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The band answers 1LIVE questions, on May 6, 2009 in their studios in Cologne, Germany.
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1LIVE: You were away for a long time, where did you hide?
Billie Joe: You know, after the last tour, we took a couple years just to write songs, you know, and kind of let the songs evolve. And, you know, it's coming up now on 21st Century Breakdown.
1LIVE: Like the previous one, this album is like a rock opera with two main characters. You tell again a story. Where do you see the difference with American Idiot? Is it a sequel or where does it take you?
Billie Joe: I think, you know, it's based on two characters. This record is based on Gloria, who is the main character, and Christian. I think, there is not really a linear story that goes along with it. It's more like they sort of reflect sort of the, you know... They symbolize different things that we're kind of struggling through. Especially like living in America right now, through like the different crises every week.
1LIVE: And there's light at the end of the tunnel, this time. The story of your album doesn't end darkly.
Billie Joe: Yes, there is a very shiny, big, bright light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel. I mean, I like to think there is some hope.
1LIVE: You raise your voice in your songs. If you were politicians, what would you do first, Mike?
Mike: My career.
Billie Joe: Yeah, make a career. I would never wanna be a politician, I mean... I kind of like to think of ourselves as like a good comedian. You know, we always have some kind of commentary. It can be funny, and it can be really serious at the same time.
1LIVE: You hear now your new single « Know Your Enemy ». Who is actually the enemy that we should know about?
Mike: I mean, I think the enemy could be your own complacency, you know. And being satisfied with the way things are, and yet still frustrated. Or it could be anything from prescription drugs, to the people in power in your government.
1LIVE: You took quite some time for this. You however appeared in between as Foxboro Hottubs. How important to you are those side projects? Do they even still exist in parallel?
Billie Joe: Well, Foxboro Hottubs, you know... That was just a great time, we just drank a lot of alcohol. And wrote about ten songs in one night. And we then decided to do a tour. And dress up in fur coats and act like total morons. It was great.
1LIVE: Mike, you've got a Café near Berkeley. This is one of your side projects. There is a steak called « Kerplunk Steak ». What is it?
Mike: I believe...
1LIVE: Have you ever tried it out?
Mike: It's a Schniedelwutz. [German slang for Penis]
1LIVE: A Schniedelwutz steak, what is this?
Tré: If you eat a Kerplunk Steak, it's bound to make you Dookie.
Mike: I don't even actually know what that is on the menu. But I do know that we're open really late, and you can go in and get coffee at midnight or 1 AM, and beer. And there is really nothing else like that in our neighborhood.
1LIVE: It doesn't sound like you were often there yourself Mike, I must say.
Mike: No. You know, I do. I just try not to eat diner food too often.
Billie Joe: They do serve Guinness on tap, though.
Tré: In the morning.
1LIVE: Do you have any special food request when you're on tour? Or you don't care, Tré Cool?
Tré: I don't know, we just, you know, beers, waters, you know, like...
Mike: Liquids for Cheeches. [Tré's favorite drink]
Tré: Yeah, tequila, lemons, tonic, and then I'm happy. That's about it.
Billie Joe: And pot
1LIVE: No, I don't know what you mean.
Tré: I don't know anything! [In German: Ich weiß nichts]
1LIVE: Yeah, Tré Cool. You were born in Frankfurt. And you know some words in German. In the 90s, you played squats in Germany too. What is your relationship with Germany?
Tré: I don't know, this is somehow some home away from home for me. Even though I don't really understand any German other than a few dirty words.
1LIVE: Is it really true?
Tré: What? You want me to say the dirty words on the radio?
1LIVE: No, no. I just want that you feel like home here. Your tour starts in June, and you're coming here by us too. You're here before for our exclusive 1LIVE radio show, this Saturday at the E-Werk in Cologne.
1LIVE: You pig. Sorry, I have to say that. Will you play a lot of material from the new album this coming Saturday?
Tré: We'll start off with « Rock Your Body ».
Billie Joe: From Justin Timberlake. No, we're gonna play, yeah, we'll play a lot of new material. Like stuff that people haven't heard before, and then, you know... We'll go and like play some old stuff too.
1LIVE: Thanks for being here. See you guys!