Days before Green Day releases the first of an ambitious trio of new albums, singer and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong announced plans to enter rehab for substance abuse after he went on a profane tirade and stormed offstage at a Las Vegas concert on Friday.
While performing "Basket Case" at the iHeartRadio Festival, Armstrong stopped mid-song in order, he said, to play new material. When he looked at a screen that said the band had only one minute left in its set, Armstrong blew up -- and the entire barrage of F-bombs was captured on video.
"Give me a break, one minute left. One minute fucking left. You're going to give me fucking one minute?" Armstrong spat as the crowd began to boo. "Let me fucking tell you something. I've been around since fucking 19-eighty-fucking-eight. And you're gonna give me one fucking minute? You've gotta be fucking kidding me! ... What the fuck!?
"I'm not fucking Justin Bieber, you motherfuckers!"
After about a minute of cussing, Armstrong and bassist Mike Dirnt smashed their instruments onstage and stormed off, while Armstrong flashed the bird.
Early reports claimed that the band's set had been cut short by 20 minutes as festival producers made room for other artists, such as Usher. But the band posted the following statement on its website Sunday:
Billie Joe is seeking treatment for substance abuse. We would like everyone to know that our set was not cut short by Clear Channel and to apologize to those we offended at the iHeartRadio Festival in Las Vegas. We regretfully must postpone some of our upcoming promotional appearances.
The band did not offer further details about Armstrong's substance issues. But the revelation of drug problems could help explain an early September concert the band canceled in Bologna, Italy. Armstrong was hospitalized there for "severe dehydration," but appeared fine while performing at the MTV Video Music Awards only three days later.
The Chicago Sun-Times has anonymous inside sources claiming that Armstrong has had ongoing issues with alcohol and prescription medications:
"Billie Joe has been a loose cannon for a long time," the paper quotes a "Green Day insider" as saying. "It's long past time when he should be getting some serious help."
A representative for the band did not return a request for comment on that report by press time.