STOP DROP AND ROLL: The Foxboro Hot Tubs
One of the ways that Green Day dealt with their post-American Idiot fame was to step away from being Green Day for a while. This didn’t mean taking a break from making music, but rather taking on whole new personas and letting themselves feel free to write and play, rather than worry about what “Green Day the band” would do. (This wasn’t the first time they’d taken on “secret” identities or formed a side project together - their band The Network dropped its first album in 2003.)
Stop Drop and Roll!!! arose out of the recording sessions that would eventually lead to 21st Century Breakdown, but the sound is completely different. Rather than the sweeping rock the latter album is made of, or the more eclectically-influenced sound Green Day continues to develop, Stop Drop and Roll!!! is straight garage rock: fast and messy and indulgent, and strongly influenced by the proto-punk sound of garage bands like The Stooges and The Who, with even a little Jerry Lee Lewis thrown in - an aesthetic that carries over into the album packaging.
Billie Joe has said of the album and side project that “we love to play music and be spontaneous, and after a few late night jams and a few too many bottles of wine, we were inspired to record some rockin’ eight-track recordings,” and that’s exactly what they did. In all, Stop Drop and Roll!!! is a pure delight for people who love straight up rock’n’roll and miss the scruffiness of either wave of garage rock (come back to me Julian Casablancas). It’s neither as self-reflective or as wide in its scope as American Idiot or subsequent Green Day recordings, but it is frenetic and contagiously energetic, full of sharp riffs and sharper lyrics, and the kind of music that can keep you bouncing around a club all night long.
When performing live as Foxboro Hot Tubs, as you can see above, the band take that energy and embody it. Billie Joe becomes the Reverend Strychnine Twitch, a rocker in the old model of swagger above all, and channels Iggy Pop. The result is a performer who seems like a hell of a lot more of a dick than the man playing him, but who is electric to watch - rather like the band as a whole.