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Green Day will debut American Idiot documentary

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Marina Chavez

It’s been 11 years since Green Day released their epic rock opera American Idiot, and a decade of stadium shows, political activism, and Broadway adaptations can easily obscure the group’s pop-punk roots. To shed light on the album’s transitionary sessions, Green Day has announced a documentary, Heart Like A Hand Grenade, that chronicles its recording. According to the group’s website, the film hits theaters Oct. 15.

“This film does not contain high drama or fighting,” director John Roecker said in a statement on the band’s website. “It shows a band on top of their game creating incredible music. It is a film that inspires. […] It was also a risk for the band because this album was either going to take them to a higher level or sink them. Either way I was going to document it.”

Released in September 2004, American Idiot‘s incendiary, Bush-era politics helped it go multi-platinum and win a Grammy for Best Rock Album. The album also spawned two Top 10 singles (“Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and “Wake Me Up When September Ends”), as well as a Broadway adaptation that nabbed two Tonys and a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album. Green Day was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year.

Roecker’s film isn’t new, though. Heart Like A Hand Grenade premiered at a one-night-only event at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre in 2009—and it has been gestating even longer than that. When asked in September 2004 about his motivation to document the Idiot sessions, Roecker told EW, “The bands who Green Day originally influenced to get together are now going to be influenced to take a chance and dwell deeper in their souls.”

In the same story, frontman Billie Joe Armstrong articulated Green Day’s goals with the new album. “Do I consider myself a leader of this genre? F— yeah, I do,” he said. “And I want to prove that it’s not just dumb music for kids. It’s not just a trend; it’s something that can be taken to a higher level.”

Beyond displaying the history behind the album, Heart Like A Hand Grenade will also serve as another sort of time capsule. “After the recording was finished they booked a small theatre and performed the album in its entirety, which is included in the film,” Roecker writes. “Fun fact! That was eleven years ago folks and the camera phone was not invented so this is the only way you can see this legendary concert!”

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