Green Day Switches Up ‘Basket Case’ With Original Demo Lyrics at iHeartRadio Music Awards

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Green Day perform onstage during the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards at Dolby Theatre on April 01, 2024 - Credit: Amy Sussman/Getty Images
Green Day perform onstage during the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards at Dolby Theatre on April 01, 2024 - Credit: Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Green Day scrapped the second verse of “Basket Case” and replaced it with a few bars from the original song demo during their recent performance at the iHeartRadio Music Awards. The Landmark Award recipients opened their set with Saviors track “Bobby Sox” before performing the hybrid version of the Dookie classic.

“Around each other intoxicating their minds/Dancing in the street under suburban lights/They stumbled to the ground without a hurt,” Billie Joe Armstrong sings in place of the original verse about a therapist analyzing his dreams and telling him he should have more sex. The original demo lyrics don’t read too bad on paper, but the frontman recently referred to his first swing at writing the song as “embarrassingly bad” on an episode of Song Exploder.

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“I was on crystal meth when I wrote the lyrics to it. And I thought I was writing the greatest song ever,” he explained. “As you know, with drugs, they wear off. And then, I felt like I’d written the worst song ever. I thought that the lyrics were just embarrassingly bad. I had a few songs before that I’d written on drugs, but this one was the most pitiful I felt after. And so, I just kind of let the song go for a while because I felt so gross about it. But, you know, I was like, maybe it’ll come back.”

By the time Dookie arrived in 1994, Armstrong had figured it out. That original demo didn’t resurface until last year when Green Day released the album’s 30th-anniversary reissue featuring outtakes, demos, and live recordings from the era. “Basket Case” was among the 4-track demos, which also included “Burnout,” “Chump,” “Pulling Teeth,” “In the End,” and more.

Bringing those original lyrics to the iHeartRadio Music Awards stage feels almost like a full circle moment for Green Day, who were presented the first-ever Landmark Award by Avril Lavigne. The event also honored artists with the Innovator Award and the Icon Award.

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