Wal-Mart’s 21st Century Breakdown

Green Day’s latest release – 21st Century Breakdown – has sold more than 215,000 copies less than one week after hitting stores, but you won’t find it at one of the biggest retail chains in the country. Seems Wal-Mart has a little problem with the words.

Photo: AP Photo
Green Day and Billie Joe Armstrong got the standing O, and a gramophone to boot at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

During a recent interview Green Day recently blasted the retailer for refusing to carry the CD unless the group provided an edited version with any objectionable lyrics and content removed.

“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,” said frontman Billie Joe Armstrong.

Although Wal-Mart carries CDs by bands and artists known to let loose with a few expletives, the company sells edited versions, and Armstrong claims there’s nothing on 21st Century Breakdown needing cutting.

“They want artists to censor their records in order to be carried in there,” he said. “We just said no. We’ve never done it before. You feel like you’re in 1953 or something.”

Photo: AP Photo
From left, Tre Cool, Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt pose at the Mercer Hotel in New York City.

Armstrong wasn’t the only band member to dump on Wal-Mart.

“As the biggest record store in the America, they should probably have an obligation to sell people the correct art,” guitarist Mike Dirnt said.

Green Day is the latest band complaining about Wal-Mart’s CD policy. In a message posted on the Nine Inch Nails Web site earlier this month, Trent Reznor recently took the retailer to task for refusing to carry an unedited Downward Spiral while stocking unedited copies of R-rated movies and violent video games.

“But you could literally turn around 180 degrees from where the NIN record would be and purchase the film “Scarface” completely uncensored, or buy a copy of ‘Grand Theft Auto’ where you can be rewarded for beating up prostitutes,” Reznor wrote. “How does that make sense?”

Photo: AP Photo / Citizens Voice
But Trent Reznor’s howl is still in full effect when Nine Inch Nails plays the Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

But Wal-Mart stood up to Green Day, thus protecting customers from anything that might ruin their already-nice day.

“As with all music, it is up to the artist or label to decide if they want to market different variations of an album to sell, including a version that would remove a PA rating,” Wal-Mart spokeswoman Melissa O’Brien said. “The label and artist in this case have decided not to do so, so we unfortunately can not offer the CD.”