Green Day frontman seeks substance abuse treatment

Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:22pm EDT
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By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Billie Joe Armstrong, lead singer and guitarist for the Grammy-winning rock band Green Day, is seeking substance abuse treatment, the group said on its website on Sunday, following his angry, guitar-smashing outburst on stage two days ago.

The statement, which apologized for the abrupt and acrimonious end to the band's appearance on Friday, came as Green Day is due to launch on Tuesday an ambitious trilogy of albums, their first collection of new music since 2009.

Performing at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas, Armstrong, 40, suddenly quit playing and launched into an expletive-laden tirade when signaled mid-song that the band had one minute left.

"Gimme a ... break. One minute left? ... You gotta be ... kidding me," Armstrong shouted from stage in seeming disbelief. "Let me show you what one ... minute means," he finally said, before he and bass player Mike Dirnt smashed their instruments and walked off.

Footage of the incident, which drew cheers of support for the band, was posted on YouTube.

Three weeks ago, the Green Day frontman was briefly hospitalized in Italy for what was later described by Dirnt as a severe case of dehydration, forcing cancellation of a weekend concert. But Armstrong was well enough to perform with Dirnt and drummer Tre Cool several days later at the MTV Video Music Awards show on September 6.

No details were given about the nature of Armstrong's latest difficulties, and the band's representatives could not immediately be reached for comment to elaborate on the terse website statement.

"Billie Joe is seeking treatment for substance abuse," it said, adding: "We would like everyone to know that our set was not cut short by (event promoter) Clear Channel and to apologize to those we offended at the iHeartRadio Festival in Las Vegas."   Continued...

Green Day lead vocalist and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong grabs a camera during the 2012 iHeart Radio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada September 21, 2012. REUTERS/Steve Marcus