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Green Day: Sly Like a Foxboro?

It appears hot tubs can now be powered by green energy. On Dec. 8, newbie garage rockers Foxboro Hot Tubs launched its website with the six-song EP Stop Drop and Roll available as a free download. It didn’t take long for music junkies to realize this new band might not be so new after all.

“The internet is ablaze!!!!” proclaimed celeb blogger Perez Hilton last month. “A band called Foxboro Hot Tubs has released an EP of six songs that has people speculating that it’s the Green Day boys experimenting with a new sound.”

The songs were pulled a short time later and replaced with a clock that clicks through to the band’s MySpace page, featuring three tracks: “Stop Drop and Roll,” “Mother Mary” and “Ruby Room.” (The other EP tracks–”Red Tide,” “Highway 1” and “She’s a Saint, Not a Celebrity”–are MIA.)

While the site features no group photos, and both Green Day and the Foxboro Hot Tubs aren’t responding to media queries, the Internet buzz grew so deafening that the mainstream media had to react.

Despite no label backing, “Mother Mary” was added to so many radio stations in the past few weeks that the song actually cracked the Billboard Modern Rock chart. “Mother Mary” debuted at number 30 in the current listing and will jump to 21 in the Feb. 9 issue.

“We discovered the Foxboro Hot Tubs songs online and immediately recognized the voice and loved the catchy melodies,” says Lisa Worden, music director of taste-making KROQ in Los Angeles.

“At a time when we don’t have a current Green Day record, it’s nice to have the Foxboro Hot Tubs! Already, ‘Mother Mary’ is one of the most requested songs on KROQ.”

In fact, “Mother Mary” is currently the number one most requested song at the station. The track is having a similar reaction at other radio stations like 91X in San Diego, the End in Seattle and Live 105 in Green Day’s hometown of San Francisco.

“It’s not the first time Green Day doesn’t want to be themselves–remember the Network?” says Live 105 deejay Jared, recalling the rockers’ other “secret” side project. “The guys from Green Day didn’t come clean on being the members of that band either, but they were the Network, along with guys from Devo.”

As with the Network five years ago, fans are making the case online that Foxboro Hot Tubs and Green Day are one in the same.

For starters, while most people know Foxborough as home to Patriots football, Foxboro is a lesser-known ritzy community near Rodeo, the NoCal city where singer-guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong and bassist Mike Dirnt were raised.

Others note similarities in lyrics and themes. The religious imagery of “Mother Mary” recalls American Idiot characters “Jesus of Suburbia” and “St. Jimmy,” while “Maria” (from 2001’s International Superhits!) is the Latinized version of the name Mary. Likewise, “Mother Mary” ends with “I don’t care,” a common Green Day phrase heard in Idiot’s “Homecoming” and “Jesus of Suburbia.”

Aside from the many American Idiot comparisons, there’s also speculation the cuts come from Green Day’s scrapped Cigarettes and Valentines album. The masters were stolen from the studio in 2003, and the band decided to start from scratch with American Idiot rather than rerecord the lost tracks. The band later said the Cigarettes songs weren’t up to par, which makes it seem unlikely Green Day would put them out now as Foxboro.

Among other Green Day-Foxboro similarities, online fans have noted that “Red Tide” recalls the Kinks’ “Tired of Waiting for You,” which Green Day covered on Shenanigans, while “Ruby Room” sounds similar to Nimrod’s “Hitchin’ a Ride.”

Furthermore, the EP was manufactured in San Francisco, Green Day’s stomping grounds.

Foxboro also bears a few similarities to the Network. “She’s a Saint,” a title that recalls “She’s a Rebel” from Idiot, sounds similar to the Network’s “Right Hand-a-Rama.” And the Network’s Church of Lushotology goat head/martini glass logo appears on the back cover of the Stop EP.

Meanwhile, as Foxboro continues to pick up radio spins, Armstrong is putting in time with a different side project, Pinhead Gunpowder. The longtime group, which hasn’t released new material in years, is performing two SoCal shows next week and possibly a third in the Bay Area.

As far as Green Day itself, the band continues to work on its as-yet untitled eighth studio album, which is expected out this year. The group’s recent cover of John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero” is up for a Grammy and appears on the 2008 Grammy Nominees album released last Tuesday.

And while Green Day still hasn’t copped to the music, despite its success, a news blurb in the Jan. 24 Rolling Stone put it perfectly:

“Tunes like ‘Stop Drop and Roll’ rock hard enough that we’d dig this even if these guys turned out to be the Jonas Brothers.”

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