Police File presents Green Day’s most infamous moments, run-ins with law enforcement and general debauchery. It’s not always flattering but it all contributes to the history of the band.
Chaos At Woodstock
August 14, 1994 – Saugerties, New YorkLeave it to Green Day to start the biggest mud fight in history at a festival meant to encourage peace. The over 350,000 fans watching the show were encouraged to throw mud after one fan did so and Billie picked it up and put it in his mouth. Soon after, Billie began running across the stage while fans threw mud, and he attempted to fight back on his own, needless to say, he was a little outmatched. Things began getting really out of control when fans began running on the stage, even Mike was mistaken for a fan and lost three teeth as bouncers tackled him. Billie described it best onstage when he yelled, “this isn’t peace it’s fucking anarchy”. Billie later said, “Going into it I thought that the nostalgia reasons behind the show were kind of a joke. So we went in thinking ‘This is lame’. But then it turned into something completely unexpected. To tell you the truth, it was the closest thing to total chaos I’ve ever seen in my whole life.”
Free Show Ends In Riot
September 9, 1994 – The Hatch ShellLess than a month after their infamous appearance at Woodstock, Green Day performed a free show arranged by local Boston radio station WFNX. A modest crowd was predicted by organizers but contrary to expectations an estimated 65,000 fans descended on the site. The police and state troopers were out in force aided by a 15-man security team of inmates from the local prison. The crowd control was woefully inadequate and a few minutes after the band had taken the stage the crash barriers came down. All hell broke loose. “The police were getting beat up and stuff,” said Tre. The lighting rig began to wobble and the promoter concerned the whole stage might fall, pulled the plug. The crowd went mad, causing havoc that quickly spread through the streets of downtown Boston. The local news reported more than 60 arrests and dozens of minor injuries. “They were tear-gassing the crowd and all these things”, Tre remembers, “next thing their announcing ‘Green Day has left the building! Green Day has left the building’, it was fucking funny”. The band were ushered under the building for their safety and watched the whole fiasco while the prisons begged for autographs. “The thing is”, noted Tre, “not one of them fucked off, they all went back to jail the next day!”
Naked In New York
December 5, 1994 – Madison Square GardensWith the Z-100 Christmas show (AIDS benefit) beginning to drag after 7 hours, Green Day needed to be in top form to revive the tired audience. This was the final concert after a long year of supporting their hit album Dookie. At close to 2 AM the band finished their set and headed backstage before their encore. Fans would be in for a surprise when Billie returned to the stage wearing nothing but his guitar for a performance of ‘She’. “His impulsive need to be noticed turned a musical endurance test into what will be one of the most talked about concerts of the year” reported the New York Post.
Full Moon In Milwaukee
November 21, 1996 – Milwaukee, WIBillie was just trying to liven up the atmosphere during a concert in Milwaukee by mooning the crowd of 6,000 – but this did not go over well with local law enforcement.
Witnesses said Billie was arrested after exiting the building about a half hour after the band’s show. “He was getting into a car with a whole bunch of people when about seven police officers surrounded the car with lights and prevented him from leaving” a concert attendee recalled. Police officers took Billie to the Milwaukee police station, where he was cited for indecent exposure. After he paid the bail of $141.85, he was released.
Lt. Thomas Christopher of the Milwaukee PD explains what happened: “Mr. Armstrong dropped his pants to his knees and exposed his buttocks to the crowd. After the concert, Mr. Armstrong was taken into custody, given a city citation for indecent exposure. He posted a bail and was released. The problem was he exposed himself to a crowd of about 6,000 people,” said Lt. Christopher. “Including people as young as ten. That was our main reason for taking the action.”