On March 14, 2013, Rolling Stone published the one and only interview Billie Joe did about his addiction and new sobriety. He went into detail about everything, but he also confirmed that he was still writing music:
David Fricke: Have you started writing songs again?
Billie Joe Armstrong: I write guitar riffs. I’ll come up with melodies in my head and write ’em down in here [picks up his iPhone] and keep a little log going. Let’s see… [He punches his iPhone screen. A scrappy acoustic-guitar riff comes out of the tiny speaker.] Stuff like that. I always write lyrics.
DF: Can you tell a difference in what you’re writing, because of your recent experience? Is there a “rehab” album in the works?
BJA: It’s too early. I feel I have to wait this one out. I don’t want to jump in and get myself overwhelmed.
I can only take it one song at a time. I just want to write good songs that people will love, which is a tough thing to do. It would be great to do another rock opera, but using more lo-fi technology. I love shitty-sounding records [grins]. I’d love to do more stuff with Green Day that is 100 percent live. Sometimes I wish we would have recorded our last records that way – that ‘Exile on Main Street’ feel, where you just get some good tones and go.
One thing I can’t do is anything half-assed. I want to make sure everything is right, that the song is fully realized. I think of the first Ramones album and the first Clash album – those songs are fully realized, well played. You can almost hear them doing it in a practice room. You can tell how time goes on, when you fast-forward to [the Clash’s] ‘Sandinista!’ You know all that stuff was done in the studio.
DF: Actually, the first Clash album was produced by their live-sound engineer.
BJA: Yeah! It’s a brilliant record. I want to make sure that while we’re evolving, we still sound like a unit.
On April 24, 2015, Green Day’s longtime producer Rob Cavallo gave Kerrang on update on new Green Day music. At that point, Billie Joe had at least five great songs ready! As Rob said,
I recently heard five new songs that Billie has written and demoed. Let me tell you, they were just fantastic. He is absolutely at the top of his game. Fans can be sure that when they do return, the music will be amazing.
A week later, Rolling Stone caught up with Billie Joe and asked him to give more detail on the new songs. Billie Joe explained,
I’ve got, like, four or five songs right now. I’m gonna take it really slow. I’m just gonna make sure every moment is inspired and that we have something that’s really special to us. And right now with the songs that we have, it’s going in the right direction.
However, Billie wasn’t sure if an album would be ready in 2016. Instead, he wants to take his time:
I mean, we’re going to take our time. We’re not going to try and pull off some, like, victory lap over this because I definitely want the music to come from a real place and be inspired, not just because we got honored or anything like that, but because we’re honoring music. We want to work on them, and we want to make a great album.
Between 2013 and 2015, the members of Green Day - particularly Billie Joe - explored other styles of music. Billie went in a folk direction when he teamed up with Norah Jones to record an album of Everly Brothers covers late in 2013. He also tried out comedy rap ("I Run NY" with the Lonely Island, 2013), EDM and house ("No Pleasing A Woman" with Avicii, 2014), and Beatles-inspired pop rock (songs for the musical, These Paper Bullets, 2014). Billie has also written songs for the new film Geezer, and premiered two of them live on April 23, 2016. "Devil's Kind" is a high-speed punk rock song that could have fit on Foxboro Hot Tub's Stop Drop And Roll!!! or Green Day's own ¡Dos!, while "Ordinary Day" is a soft acoustic ballad.
It is unclear if any of this music is indicative of the direction Green Day is going on their new album, but it is safe to presume the band is not afraid to stop outside the box and try new styles and themes this time around.