Last night while performing at Oakland’s Oracle Arena, Green Day paid their respects to the 33 musicians, artists, and activists killed on December 2 in the Ghost Ship warehouse fire, one of the deadliest fires in the city’s history. Billie Joe Armstrong, who along with his bandmates came up in Oakland’s DIY punk scene in the late ’80s and early ’90s, commemorated those who died and shared his hope that the artistic community will soon be able to have affordable housing. “My heart just goes out to all the people who perished in that warehouse, because these are just people looking for themselves. They’re just trying to have a moment where they can all just celebrate just being artists and being weird and having fun,” Armstrong said. “We have to cherish all the freaks and the weirdos … people need a place. They didn’t go to art school. They got kicked out of their parents’ house. And they have nothing. But they find something in this sort of community, when they weren’t accepted before. So it’s really important that these people have an affordable place to live.” The band then dedicated “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” to those who died.
This past week, Armstrong also reminisced about his own experience coming up in Oakland’s underground scene in relation to communal spaces like Ghost Ship. “[W]e inspired each other, laughed together, and created new friends and family we didn’t know existed. The city of oakland provided that for me and my closest friends,” he wrote on Instagram. “This tragedy hits close to all of our hearts.”