Armatage Shanks

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"Armatage shanks was first recorded at the BBC in 1994. We were doing a BBC session and I went to the bathroom and noticed the toilet brand.[1]"
Billie Joe Armstrong

Armatage Shanks
Song length: 2:17
Album: Insomniac (1995)
Next song: "Brat"

Armatage Shanks is the opening song on Green Day's fourth album; Insomniac. They came up with the name when they saw it written on a bathroom during their first UK tour. It's the name of a British toilet company and they decided to name a song after it, possibly as a reference of the "life going down the drain" mentality they had back then.

Song meaning[edit]

Armstrong said this about Armatage Shanks: "When I wrote that song it was right before Dookie came out, and I was really at odds with myself. I was like, man, do I really want to do this? A lot of the time I was thinking about suicide, how it's so easy to kill yourself, but so hard to stay alive. I was in a break-up with my then-girlfriend, a total, raving punk rocker who didn't approve of me being on a major label. She moved down to Ecuador, saying she couldn't live in a world with McDonald's and such. It was fucking me up pretty bad"

This song is about insecurity, panic and doubt. At the end of the song, the lyrics have changed from “catastrophic” to “claustrophobic”. He’s no longer neurotic but aware that his world view is narrow, he’s having a hard time getting out of his head and participating in society.


Main article: Armatage Shanks/lyrics