GREEN DAY have admitted that returning to the live stage after three years was "terrifying".

The rockers were speaking about a series of intimate dates for fans in California, ahead of the worldwide release of their new album 21st Century Breakdown on Friday.

Their eighth studio album leapt straight to number one after just two days on sale, knocking Bob Dylan off the top spot.

But speaking to Rolling Stone, frontman Billie Joe Armstrong said the trio were scared about performing their new material for the first time.

He said: "We decided to just go and do it live in front of people.

"It was terrifying, especially when you're playing all brand new songs from start to finish. It's kind of like playing your first gig all over again. It's about making your own memories before someone makes them for you."

He also admitted that with eight studio albums to choose from, the band's sets could last "anywhere from two to four hours long".

"We want to give [Bruce] Springsteen a run for his money. I think his longest show is maybe five hours, I think Green Day's got six!"

Last month, Green Day announced the details of a ten-date UK and Irish autumn arena tour.