SUNY Potsdam student performs with rock group Green Day

09.10.09

student with Green Day
SUNY Potsdam junior Melissa Karmel of Huntington gets an impromptu lesson from Green Day frontman Billie Jo Armstrong after she was called up on stage to perform with the group.

It’s everyone’s dream – climbing on stage with your favorite band of all time and rocking out with them in front of thousands of screaming fans.
           
That dream recently came true for SUNY Potsdam junior Melissa Karmel of Huntington.  After worshiping the punk-infused rock band for a decade, a recent concert at Madison Square Garden gave Karmel her big break; she was called on stage to perform.
           
Knowing Green Day frontman Billie Jo Armstrong often calls up fans to play with the band, the music education major, whose concentration is in classical guitar, made a sign to profess both her talents.
           
“I knew from previous shows that he would call someone from the audience to play the song ‘Jesus of Suburbia’ on guitar,” Karmell recalled. “I made a sign that said, ‘Billie! I can play Jesus of Suburbia in my sleep!’ I also made a few friends with those on the floor around me, and told them to point to me when he asks who can play the guitar. I held up my sign on the first song, and I saw him read it.”
           
To her surprise, however, Green Day switched up there choice of song for the jam band.

“Billie asked for a drummer and then a bass player. He came up to center stage and asked who can play the guitar. I was a little hesitant to go up on stage at this point because it wasn't ‘Jesus of Suburbia.’ But, I was like, ‘ME!’,” she said.

Karmel was asked how long she had been playing guitar and then was brought up on stage.

“I got up on stage, and everything went white. I looked over, and I saw Billie smiling at me,” she said.

After planting a big kiss on him, Karmel took the guitar.

“It hung passed my knees,” she said. “I was going to sit on the speaker in classical position, but Billie said to put my foot up on the speaker, and rest the guitar on my knee. I would never play up like that. Billie is the only one that can make me play that way.”

Karmel performed a cover of Operation Ivy’s “Knowledge.”

“I was in heaven looking out at all the thousands of people in Madison Square Garden.

It was awesome,” she said.
           
Karmel’s rock start days are on hold for a bit while she finishes up her degree at SUNY Potsdam, but she will be looking to join her idols on stage again one day soon.