Billie Joe Armstrong says drinking problem stemmed from stage fright

17 January 2024, 10:29 | Updated: 17 January 2024, 10:33

Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong at Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2024
Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong at Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2024. Picture: Gilbert Flores/Penske Media via Getty Images

By Jenny Mensah

The Green Day frontman has opened up about his alcohol addiction and how he believes it was triggered by the pressure to deliver on stage.

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Billie Joe Armstrong believes his drinking problem stemmed from stage fright.

The Green Day frontman has been open about his struggles with alcohol addiction throughout the years and has now cited the period around the band's 1995 album Insomniac as as the start of his issues, which came from trying to cope with the pressure from delivering live performances.

He told the WTF with Marc Maron Podcast: "I get massive stage fright, it's the anticipation of all day going on and getting ready to go on stage at a stadium or something.

"I started [drinking] around the record after Dookie, that I would get so nervous that I started drinking more before shows.

"I was like, 'Hey that works, I'm gonna keep doing that'. Then I realised, 'Woah I keep drinking after the show too and during the show'. It just kinda happened."

Speaking about how he changes when on the substance, the 51-year-old rocker explained: "I'll be fine for a few drinks then some other guy starts to come into the picture. Not angry, I start to turn into everyone's drunk annoying uncle.

"It can get really funny then it can turn where I can't switch it off and I'm drinking until [4am].

"There were other human garbage can moments where other drugs were involved but that's the thing, I just want to keep going."

Despite recognising his triggers, the Basket Case rocker admits he has previously relapsed and it becomes harder for him to cope with the after-effects as he gets older.

"It was fine for a while and It steadily got back in your old ways. I'm older," he said. "It hurts my body and emotionally more. My family more."

The band recently tackled themes of addiction in their raw and honest Dilemma single, which is accompanied by a black and white video which sees the frontman tempted by vices and battling his demons.

The song includes brutally honest lyrics such as: "I was sober now I’m drunk again / I’m in trouble and in love again / I don’t want to be a dead man walking / I don’t want to be a dead man walking.”

Green Day - Dilemma (Official Music Video)

"Dilemma was one of those songs that was kind of easy to write because it was so personal to me,” Billie Joe Armstrong explains. “We’ve seen so many of our peers struggle with addiction and mental illness. This song is all about the pain that comes from those experiences.”

The single is one of four tracks that has already been released from Green Day's forthcoming album, Saviors, including lead track The American Dream Is Killing Me, Look Ma, No Brains and One Eyed Bastard.

Saviors is officially released this Friday 19th January.

Green Day are set for a busy 2024 with plans to support Saviors with world tour dates, which include a stint on this side of the pond and outdoor dates at the likes of Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester and London's Wembley Stadium.

See Green Day's 2024 UK and Irish tour dates below:

  • Friday 21st June 2024: Manchester Emirates Old Trafford
  • Sunday 23rd June Isle Of Wight Festival
  • Tuesday 25th June Bellahouston Park, Glasgow
  • Thursday 27th June Marlay Park, Dublin
  • Saturday 29th June 2024: London - Wembley Stadium

Visit for their full tour dates and tickets.

Green Day perform in London pub

If you have been affected by any of the themes covered in this story, please use the helplines below:



0300 123 1110 (Weekdays 9am to 8pm, weekends 11am to 4pm)

Alcoholics Anonymous

0800 9177650

Al-Anon Family Groups


We Are With You

SMART Recovery