They noticed each other immediately.
It was late spring 2004 and Billie was in L.A. working on Green Day’s next album. He had heard the Skulls were in town and went to see them perform at a local bar. His attention immediately went to their guitarist. He was fantastic. He played great, was charismatic, and had terrific stage presence, making himself known yet not overshadowing the frontman.
And he was hot.
Billie felt a smile creep over his face.
Kevin had been in the Skulls but left to form his own band. He still occasionally played with them while they tried to find a replacement. That night, soon after they went on, he started to scan the audience, and his eyes landed on a familiar face.
Wait… that couldn’t be… Why would he be here in a dive bar watching us? Kevin thought. Kevin had been a Green Day fan since he was a kid.
Billie looked different than he had in previous years. He was wearing black jeans with a studded belt and a properly fitted t-shirt. His black hair was styled well and his green eyes were highlighted by thick black eyeliner.
He was hot.
When Kevin’s eyes landed on him, he saw Billie start to smile. Kevin smiled and offered a slight nod back.
At times throughout the night when Kevin looked at him, he was speaking with the guys at his table, but most of the time was looking back at him. Kevin wondered what he was thinking.
After the show, Kevin was talking with friends when Billy Bones, the Skulls frontman, waved him over.
“Kevin, I want to introduce you to an admirer,” he called out.
“Kevin Preston, Billie Joe Armstrong,” Billy Bones introduced them as they smiled and shook hands.
“Hey man, I was just telling Billy how great you were up there. We should do something together someday. Maybe I should start another band with you,” Billie said.
Kevin laughed internally at the thought of him playing with anyone as big as Billie. His mind also went to a different meaning of “do something together”.
“Thanks a lot. I’ve been a big fan of yours for years,” Kevin replied with a smile.
They continued on with the small talk for a few more minutes, talking about bands they both liked, Billie briefly mentioning why he was in L.A., etc. Then Billie asked, “So what are you doing tomorrow night?”
“Oh, playing here again,” Kevin answered, gesturing to the stage.
“I didn’t know the Skulls were playing again,” Billie said, surprised.
“Oh, no. I meant with my band,” Kevin replied.
Billie smiled. “Oh, you’re in another band? What that story?”
“Yeah, Prima Donna. I write, play guitar, and sing. We’ve got an ep coming out this year and are working on an album, hopefully for next year. It’s me and a few other guys, some of whom I’ve been friends with since we’ve been kids,” Kevin informed him.
“Sounds familiar,” Billie smiled. “Maybe I’ll come see you guys play some time.”
They spoke for a few more minutes and then said their goodbyes for the night.
The next night, Kevin was surprised to see Billie in the audience again. Billie was again impressed by him. He had seen that he was a great sideman the night before, but now saw that he also made a great frontman too. His singing, playing, and stage persona were great. He exuded confidence and sex appeal.
Kevin found Billie after their set was done.
“Hey! Surprised to see you here,” he said, as Billie gave him a hug.
“Yeah, we finished early in the studio today, so I decided to come check you out. I was interested in seeing another side of you,” Billie said with a smile.
Kevin blushed, flattered, while again thinking about another meaning for those words. “And?”
“You were even better than last night. I’m really impressed,” Billie told him.
Kevin blushed again, and smiled at the thought of someone as successful as Billie being impressed with him.
The other members of Prima Donna came over and Kevin introduced them to Billie.
“So what are you doing with the rest of your night?” Billie asked.
“I was just planning on hanging out here,” Kevin replied.
“I’m meeting up with some friends at a club near here. Why don’t you guys come with?” Billie said.
Kevin was blown away by how welcoming and friendly Billie was.
“I’d like to, but I don’t know if I’d get in. I’m 20,” Kevin said.
“You’re with me, you’ll get in,” Billie assured him with a smile.
Kevin smiled, and nodded as he again thought about what else those words could mean. Why did his mind keep going here when it came to Billie?
Several Prima Donna members and Billie took a cab to the club he was talking about. Billie introduced them to the friends he was meeting up with (all music types, techs, engineers, and the like). Billie told them to keep Prima Donna on their radar and headed off to get a drink.
Kevin mingled with everyone throughout the night while keeping a close eye on Billie. He felt his heart skip a beat when Billie met his gaze and winked at him from across the room.
What was this? He’d never reacted to any other celebrity this way. Then again, no one like Billie had ever paid him this kind of attention. What was going on in Billie’s mind? What was going on in his own mind?
These were the thoughts going through Kevin’s head when Billie made his way over to him and reached his hand out.
“Wanna dance?” he asked with a sly smile.
Kevin laughed, unsure if he was being serious. He took Billie’s hand when Billie nodded to show he wasn’t kidding.
They made their way out to the dance floor where Billie put his arms around Kevin and smiled. Kevin looked around nervously, but no one was paying attention to them. He started to relax and focus all his energy on Billie and let everything else fall away.
“So have you been having fun tonight?” Billie asked him.
“Yeah, it’s been great meeting everyone and finding out about their experiences in the business,” Kevin replied.
They chatted a bit more and Kevin’s heart started to race as he felt Billie’s hands start to slide down his back. Kevin could feel himself starting to harden as they both looked into each other’s eyes and smiled. Kevin reached for Billie’s hips and started to pull him closer.
Just then, the song ended and they regretfully separated.
“Thanks for the dance,” Billie smiled. “I’m getting another drink. Want one?”
“Yeah, sure,” Kevin replied.
Kevin headed back to their table and chatted up one of their techs. Billie brought him his beer and they all spent the rest of the night talking shop. Billie told him about the album they were working on. It was going to be a personal/political/no holds barred/no rules album like nothing they had ever done before. Kevin thought it sounded great.
“So what are you doing tomorrow night?” Billie asked him.
“Nothing planned,” Kevin responded.
“We’re doing one last bash at a friend’s house before we head back up to Oakland. Wanna come?” Billie asked him.
“Sure,” Kevin replied, flattered that he seemed to be becoming a regular part of the gang. Billie gave him the details before hopping into a cab. “See you tomorrow night.”
The next night, Kevin showed up at the address that Billie had given him. He was surprised when Billie answered the door.
“Hey! You’re the first one here. The guy who owns this place went out to get some more refreshments. Come on in,” Billie said as he stepped aside to let Kevin in.
Billie led Kevin to the kitchen where they sat down and started chatting.
“So how come you changed your look?” Kevin asked as he took a sip from a bottle of water.
“I felt it was time to look like an adult. You know, more put together, for the next chapter of my life,” Billie replied.
“What inspired the eyeliner?” Kevin asked.
Billie smiled. “I’ve always liked the way it looked. I’ve worn it sometimes in the past. I used to use it as a way to get to know people that I had a crush on. You know, ask someone if they have any eyeliner and take it from there kind of thing. Do you like it?” Billie asked.
“Yeah, I do. It really brings out the green in your eyes,” Kevin said with a smile as he studied Billie’s face.
With that, Billie whipped out a pencil, leaned over Kevin, and started applying eyeliner on him.
Kevin fought back a smile as he watched Billie’s eyes inches from his and felt his breath on his face. He felt a tingle as Billie brushed his hair back.
Seriously, what was this? He’d watched Green Day before but had never had this kind of reaction when watching Billie.
“There. What do you think?” Billie asked as he led Kevin in front of a mirror.
Kevin smiled. “I like it. Who knows, this look could catch on,” Kevin replied, as he turned to face Billie.
“You look hot,” Billie smiled as he lifted his hand to wipe a smudge off Kevin’s cheek.
Kevin smiled as he started to raise his hand to put it on top of Billie’s. He wanted to kiss him, but would that be inappropriate? Was he reading the situation correctly?
Just then, the doorbell rang. The party was starting.
People started trickling in, including people Kevin had been introduced to the night before. Billie introduced him to the rest, including the other members of Green Day. Billie and Kevin started mingling separately, but would catch each other glancing over throughout the night.
As the night went on, Kevin moved through the different rooms of the house, a different activity going on in each.
A video game competition in the living room.
A poker game in the kitchen.
A movie playing in the tv room.
At long last, he came to the room Billie was in.
Spin the bottle? What were they, 12?
He walked in just as Tre was finishing making out with one of the girls he had brought.
“Hey! You’re just in time. Have a seat,” Tre said, patting a spot on the floor next to him.
Kevin grinned and sat down.
Billie was up next. He spun the bottle and it landed on Kevin. Both looked at each other nervously, feeling a tightening in their chests.
Billie crawled over to where Kevin was sitting. He placed his hand under Kevin’s chin, tilted his head up, smiled, and kissed him gently.
When he pulled back, they looked at each other and knew that the other was feeling what he himself was feeling. Billie hesitated for a second, smiled, and then returned to his spot.
The game went on a little longer (neither Billie nor Kevin had the bottle land on them again) until Billie got word that the cab he had ordered had arrived. He stood up, glanced at Kevin one last time, and then headed out of the room.
Kevin waited a minute before following him.
“You’re leaving so soon?” Kevin asked him.
“Yeah. I leave for Oakland early tomorrow morning, so I have to get back and finish some things up,” Billie replied.
They stared at each other for another minute before Billie went over, placed his hands on Kevin’s cheeks and slowly kissed him. He smiled as he turned to leave.
“Billie, wait. I have to ask. Why me?” Kevin asked him.
“What do you mean?” Billie asked with a confused look.
“Well, do you normally invite random people you just met to a club, house party, watch their small time, just starting out band play in a bar, and finish up by kissing them?” Kevin asked.
“No,” Billie replied, laughing.
“Well, then why me? What drew you to me?” Kevin asked him inquisitively.
“Sometimes in life you just feel a connection to a person. It’s not always explainable. You’re one of those people for me. I could try and list reasons, you’re a great musician, you’re good with your hands, you’re hot, you’re fun to hang out with, I feel comfortable with you, you have a killer smile, all of which is true, but underneath all of that, there’s just this chemical draw that can’t always be explained in words,” Billie responded.
Kevin smiled, a bit overwhelmed at all of this, while at the same time knowing exactly what Billie was talking about. He nodded and kissed Billie back.
Billie smiled. “I meant what I said. I really do want to do something with you one day.” He caressed Kevin’s cheek, smiled, and walked out the door.
Kevin smiled. He still didn’t quite know which meaning that had (nor did he know if Billie even knew which meaning he meant), but was open to anything when it came to Billie.