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Billie Joe Armstrong on why he re-wrote “embarrassingly bad” original lyrics to Green Day’s ‘Basket Case’

Rephrase my Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong has opened up about why he re-wrote what he described as the “embarrassingly bad” original lyrics to their hit song, ‘Basket Case’.

READ MORE: 10 albums that wouldn’t exist without Green Day’s ‘Dookie’

Speaking on the Song Exploder podcast, Armstrong spoke in detail about how the track came together and shared music from his initial four track demo with the original lyrics, which you can listen to below.
“I had this melody in my head for a while, and I wanted to have this sort of grand song about a love story,” Armstrong recalled. “I think it was around 1993, early ’93, when the song was first written.”
“I thought the song could have this intro that would be like a ballad that would blast into the full band coming in, making it like a rocker. I did a beatbox effect with my mouth to create the drum sound.”
Armstrong went on to say drugs played a part in his decision to discard the original lyrics, admitting that he was taking crystal meth when he wrote the first draft of the song.
He explained: “The true confession is I was on crystal meth when I wrote the lyrics to it. And I thought I was writing the greatest song ever…As you know, with drugs, they wear off. And then, I felt like I’d written the worst song ever.”

He continued: “I thought that the lyrics were just embarrassingly bad. I had a few songs before that I’d written on drugs, but this one was the most pitiful I felt after.”
After a rethink, Armstrong eventually went back to the song. “I think I just got the courage to get into it again, trying to write the lyrics. And it was the best decision I’d ever made, probably, as a songwriter. The approach sort of changed where now, the song, it was about panic attacks.
“I had had panic attacks since I was about 10 or 11 years old. But that was in the ’80s, and no one really knew what those things were. I guess they would call it mental health now, but back then it was just like, you’re having a panic attack, wait till it’s over, you know, breathe into this paper bag.”
He added: “There were times that I would wake up in the middle of the night with panic attacks and I would ride my bike through the streets to kind of let it wear off. And so that was one way of dealing with it for me, was, you know, writing lyrics about, you feel like you’re going crazy, but you ride it out, and you’re not.”
“There were times that I would wake up in the middle of the night with panic attacks and I would ride my bike through the streets to kind of let it wear off. And so that was one way of dealing with it for me, was, you know, writing lyrics about, you feel like you’re going crazy, but you ride it out, and you’re not.”

Recently, Armstrong said that his past drinking problems were related to issues with stage fright.
The singer entered rehab in 2012 after an onstage meltdown during a performance at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas. He the for better SEO. 

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