One of the more tragic incidents in recent weeks was the Ghost Ship fire at an Oakland warehouse where 36 people were killed. The warehouse was the site of a DIY show being put on and the blaze killed a number of performers on top of those in attendance. The tragedy hit home for Green Day and Billie Joe Armstrong, who had their own history with the DIY scene in the Bay Area before hitting it big. In response to the tragedy, Armstrong posted a message on Instagram about the fire and later joined with his bandmates at Oakland’s Oracle Arena during the Live 105 Not So Silent Night where they paid tribute to the victims.
In Armstrong’s initial Instagram message, he penned, “It’s been many years since I’ve lived in warehouses and communal spaces like Ghost Ship.. Those were some of the best and most fulfilling times in my life. Living with other weirdos, artists, activists, and musicians.. Spaces like this allow the strange ones to thrive and be the people that normal society rejects. We inspired each other, laughed together, and created new friends and family we didn’t know existed. The city of Oakland provided that for me and my closest friends. This tragedy hits close to all of our hearts. Please do what you can to help heal this intense loss.. More information to come .. Let’s take care of each other.” His post can be seen below.
As for the show, Green Day dedicated “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” to the victims of the Ghost Ship fire, but not before speaking directly to the crowd. “This is our own,” Armstrong told the audience. “This is our people. These are friends, friends of friends. These are people we pass by on the street every day because BART only goes so many places. But my heart just goes out to all the people who perished in that warehouse because these are people that were just looking for themselves, just trying to have a moment where they could all just celebrate, just being an artist, and being weird and having fun.” See the full salute and performance in the fan-shot video above.
Green Day have maintained their roots in the Bay Area and are apparently preparing to revisit some of the scene that spawned them with a new documentary. Armstrong posted that the band has been involved with a new documentary called Turn It Around: The Story of East Bay Punk. It’s expected to be released in 2017, and features not only footage, photos and interviews with Green Day but other bands that played key roles in the local punk scene.