03-03-2006 Bullet In A Bible
Foto There's a moment on Green Day's new DVD, "Bullet in a Bible," when bassist Mike Dirnt recalls performing "Longview" on their latest tour and for the first time noticing fans unfamiliar with the 1994 smash.

"That was the point where I knew we'd gotten out of the shadow of Dookie," he says in the black-and-white clip that precedes the song. "We're in a whole other place."

Three months later, in a ritzy hotel in Beverly Hills, California, Dirnt finds himself expanding on that thought as frontman Billie Joe Armstrong and drummer Tre Cool nod along.

"That record was so huge that it definitely cast a shadow, and at the very least we can stand side-by-side with it now," Dirnt says, his wide smile nearly reaching his signature sideburns. "With [the 2001 compilation] International Superhits! we really put our flag in the ground and as a band said, 'Let's start our career right now and go forth as musicians and men and really enjoy this crazy world we're in.' "

There are risks involved anytime an artist takes a creative leap, but not only did Green Day pull it off, it may have been the smartest move the band ever made. Aside from meeting the massive challenge of living up to the landmark Dookie, the punk opera American Idiot reignited and reinvented Green Day.

The fictional tale of Jesus of Suburbia and the smash hits that tell it ("American Idiot," "Holiday," "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," "Wake Me up When September Ends," etc.) marked a new chapter for the band one that few saw coming. And while moving on from such fantastic success must be hard, Green Day are making it a little easier for themselves by ending on a high note, with a video for the epic "Jesus of Suburbia" on the horizon and "Bullet in a Bible" hitting stores November 15.

The DVD, which captures arguably the biggest punk show to date, came to life much the same way as American Idiot: There were new ideas to be tried, there were some doubts, and ultimately there was triumph.

"I remember when they first asked us about doing Milton Keynes," Armstrong recalls of the historic, 65,000-capacity venue where the DVD was filmed. "We'd played arenas in England before, but never like that. They were talking about Milton Keynes and it's where Queen played and U2 played. We're like, 'I don't know, we might be getting in over our head a little bit. It would suck if we like ended up not selling out or something like that, or just not selling at all.' So there was a risk there ... but with American Idiot and how far we pushed our own boundaries with making the record, it just seemed like we should just go for it."

Preparation began some six months before the June 18 and 19 shows, with esteemed video director Samuel Bayer (Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit") at the helm. During the planning stages, Bayer watched all the classic concert films and then some, not to replicate, but instead to make sure he was doing something different.

"If you see most concert films, you'll see dolly tracks, cameras in the front, the operators," says Bayer, who looks more like a surfer than a color-theory-obsessed ex-painter, with his tan skin and shoulder-length bleached hair. "When we first met with the people staging the show, we started pulling cameras off the stage. That [DVD] was done with 15 hand-held cameras. It was a really dangerous way to cover the show, but it made it much more exciting."

The result is a concert film with enough up-close action to make you feel sorry for people who merely had front-row seats. The entire thing was shot on film, sometimes using experimental stock. And remarkably, you never spot another camera.

In between the concert footage, all of which was taken from the second night, are a variety of vignettes capturing the different sides of Green Day. The highlight is their private trip to the Imperial War Museum, which is partially set to the chilling sound of Billie Joe tapping on a hollow shell of an atomic bomb.

"It was worse than any haunted house that you could ever imagine," explains Tre, dressed up for the interview in a silver tie. "Like, these giant Nazi missiles that were designed to blow London up and all these artifacts and real machines that these people were cowering in and getting shot at and died in them and stuff. It was really creepy."

It was at the museum where the DVD got its title.

"[The curator] was talking about her collection and she's like, 'I've got a bullet that's stuck in a Bible, which either saved someone's life or just went right through 'em, you have no idea,' " recalls Billie Joe, with a sideways beret shadowing his eyes, thickly lined with black pencil. "I guess maybe just the irony of it, or I don't know, it was just pretty heavy the way she talked about it and it just kind of seemed fitting."
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