Green Day are over the punk opera thing after their last two albums, 'American Idiot' and '21st Century Breakdown,' went down that path. But they also decided to skip the whole return-to-roots approach on their upcoming three-album frenzy known as 'Uno!,' 'Dos!' and 'Tre!'

"Even my son asked me, 'Dad, would you ever go back to playing songs like from [1994's] 'Dookie' and [1992's] 'Kerplunk?''" frontman Billie Joe Armstrong tells Rolling Stone. "I love those records. I love the punk stuff I grew up on. But there are so many bands who make the mistake -- 'We're going back, old-school.'"

Armstrong continues: "Well, that's all you're doing. You already did it. So we're changing the guitar sound. We're not going with the big Marshall-amp thing. We wanted something punchier, more power pop -- somewhere between AC/DC and the early Beatles."

But how did that turn into three entirely new albums?

"The songs just kept coming, kept coming," Armstrong says. "I'd go, 'Maybe a double album? No, that's too much nowadays." Then more songs kept coming. And one day, I sprung it on the others: "Instead of 'Van Halen I', 'II' and 'III,' what if it's 'Green Day I', 'II' and 'III' and we all have our faces on each cover?"

That may sound a bit ridiculous, but that's kind of the point. "The last record got so serious," Armstrong adds. "We wanted to make things more fun."

Green Day have been recording with longtime producer Rob Cavallo in their hometown of Oakland, Calif., and are readying Uno!, Dos! and Tré! for release on Sept. 25, 2012, Nov. 13, 2012, and Jan. 15, 2013, respectively.