Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong has pleaded ignorance in the wake of the controversy – or at least confusion – around his recent duet with Morrissey.
Armstrong – along with several other American and Canadian musicians, including Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear and Broken Social Scene’s Ariel Engle – appeared on Morrissey’s 2019 covers album ‘California Son’.
Back in the UK, there was some confusion as to why these musicians had agreed to work with the former Smiths frontman at a time when he was a particularly controversial figure, thanks to – among other things – his support for a far right political organisation.
In general, it seems that the best explanation is that when you have a fringe politics controversy, it doesn’t travel, even when Morrissey is involved – despite his best badge-wearing efforts.
“I wasn’t aware [of the controversy] until the song came out”, Armstrong tells The Guardian. “We do the song, and he was very lovely, and then the song comes out and a lot of Brits were like: what the hell are you doing? I really did not have a clue”.
His comments echo those of Ariel Engle, who also spoke about his Morrisey duet with The Guardian last year, saying: “It’s a very weak argument to claim ignorance, but it is my argument. It’s not an excuse but it happens to be the truth. The inflammatory things he says are not my politics. I think he’s completely out of line. I grew up around multiculturalism and I am the product of multiculturalism and immigration. I feel like I’ve been had, but it’s my fault”.
Morrissey’s got another album coming out soon. Next month, in fact. I’m never sure if people want me to tell them that or not.