Green Day because of this would probably never buy their albums or concert tickets anyway.
And those who love Green Day because of what they stand for now have another reason to love them even more.
When you are known for a certain set of values, never be afraid to stand up and represent those values in a very bold and public way.
Know and understand your image, and seize every opportunity to further enhance and showcase that image.
You can enjoy Billie Joe Armstrong’s intensity in the video below, but be warned that the language is raw and NOT SAFE FOR WORK.