The Armed may be the most mysterious punk band in the world. The anonymous Detroit collective has collaborated with movie stars, finagled its way onto national TV, and duped media publications. Various semi-substantiated rumorsidentify the band’s puppet master as either Tony Hawk or a shadowy corporate ad agency. As a private detective who has unmasked instances of corporate malfeasance, hidden assets, and political corruption, I’ve seen my share of convoluted cases. None are quite like this band. When I trailed them in 2018, a carousel of “members—”some real, some fake— led me on a tour of midwestern fish markets, gambling dens, and ice cream parlors.
While stitching together various new threads of inquiry into the Armed, I stumbled upon a tape-recorded interview with their enigmatic ringleader Dan Greene. Greene has been the subject of much speculation—some believe he’s a shell spokesperson, or a character played by various people, or someone actually named Dan Greene who performs an exaggerated version of themselves, like a punk-rock Nathan Fielder. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
I would best describe my relationship with “Dan” as fickle, and my opinion of him as “suspect,” particularly as over the years, the band has presented multiple people as “Dan Greene.” But leading into their new album ULTRAPOP —a terrific blend of hardcore punk, noise, and yes, pop—I promised I would try to write a story dedicated to craft, rather than characters. Unfortunately, many of the recordings I made of those conversations were lost in a late night cell phone robbery outside of a McDonald’s (a story for another time), but these excerpts survived. As with many of my experiences with “Dan Greene,” within moments, this train is off the rails.