Two years ago, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong starred in his first feature-length movie. Ordinary World had a stacked cast that included Selma Blair, Judy Greer, and Fred Armisen, and it was an entertaining enough watch. Armstrong's character, a disillusioned ex-punk called Perry Miller, spends his birthday grappling with a mid-life-crisis, reliving his youth in bursts at a fancy hotel, away from his wife and kid in the suburbs. It all builds to a moment in which his young daughter plays The Replacements' "Unsatisfied" at a school talent contest, and Perry realizes that his daughter and her handed-down love of music is more important than his furtive desire to get shitfaced and hang out with Joan Jett. (It's not exactly genre-busting, but you try not to well up when a 12-year-old kid plays "Unsatisfied," you heartless bastard.)
I bring this up because Armstrong quietly released a new EP by his new band overnight. The Longshot's self-titled three-song sampler is, apparently, the precursor to a full-length called Love Is for Losers, out sometime soon. It sounds like Warning-era Green Day, a continuation of Armstrong's sound had he not got a taste for stadium rock after Cigarettes and Valentines vanished and American Idiot turned his band into superstars all over again. "Chasing a Ghost," "Love Is for Losers," and "Taxi Driver" are exuberant pop-punk songs held down by a little melancholy, all roughly three minutes apiece, totally familiar. Listen to them below. They all sound like pretty good late-'90s Green Day B-sides, and that's sort of lovely in its way.
It seems like a pretty good bet that Armstrong's son Joey, who plays in Swmrs, is on the drums here—here's an Instagram post that all but confirms it. And the first thing that popped up after "Love Is for Losers" ended on YouTube was a cover of the song by a band called Insomniacs, who essentially sound like a Green Day covers band and, according to their Facebook page, are essentially a Green Day covers band. They must have stayed up late last night to record this, and it sounds pretty good! I actually prefer it to The Longshot's! It's just a pared-down version of the original, but it helps Armstrong's melody to come through a little clearer. Good job, Levi, Leah, and Stefan from Gilbert, Arizona!
Point is, Billie Joe Armstrong is 46 now, both of his sons are good musicians, and kids who aren't old enough to buy beer are still covering Green Day songs in 2018. It's heartwarming in the same way that the final scene of Ordinary World was heartwarming—it'll only make you cry if a 12-year-old kid is singing "Unsatisfied"—but it's sweet nonetheless. If Billie Joe Armstrong retired tomorrow, there'd still be at least three future generations of kids listening to Dookie, spiking their hair up, buying shitty sweatbands for no reason, and eventually getting mad at the Bush administration. That's a cool legacy to leave behind.
Alex Robert Ross played so many Green Day covers growing up that he ended up dying his hair orange-blonde, wearing a skinny pink tie with a black shirt, and stealing eyeliner from department stores. Follow him on Twitter.