In case you were wondering how the members of Green Day felt about the election, we have it here for you. Sorry, but my first reaction to this was laughter. These guys EMBODY all the pouting Hillary supporters. And it’s funny.
Green Day stunned the pop crowd at the American Music Awards last night by inserting some punk politics into their performance of their Revolution Radio single “Bang Bang.” Deep into the song, Billie Joe Armstrong led an impromptu chant of “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA,” a catchy, almost cheerleader-like refrain that has caught on with protesters since the election.
It’s a line that stretches all the way back to the early Eighties, when the hardcore group M.D.C. clashed with Nazis in Austin, Texas, so they wrote the song “Born to Die” about it. The track would make its debut recorded performance on the band’s 1982 LP, Millions of Dead Cops. At the time, however, singer Dave Dictor was chanting, “No war, no KKK, no fascist USA.” Armstrong and his bandmates played with M.D.C. in the past, so the lyric has likely stuck with them over the years.
“Born to Die” remains a set-list staple for the group, which has taken to singing the “No Trump” variation live in recent years. Although Dictor’s phone didn’t blow up last night during the AMAs, he says people were contacting him about Green Day’s use of the line via every other method. Here, the singer reflects on the song’s legacy of protest.
What’s the story behind “Born to Die”?
Back in 1980, I was in a band the called the Stains, which morphed into Millions of Dead Cops in 1981, in Austin, Texas. We were aware of the Ku Klux Klan’s harassment and violence against the farmworkers in Texas. Cesar Chavez’s people were organizing. At the same time, and what I believe was unrelated, the Klan started recruiting at punk shows in Texas. We as punks stood up to them at our shows outside of Inner Sanctum Record Store in a parking lot in Austin as well as when they tried to march, at the state capital, in the fall of 1980 in Austin as well.