“Wake me up, when September ends.”
September has ended and Eminent has come in full swing this year, even more then it has previously, like a wrecking ball into a house when there’s still a person left in it. That person would be me respectively. I hadn’t really fully recovered from Night of the Notables last year, hungover on its highs and its lows. My mind still stuck on that 6 minute speech I gave in front of my peers. The memories are still fresh, which is strange because I usually don’t remember anything from school projects, maybe even less often then the meals I have prior. However, for the first time in my life, I felt prepared, and I did prepare somehow for the coming of the studies this year. I chose my person beforehand, did my research, wrote some speech drafts, and even came up with a ambitious plan for my learning center. However I was still struck hard by this wrecking ball, and the weeks have just flown by like seagulls heading the opposite way of the yacht leading me into a month of late nights in front of Wikipedia, an unsafe amount of espresso, and hot-pocket dinners.
I guess that’s one relation I have to my Eminent person this year, sharing the wonders of motivated projects and stimulants, though coffee is quite a ways away from what Billie Joe Armstrong used to write highly acclaimed albums such as “Dookie”, the third record by Green Day, the punk rock band that fought the political structure of the 90’s to 2000’s and rebelled through times of uniformity and order. Reasons such as this, as well as Billie Joe’s unquestioned influence on punk culture and teenage rebellions across America, along with his creativity and fearless style, are why I find him Eminent, and why I will be studying and becoming him for this year.
Billie Joe Armstrong was given his name at birth and unlike many rock icons did not change it whatsoever throughout this career, most likely because it is unique and distinct, just like his personality and his music. Born on February 17th of 1972 in the small town of Rodeo California, Billie did not fall into a rich and less than perfect environment to grow in. However, he still developed and matured through the years to create everlasting tunes and anthems. Billie showed an early sign of interest and skill in music and was able to be taught and nurtured by both his parents, who we’re musicians. “Look for love” was the first song that Billie ever recorded and he did so when he was 5. Not long into his youth he would meet friend and life long band-mate, friend, and colleague. His father died when he was only 10, thought that only gave him the drive to work harder and also inspired few of his songs.
Throughout his early career, he thrived in his hometown of Rodeo, playing at local shows and events. He also recorded the first two albums with Lookout! Records. However, as Billie Joe’s music progressed and gained popularity, he was no longer confined to limitations that a small town music record company and stage can provide him with. So, with the third album by Green Day, “Dookie” released, the three piece punk rock band were shot skyward to mainstream media and popularity. With this new-found influence, Billie Joe went on to write songs that became anthems and a critical part of culture during the late 90’s and early 2000’s. One key part of Billie Joe’s performance that made Green Day’s music so sought after was his unique vocals, contradicting and politically defying lyrics, and his one of a kind stage presence. Billie Joe’s music helped shape and influence the 21st century, though he was also affected by music from his age of “Punk Rock”, the early 70’s, such as the Ramones, and this added to his creative and timeless songs. Armstrong would continue to create albums and the year go on and released some of today’s more well known songs such as “21 Guns” and “Wake Me Up When September Ends” (as quoted in the title). These songs reflected his personal life but also told stories of the world and events around him. In addition, the infamous “American Idiot” album challenged political structure and conformity, and fueled the teenage rebel age of the beginning of the 21st century. The album is so favored that it has been adapted into a musical production as well.
Even though it can be argued that the influence that Billie Joe Armstrong imparts on the adolescent population and the world is negative and should not be advertised, I would suggest otherwise. There are parts of Armstrong’s life that do fall dangerously close to the wrong side of the law, though his music can give us a sense of playful immaturity that shows another view on the world, but can also touch the emotions of listeners. I believe that his power to connect to audiences is quite eminent as it is, however his influence in his music shows confidence. There are many songs that display the courage that Armstrong has to defy normality and the boundaries of social acceptance, and also to challenge himself in his own songwriting, creating material out of his labelled genre and rejecting the control of higher corporate control. Thus, I believe the many works of Billie Joe Armstrong along with his spirited, wild personality contain valuable lessons and knowledge to be learned, which is why I find him eminent.
Looking at my eminent person, I can see a number of similarities that I can relate to, though I hope to find even more through extensive research later in the project. One similarity I find similar, that came as no surprise, is our interest in music. Like Billie Joe, I started learning music quite early and have a passion to continue on my learning. In addition, I noticed that we have some similar characteristic and an alike personality. I wouldn’t go as far as to say we are identical, for I am far being him, though I do have a short attention spam, a unique look on the world (or so I believe it to be), and a sense that I never want to grow up, identical to Billie Joe as he mentioned in interview.
Lastly, being my second year working on the Eminent project and having more experience with the structure, there are some goals and intentions for the results I would like to achieve through the project and my view of the outcome. An improvement that I will strive to make this year is to be more organized and plan ahead to avoid late nights. Also to have quality work produced in a reasonable time-frame that wont destroy me as I do it. Otherwise, I hope to obtain through practice and peer support, more confidence in public speaking for the grand 2 minute presentations that I will be giving on the night. Lastly and personally, I hope to create a spectacle of a learning center, to be able to show off all my learning and my passion for my person.
I hope I’m not dreaming to far out.