Green Day has come into conflict with the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart, over the content of their new album, 21st Century Breakdown. The superstore chain refused to stock the CD because they wanted a version of the album edited for language and content and the band refused.
Billie Joe Armstrong responded:
Wal-Mart's become the biggest retail outlet in the country, but they won't carry our record because they wanted us to censor it. There's nothing dirty about our record. They want artists to censor their records in order to be carried in there. We just said no. We've never done it before. You feel like you're in 1953 or something.
If you think about bands that are struggling or smaller than Green Day … to think that to get your record out in places like that, but they won't carry it because of the content and you have to censor yourself. what does that say to a young kid who's trying to speak his mind making a record for the first time? It's like a game that you have to play. You have to refuse to play it.
Wal-Mart said that it's the company's long-standing policy not to stock any CD with a parental advisory sticker. While Armstrong, Dirnt and drummer Tre Cool are still top-sellers without Wal-Mart, Armstrong said the store's policy is disappointing, considering it has become the dominant seller of CDs with the decline of traditional music stores.