Question: what can a band do when they’ve done the same thing for so long that the industry has completely figured them out, decided exactly what is marketable about them, and created a caricature-like role for them to play that emphasizes their marketable aspects while minimizing their unpredictable, unmarketable “real” aspects? Answer: they can play along, they can quit being a band, or they can secretly start a completely different band.

The third option might be the one Green Day has taken, as the once loose-jawed-and-slovenly college punk band has lately been shelved as a striped-tie-wearing, dressed-to-look-ironically-dressed-up, cartoon-character punk band wearing more hair gel than all of N’SYNC put together, presumably at their label’s behest.

That is why a mysterious ’60s-style garage band rumored to be Green Day in disguise has popped up on the radar, having recently released their debut single, NME reported Monday.

The band is called the Foxboro Hot Tubs, and they got people’s attention by releasing a six-song EP called Stop Drop and Roll!!! from their web site in December. Their debut single, “Mother Mary,” is freshly downloadable on Jingle Town Records’ site, though the internet is not clear on exactly when it became available. A handful of songs are presently streaming from the band’s MySpace page, and could be described as “small-time garage band music with a strangely huge production budget behind it.”

That being said, the mystery surrounding the Hot Tubs is about as murky as Crystal Pepsi. According to MTV News, numerous hints have surfaced that the band is really Green Day, including riffs and musical tendencies that point stylistically to Green Day or other suspected Green Day side projects, and a lead singer who, if he is not Billie Joe Armstrong, should be sued by him. Maybe the surest hint is a small symbol appearing on the back cover of Stop Drop and Roll!!! that also appears on the web site of suspected Green Day new wave alter ego The Network. Then there is the fact that the members of the Foxboro Hot Tubs have not actually come forth and called out that they are not Green Day – which if I were in a band, I would probably do.

At any rate, if Billie Joe and friends can find escape from their industry-hewn shackles by giving us the runaround for a while, I say cheers to ‘em.

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