I like the Chilli Peppers. I really like Offspring. But I have love on a very deep level for Green Day.
I’ve been overthinking my running a lot lately – all the focus has been on the technicalities; pace, cadence, breathing, strength, rest, physio, nutrition, kit….and the list goes on and on. I had no set goals or agenda for tonight’s run and just wanted to knock out a few enjoyable miles and keep my legs moving. So I decided to treat myself to some tunes.
Running with music is not a regular habit for me. I’ve mentioned before that sometimes I enjoy the guilty pleasure of a Disney run, but I didn’t explain that this is in part because I have never worked out how to set up a playlist on my MP3 player (I don’t do ipods or music on my phone. I’m old). So that means that when I do fancy making a song and dance out of a run I tend to listen to whole albums or music by one artist. Usually this ends up with a Disney run, or quite often a Springsteen run, or occasionally a 90’s pop music run.
But there’s one genre that always does the business when I’m feeling like I need a bit of a pick me up, and that’s good old California punk.
Now I like the Chilli Peppers. I really like Offspring. But I have love on a very deep level for Green Day.
I love Billie Joe’s brand of cheeky punk boy cool, which he still pulls off these days despite being in his 40’s. I love Mike’s bold, souring bass lines. And I love Tre’s manic, joyous, magnificent drumming.
Sometimes at work or in life you get a few weeks which should be titled ‘silly question season’ and it can get draining trying to continue to answer people politely or explain things for the millionth time. At times like this, I find Green Day’s music is quite simply balm for the soul. So tonight I stuck on International Superhits, swung out the worst of my arse-itis and headed out into the early evening sunshine.
I never get sick of Green Day. It never ceases to amaze me how they can take me through a range of emotions within a few songs. They can make my chest swell with anarchic glee during Minority, and bring a tear to my eye seconds later when Good Riddance comes on. The music makes the miles fly by.
One of the things I love most about Green Day is that there are certain riffs, lyrics or drum beats that I just can’t help joining in with even if I happen to be running at the time. I defy anyone not to play air guitar to Brain Stew, or drum along with invisible sticks to Basket Case, or enjoy screaming out ‘Shiiiite’ at the opportune moment during Hitchin’ a Ride.
Trust me. Try it. There is fun to be had in freaking out pedestrians in this manner.
This music connects me to myself in a way nothing else really does, especially when I’m running. When I was 17 and discovered them, Green Day gave me the mental vocabulary to understand why it was so important not to care what anyone else thought of me. Listening to them now makes me feel like that again, back in the days before I woke up as a nearly 35 year old runner in a rat race that’s complete anathema to the message in the music of my sunny California punk heroes. But I don’t reckon they’d mind if I don’t quite stick it to the man in my daily life today. We’re all just doing our best with what we’ve got, we’re all just trying to keep on keeping on.
Their music still has the power to make me feel completely free, young and alive nearly 20 years later. Even when I’m fast approaching the dreaded mid-30’s, with Grown Up Responsibilities and all the stress that life brings with it. When Green Day are playing, I don’t give a shit about any of that. It just fades away in the joy of the moment and the music.
Like I said – quite simply balm for the soul.