“The whole Broadway experience was probably the greatest experience of my life.”


The Manager Extraordinaire Prepares to Take American Idiot--and Green Day--on the Road

by Simon Glickman

“We’re booked through 2014,” says über-manager Pat Magnarella.

In this instance he’s not referring to his clients Green Day, who themselves are looking at a pretty full dance card for the foreseeable future, what with setting up their album trilogy іUno!,іDos!andіTré! (to be released in Sept., Nov. and January, respectively) and the attendant worldwide tours, TV appearances and related promotional extravaganzas.

Nope, he’s referring to American Idiot, the Green Day-spawned Broadway musical, which spent a little over a year on the Great White Way; snagged some Tonys, a soundtrack Grammy, a N.Y. Times rave and assorted other laurels; and has commenced a road run that will be followed by a U.K. jaunt.

“The whole Broadway experience was probably the greatest experience of my life,” says Magnarella, whose other clients include Goo Goo Dolls and All American Rejects, among others. “And I know it was for [Green Day frontman] Billie [Joe Armstrong], too. Being able to be onstage and play Saint Jimmy and fall in love with the whole theater culture and cast...it was just magical. It’s indescribable how incredible it was.”

The show, Magnarella notes, reached audience members who would likely never have heard Green Day’s music any other way. “I’d bring my daughter to a Sunday matinee,” he relates, “and you’re sitting in front of eight 70-80-year-old couples. She’d say, ‘Dad, do they know what the show’s about?’ I said, ‘Well, we’ll find out!’ They loved it, though. One woman said, ‘That was unbelievable...and can you believe they have to do it again tonight!?’ Because it’s so physical. It’s 93 minutes straight through.”

He’s equally effusive about the show’s entire team, including director Michael Mayer and producers Ira Pittelman and Tom Hulce. (Of the show’s backing he’ll only say it had “all the major investors,” adding, “It seems like Broadway invests in Broadway.”) “The cast, makeup, wardrobe, set design...everything was perfect,” he gushes. Having just met the show’s new cast, he anticipates a phenomenal road tour. “The Broadway success just makes everything bigger than life,” he points out.

That includes Green Day’s approach to its new album trinity, which was clearly fired by the delirious energy of their Broadway adventure. “We just felt we had so much good music and were trying to find the best way to get it all out,” Magnarella recalls. “Billie called and said, ‘Let’s do three records,’ and I loved the idea.”

Even with Warner Bros Chairman Rob Cavallo having produced the project, this multi-release marathon was daunting, at first, to the label. “There was some silence on the other end of the phone,” the manager admits. “But once everyone got their head around it, they said it was a fantastic idea. Especially nowadays because there are no rules. Let’s go have some fun.”

“After all,” he adds, “what do fans want? They want new music and they want to see it live. So let’s go!”

The band took the rare step of playing a series of shows around the country to debut its new material before recording it, commandeering small venues (including a back room at 1-2-3-4 Go! Records in Oakland, where the band set up the stage and PA itself) and blowing away packed crowds of the faithful.

“Put ’em in a 100-seat rock club and they’ll play just as hard as they do at Wembley Stadium,” their manager asserts with pride. When Green Day finally began recording, Magnarella says, they were playing the material as well as they usually do by the end of a tour.

Speaking of touring, Magnarella admits that letting the records “breathe a bit” prior to hitting the road is a first for the band. “Usually we’ll put out a record and tour three weeks later,” he says. The іUno!іDos!іTré! tour is slated to kick off at the end of Nov., when the first two albums have been released. “People will have plenty of time to get familiar with the first two,” he offers, “and then we'll hit ’em with іTré!.”

The veteran manager allows that the choice of the poppy “Oh Love” was unconventional. “We have so many songs that picking a first single was hard,” he allows.“We could’ve picked five of ‘em off іUno!. There was no right or wrong choice; the vibe is different, for sure, but everybody felt it sounds amazing, awesome lick, great lyric. It’s atypical, but really typical for Green Day.” Then again, he adds, “There’s some crazy stuff on this record that I think will surprise people.”

Magnarella insists that the ability to get music out more or less instantaneously nowadays has changed the rules about everything, including singles strategy. He points to the release of another track, the raucous “Let Yourself Go,” the subject of a down-and-dirty live video hosted by Alternative Press. “With the amount of music the band has on the three records, to just put out a single and wait for radio to let us know if it’s gonna research just felt small,” he reasons.

Other tracks being floated in various places include “Kill the DJ” (with a video shot by “Smells Like Teen Spirit” director Sam Bayer, who also helmed the “Oh Love” clip), “Stay the Night” and possibly the trilogy’s punked-up opener, “Nuclear Family.”

“Setting up three records is a blast,” he declares. “I’ve never had so much fun. And Warners has been great, from the top down.”

But it’s clear that Magnarella has the theatrical bug, so we imagine he’s already dreaming up his next stage show. May we suggest the all-singing, all-dancing tale of a morally bankrupt music trade publication, We Can Get It for You Wholesale?

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