‹ Prequel: Union


The Berlinicaust Video

Murray Bowles- an Oakland photographer and one whom is well known for his documentation of the Bay Area punk movement of the late eighties and early nineties. Including, many early Gilman photos of a little known band that was born Sweet Children and evolved into Green Day.

Although not generally hired for promotional photography, Green Day approached Murray with the intent of having him take some album art directorial photographs of a woman whom was very close to their band. Because of the album concept obviously being based on her and some major shit that went down in Germany; this was a time for Berlin and the woman behind The Green to shine.

The holidays slipped by quite quietly, while Tre's birthday was mainly an affair involving me, my bed and Rose.

On a brisk day in the early winter of 2014, Rose found herself accompanied by her husband and an aging Billie Joe to a complex in downtown Oakland called The Red Door Gallery.

A clock on the wall ticked rhytmically with every beat of the attractive woman's heart. She stood dormant and uneasy about what her elder cousin was asking her to do, all for the sake of an album's completeness.

"Just stand against the wall and pose. It's not a big deal, we used to do it all the fucking time," Billie Joe whined at a younger raven-haired Rose.

"But I feel weird. Everyone's gonna be lookin' at me." Rose whined in a similar tone to Billie. "Not that there's anything wrong with that," she added.

"Ack, stop bickering you two," Tre huffed as he firmly placed his hands on both of the cousin's shoulders.

"Tre, tell her it'll be fine," Billie begged so that they could hear the end of it.

"Frank, you don't need to tell me it'll be fine, I already know that. But what if some old pervert looks at my picture and-."

"Okay Rose! Rose! That's not going to happen, I promise you," Billie Joe piped in again. "That so won't happen. For one thing, old perverts don't listen to our music. They look at my butt. We'll make sure it goes on the last page of the booklet too."

"So long as they're looking at your butt and not mine," Rose laughed as she turned back to an aged Murray Bowles and posed with a daring and dangerous expression; her face
adorned in the darkest black make-up available and her clothing a perfect match.

"Perfect, punk princess. That's just great," Murray smiled as he continued taking photographs.

"Punk princess?" Rose giggled.

"I say these things to people..." Murray said.

"I'm not related to Armstrong," Rose huffed with a smile.

"Sure you're not...and what's with your obsession with calling me 'Armstrong'?"

"I'm just cool like that."

"Ich bildete ihren kühlen, Billie," Tre said out of nowhere.

"Whoa, what the fuck did you just say?" Billie Joe cross-examined, his eyes wide like saucers.

"Frank, war ich kühler, bevor ich dich traf," Rose replied her husband, waiting for a reaction from both him and Billie Joe.

"Okay?" Billie Joe squeaked out.

"Hey, if you're gonna go back to a country you're unwelcome in Billie, you should at least know some of the language," Tre said to Billie knowledgibly. "Oh, and by the way Rose. I am so much cooler than your ass anyday. So whether I made you cool or not, I'm still that much cooler than you."

"When did you guys learn...German is it?" Billie inquired.

"For me, it was an extra thing I took while I was at North Kern," Tre said. "I told Rose I was learning and doing good. So she told me she would too so that I could never talk about her behind her back."

Rose's lips seeped with a mischievous smile. "Frank, you little weibchen."

"Say what, yo?"


* * *

The midst of February showed to be a more paceful time in the lives of the punk-rock trio. Their album went to press and they were just now beginning to discuss tour and staging effects.

Considering this to be no better than their Warning Tour twelve years prior, Green Day had dampened spirits and little hope for the future. It all really came back to Germany '08. The respect from the fans had dwindled away and only few still existed that half understood what was going through the mind of the band's frontman at the time the Berlin incident occured. This was to be the scariest release the band ever put out there; it was one that would beg the respect back with apology.

As Billie Joe had stress on his plate and was near ready to have a complete and utter breakdown, the currents of wind floating on the air seemed to be heavy and dark just like his broken heart. For six years Berlin had rested in his mind like a demon unwilling to let up and be merciful to his wielding emotions; now it seemed time to face the music.

With the first date of their tour beginning in Vancouver, Canada on the 21st of May, Billie was beginning to feel forced into making amends with his wife whom he had been on shakey grounds with for the past six months. An understanding was going to have to be reached if the couple could get along and both be there as parents to their two pre-adulthood children: Joey and Jakob.

When the 17th of February rolled around nine tense days before the release of Germanic Roses, Mike offered to take Billie out on the town, knowing the delicacy of his marriage. The green-eyed guitarist disgruntledly complied to the invitation.

When the night of Billie's forty-second birthday arrived, Mike pulled up ouside his friend's villa in a swanky silver Porsche. Wearing plaid golfing pants and a Ralph Lauren Polo Tee covered with an Adeline sweater; his brown rooted hair was gelled back suavly and covered by a black newsboy cap. Sauntering up the front steps and tripping in the process, the tall man tried the doorhandle on the front door before even considering the doorbell. To his dismay, it was locked and it left him standing outside on a cool evening waiting for an answer from whomever may have been in the house.

"Come on Bill. It's cold!" the bassist exclaimed as he wrapped his arms around himself and shivered with goosebumps. Removing one hand from being tucked under the opposite arm, Mike rang the doorbell once again, frantically.

Half a minute later the large oak door to Billie Joe's hilltop manor opened and in the doorway hidden behind a screen was a small green-eyed woman with pale skin.

"Oh..." the musician gasped quietly at the site of this beautiful woman standing before him. As if upholding a tradition from the 1940's and all the way back to when knights would remove their helmets for majestic noble ladies; Mike Dirnt removed his hat and held it to his side.

"Hi Mike," came the voice of a stunned sounding Rose as she opened the screen door dividing her and the tall man.

"I had no idea you were here," Mike said.

"Yeah, I've been here all afternoon. Billie invited me over this morning. His sister Hollie and his brother David were here earlier as well," Rose explained as she stood in the doorway, completely forgetting she was blocking a freezing man from getting into a warm house.

"That's cool. Umm...say...do you think I could come in?" Mike laughed light-heartedly.

"Oh God, yeah." Rose laughed as she stepped out of the doorway and let Mike pass her, "I'm so sorry. That wasn't very nice of-." The tiny woman cut herself off in mid-sentence when the smell of Mike's cologne wafted up into her nostrils.

"Hmm?" Mike questioned as he turned around to take his jacket off.

"Umm...what?" Rose said as she shook her head and came back to her senses. "Oh yeah, come in and make yourself warm. Billie! Mike's here!"

"Hey, I could have done that," Mike laughed.

"I know you could have." Rose smiled and bowed her head for a brief moment. Looking back up through thick black lashes she eyed Mike trying to remove his jacket. "Oh, can I take your coat?" she offered as she approached him and began to pull at its long black sleeves.

"No, that's not necessary."

"Are you sure? 'Cause I can do it," Rose insisted politely and she practically began to force it away from the well-dressed man. "Here, I can take it..."

"Rose..." Mike laughed, "it's okay, really." Rose continued to pull at Mike's coat and in Mike's haste to try and remove his long muscular arms from its sleeves he found himself turning from front to back. Finally removing one arm with her remote assistance, the bassist unintentionally bumped the young woman back. In tow, Rose held onto his empty sleeve for dear life and fell to the foyer floor in a very gentle and harmless manner. That was until gravity took Mr. Dirnt down as well and he fell on top of her in a very archaic and awkward tangle up.

Rose gasped as the bassist caught himself on his knees and both his palms sat flat against the floor on either sides of her shoulders and his legs on either sides of her hips. Both their eyes were wide and their demeanors, shocked. Rose bit her bottom lip as she stared Mike in those blue eyes that were so deep they could best where Titanic sits on the ocean floor today. Mike swallowed back a lump in his throat and let a warm breath wash over her cheek as he looked down into those green eyes that were equally deep and rich with colour.

The seriously awkward moment between the two finished when Mike slowly began to stand up; first on one leg as though kneeling and then on both legs. He was slow, showing the fact he wasn't twenty anymore. Rose sat up on the foyer floor and looked up at the bassist, once again through her thick black lashes. Adverting her gaze, she eyed a brawnier man enter the room and she quickly began to stand up.

"Hey Mike," Tre's nasally sounding voice echoed in the near-empty room front hall.

"Hey," Mike replied as he looked at Tre and then at his wife whom now stood up with a slightly ruffled dress.

"What were you doing on the floor, honey?" Tre asked his wife as he placed his hand on her side territorily and kissed her cheek with trust.

Rose began to laugh nervously with humility. "Hah! I tripped!" She continued to laugh and held up her arms in a my bad gesture.

"Oh, are you okay?" Tre asked with concern.

"Yeah," she squeeked as her laughs died down, "of course I am."

"That's good," the drummer replied as he gave her another soft kiss, this time to the lips.

"Mmhmm," she muttered as Mike stood there in front of the two of them and watched as though it were a soap opera.

Pulling away from his wife, Tre looked at Mike and examined his clothing for a brief moment. "What happened to your coat, Mike?"

Looking down upon his clothing, Mike discovered his Adeline jacket still hanging off his right arm. "Oh. I was just taking it off..." Mike insisted and this time actually took it off. "So is the birthday boy having a good day so far?"

"Yeah, he's aight, yo," Tre replied in faux gangsta lingo.

"That's good," Mike nodded and he threw his jacket on top of a shoe rack sitting by the front door.

"Mike, do you mind if I speak to my wife alone for a moment?" Tre asked as he shot his blue eyes back at Rose whilst placing a hand on her waist territorily.

Rose swallowed back a lump in her throat and nodded her head subtly. Mike complied kicking his shoed feet across the tiled floor slowly. Tre's hand gracefully fell from Rose's hip before Mike disappeared into the living room.

Tre looked at his wife once his friend had disappeared from the foyer.


"Everything okay?"

"What are you talking about?" Rose stuttered and then bit into her tongue almost hard enough to draw blood.

"Don't mind that," Tre said quickly.

"Honey, what are you talking about?" Rose asked and stopped to bite into her tongue once again.

Placing his hand on Rose's shoulder the short drummer took a sigh to release pent energy. His aggitation showed by how tightly he grasped her. "I can't do this..." Tre sighed. Removing his hand from her shoulder quickly thereafter he began to exit the room following in the footsteps of Mike.

"What the hell?" Rose sighed as he released her.

"I'm not even going to discuss this with you, Rose. I mean, it's hard. I'm just going to be subdued and put my foot down, right now. You know what I'm talking about. I know you're not stupid. Something is extremely different and I'm going to mention this to that sexy little man who calls himself our frontman too," Tre said, stopping and turning around.

"Ew, Billie's not sexy," Rose grimaced.

"That's not the point. I intend to get to the bottom of whatever the hell is going on here. 'Cause everyone's just acts so completely different from a few years ago. Like what the fuck happened to American Idiot Mike and Billie? Those guys were happy ass fuckers. Now every time I come around, Mike looks all freaked out. Is it because I'm an ex-convict now?"

"No, of course not Tre," Rose said, shaking her head. "I mean, Frank."

Tre paused for a moment at his wife's slip up. It wasn't like her to accidently call him Tre. "Our album's really taken a beating from this though. You're always like 'where's Mike' and all exasperated," Tre said. "And Billie's writing songs about dieing on the floor and being shot like John Lennon. Like, does he want to die? 'Cause this project has scared the shit out of me to be honest with you. I feel haunted..."

"I can't explain anything to you, Frank...I can't," Rose said, fighting back tears. "Billie's going out tonight...without us. It'll do him good. He and Mike have some stuff they have to sort through before we go on tour. And let me ask you a question."


"What happened to American Idiot, Tre Cool? What happened to the man I married?"

Tre swallowed back a lump in his throat and slowly began to walk toward his wife again. The look in his eyes was serious and welling with emotion, he just had to let it go. The truth of his behavior had to do with life in prison. It was very hard on him and it definitely had changed him as a person.

"See, that's what I mean. 'Billie and Mike have some stuff they have to sort through before we go on tour.' Like...what the hell does that even mean!" Tre said with a raised voice, ignoring his wife's question. "Last year Billie treated Mike like he was a worthless piece of fucking garbage, Rose. And there again, I knew nothing. I mean, that's fine, don't feel a need to explain anything to me..."

"Frank, you're yelling at me," Rose said.

"No I'm not! I already know you're not going to give me a straight answer, it's obvious. But if Billie doesn't give me a straight answer soon either, than I guess we'll just wait for tour. Then we'll see what this is really all about..."

* * *

Billie was a quiet little man lately. His thoughts were mostly just on preparing himself for the spotlight again. A place he hadn't ventured into in half a decade. The only peep from his mouth seemed to be harmony nowadays and he quite often frequented the gym wherever he was. In hotels or the elliptical trainer at home. His weight and age was dogging him down lately and his mental stability was questionable as he tried desperately to relieve himself of stress with whatever means he could. Smoking, exercising and the often thought about but never acted on, booze and drugs.

When Germanic Roses was released on February 26th, 2014 everything became chaotic. Ye olde tour busses came out of storage and were taken into the shop to be restored and updated to the day's standards.


Green Day was away from home quite a bit during this time, doing local press in Hollywood and Los Angeles and filming the video for their first single off of Germanic Roses, entitled 'Berlincaust.' The girls had been left behind at home with the kids, assuming the responsibilities of housewives.

Rose was readying herself for her second journey around the globe. They'd be making stops on six continents and revisiting cities they hadn't set foot in in near six years. Cities they were unwelcome in. Rose recalled Berlin and how upsetting it had been to Billie that his own actions had caused the deaths of twelve teenagers whom were just average kids like he had once been. Messed up kids like she had been. Rose thought of visiting Frankfurt, the birthplace of her husband. Although she thought re-entering a country her husband's band had essentially been banned from was to be very stressful on Billie and everyone else. She knew it would be.

The fans did not seem to cross Rose's mind very frequently lately. She had it set that half of them were pissed at Green Day anyways. After all, how could they not be? This was death they were talking about. Not just a few kids with broken arms and legs. Rose tried not to let things faze her mind lately but it seemed hard not to when Germanic Roses skyrocketed up the charts in the first week of its release.

The guys hadn't been home in over month and Rose felt as lonely as she did when Tre had been locked away in that thing they call a correctional facility. Agitation was beginning to ensue her as she tried to remain calm and stable for her daughter who seemed to think her father had left her and was never going to come back again.

The bed seemed her favourite place to sit. When she woke in the mornings, her daughter would come in and she'd get up long enough to make her breakfast and then return to her room and watch TV. It seemed like the perfect subconscious background noise just to help her think. Think of her husband. He wasn't mad at her, she knew. He was just extremely confused and when he would ever know why he felt that way, Rose didn't know.

In the late but warm March, when her husband had been away for far too long, Rose lingered on her bed buried in the duvét. This was the life she had chosen. It wasn't so bad, she thought. It was only missing her husband when he was away that made it so difficult. And her jealousy. When he wasn't there with her and their daughter her mind was a wreck and nothing could make the feeling go away.

Rose looked out the window at a downpour clinking heavily against the window panes. She watched a steady waterfall coming down from the high rooftop gutters and land and flood the gardens below. It made her grin. Perhaps the weather was giving her this onslaught of depression, she thought. As she sat up the television continued echoing throughout the room. The remote sat on the pillow at the top of the bed, right where Tre's head impression was still dented in to the material. She hadn't tampered with it at all. It was her way of pretending she still shared the bed with him every night.

Extending her arm out to grab the remote, she switched to MTV2 as a program was just ending and the channel's logo flashed across the screen. Her eyes fixated on the screen but her mind didn't really seem to be consciously paying attention. It was only that voice that she knew so well that rang in her ears and drew her alertness.

'Children of Germany, you died for our sins...'

Rose's mouth dropped to the floor as she stared at Billie's laugh line-aged face taking up the entirety of her 50" television screen. His face that told a thousand stories, even the tragedy of her youth. It was him. He had said it.

In the next instance, a train drove pass the screen and Billie Joe vanished into nothingness. The camera began to shake as the tracks panged and then a zoomed out view showed the steamer trek off into a field and disappear after Billie. Like ghosts. It was a very awing and haunting thing to see for the first time, Rose had been expecting it though. It just seemed to hit closer to home than she thought it would, for she began to weep. The most beautiful instrumentation started in, afterwards cutting to a close up shot of Tre Cool and zooming out to reveal him laying down in the grass with random roses growing about him. He looked so peaceful and mature. And for once no part of him showed goofiness or immaturity. He was a man, the inner child was still within him, but this was his other side. This was the side only Rose and immediate family got to see and he was finally going to allow the world to see.

Rose smiled as the tears continued to freely roll down her cheeks and her daughter entered the room. She gestured to her and in moments Michelle sat comfortably with her mother's arms wrapped tightly around her. This wasn't Warning, she thought. This was a niche. A Dookie niche. An American Idiot niche. This was truly something spectacular and marvel. Her arms closed in even tighter around her daughter's belly as she held back her tears now.

"That's daddy, sweetie," Rose said as she eyed her husband mouth something to the camera. She knew what it was. It was unmistakably his words of love for her. She just knew. There was no question.

"That' daddy?" Michelle said.

"Mhmm," Rose murmured, holding back her tears and smiling. She mouthed back to the screen 'I love you.'

Mike's face was next to take the screen, but he didn't seem to make his quite as visible as Billie or Tre's had been. He had his turned to the side and down quite a bit. It was like blatant shame shining through. Rose bit her bottom lip and shook her head. She loved that man, there was no denying it. His sadness made her sad and whenever she witnessed him cry she could not help but cry. This also was like the dawn of a new public Mike Dirnt. One who had emotions other than being the macho bassist and obviously fearing what people thought of him. A tear streamed down his face and only then did he turn to look at the camera. Mike vanished.

Rose began to cry with even more emotion.

Billie Joe reappeared on the screen, only this time in his hand he picked a rose from that field where Tre had been laying and quickly dropped it. It showed him jump as though reacting to pain and then cut to show his hand had been punctured by rose thorns. He bled and like Mike he began to cry. Only he cried the darkest of tears. Blood tears, red as the nile. He wiped his face with that same hand and the blood smeered across his cheeks making him look like a native before battle.

Rose got the metaphor in what her elder cousin was trying to do. He was simply trying to show how much Germany had hurt him and destroyed him as a person. And as Rose thought, perhaps it had a double meaning that even she was blind to. And the train, it was obviously symbolic of his youth and perhaps an aspect of the lost youths of Berlin.

Billie sang. The video was so graphic that Rose had to send Michelle away. She watched as Billie fell on the ground amongst the roses before they turned to compact sticks of cocaine.

It was the most awesome and emotional video Rose had ever seen Green Day release, and to think on the phone her husband had downplayed its greatness. He seemed to do that nowadays. Always humble about anything he did.

Billie began ripping the cocaine out of the ground and it would flash back to show they were roses again. It was to insinuate he imagined or hullicinated it was cocaine but it really only was flowers. And in his desperation to obtain it his hands were sliced to shreds by the thorns, making his hands rain like Oakland was as Rose sat there on her bed alone in the master bedroom.

Her husband took the screen again, his blue eyes seemed to move back and forth unsteadily and he too began to cry. He mouthed the words Billie sang.

Children you're not forever lost. We're to blame for Berlinicaust.

Those words would be serenity to the victims' familes. Rose smiled as she stood up off the bed and her husband held his hand up to the screen. His too had apparently been punctured by thorns, but Rose could do nothing but feel at peace, knowing each member of Green Day had done the same. She placed her hand on the television screen. On her husband's hand, she closed her eyes, just feeling and absorbing his love.

"I don't blame you..." she cried.