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Celebrity news

September 30, 2004

Green Day slams Bush on new album


TORONTO (AP) - One of the biggest role models from the "I don't care" era has done a complete 180-degree turn.

Using their famous three-chord melodies, the spiky-haired trio Green Day have been lambasting President George W. Bush.

"It was a little hipper to be apathetic (back then)," says singer-guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong. "Right now, it's more about facing danger. That's what growing up is all about."

However, their new album, "American Idiot," isn't all about politics. It was written with a narrative, making it a "punk opera" of sorts. The central character is a rebellious teen named Jesus of Suburbia.

"It's about a kid that is trying to find his beliefs and his ethics, coming from a broken home, being fed up with his hometown and his local 7-11," said Armstrong, who still circles his eyes with black eyeliner.

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All three members of Green Day say writing their new album was the toughest project they've faced in 15 years together.

"We were up to the challenge. We're probably the best Green Day-type band there is out there," said bassist Mike Dirnt, referring to the dozens of neo-punksters who have mimicked the band's signature sound.

Armstrong said the album's cultural criticism was spawned from channel-surfing these last few years.

"Reality television meets news and war ... tanks going into Baghdad with splashes of Viagra commercials in between. I was just so confused about what was going on. It comes from that standpoint," he said.

But why the sudden interest in politics?

"It's unavoidable. Being in the United States right now, what's been going on the past couple of years ..." Armstrong said with a shrug.

Drummer Tre Cool added that it's important for those in the public eye to make their opinions known.

However, band members don't want to be labeled as activists. Instead, Armstrong said, Green Day is just continuing a long tradition of teaching through music.

Shatner, Spike TV 'punk' Iowa town


RIVERSIDE, Iowa (AP) - Riverside has been "punk'd" by William Shatner, aka "Star Trek" Capt. James T. Kirk, and Spike TV.

Riverside considers itself the "future birthplace" of Capt. Kirk, commander of the starship USS Enterprise in the '60s "Star Trek" series. The town holds an annual TrekFest, which includes a parade with people dressed as "Star Trek" characters and public showings of the "Star Trek" episodes.

Shatner had been shooting scenes in Riverside for what he said was a low-budget, sci-fi movie titled, "Invasion Iowa."

On Tuesday night, he invited residents to view scenes that he'd been directing in and around town for a week.

Shatner thanked some 800 people who turned out for the gathering and then revealed the filming had been for a new reality show on Spike TV about a small town playing host to a Hollywood film shoot. The show is set to debut next year.

"Everything in front of and behind the cameras was faked," Shatner said. "The only thing that was real is the love we have for Riverside."

Spike TV said in a statement Wednesday that a crew of producers, writers and actors had spent more than a year planning the "carefully crafted" hoax.

To soften the blow, Shatner announced that he and his co-producers were donating $100,000 to the city to be used for community projects. The cast and crew also passed the hat and collected $12,000 for the Riverside Elementary School Book Fund.

Mel Brooks to film musical 'Producers'


NEW YORK (AP) - Mel Brooks will shoot the film version of his hit Broadway musical "The Producers" at a new movie studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Brooks, a Brooklyn native, said new financial incentives and his love of New York helped persuade him to shoot at the recently opened Steiner Studios.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. George Pataki credited new state and local tax credit programs with attracting Brooks' film to New York.

"The Producers: The Movie Musical" will star Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell. The $45 million production will begin shooting in late February, Brooks said Tuesday at a press conference at Steiner Studios.

Lane and Broderick will repeat their roles as the rapscallion producer Max Bialystock and his nebbish accomplice Leopold Bloom.

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