Green Day

Green Day brought punk rock crashing into the mainstream, after nearly two decades spent exiled to the fringes of the very pop culture establishment it was meant to disrupt and destroy. Indeed, one could safely say that the punk rock intelligentsia responsible for nurturing the movement from day one has never forgiven Green Day for this crime. But, for Green Day, which was formed in 1986, near Oakland, California by vocalist/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong and bassist Mike Dirnt (later joined by drummer Tre Cool), their fundamental dream of playing music was never that complicated or calculated. By the turn of the decade they’d signed with independent Lookout! Records and proceeded to released a spate of albums and EPs which slowly grew their following and led to a major deal with Reprise for the release of 1994’s breakthrough smash, ‘Dookie,’ which has since sold an estimated 20 million copies. Coming just a few months after the universal bummer of Kurt Cobain’s suicide, Green Day’s comparatively upbeat power chord punk anthems connected with a slew of orphaned alternative rock kids, who obviously took the still rather negative lyrics behind hit singles like ‘Basket Case’ and ‘Longview’ with a hefty grain of salt. This formula continued to serve Green Day well over subsequent, multi-million sellers like ‘Insomniac’ (1995), ‘Nimrod’ (1997) and ‘Warning’ (2000), but no one expected 2004’s full-fledged rock opera, ‘American Idiot,’ to rocket the group almost all the way back to the dizzy heights of ‘Dookie.’ With its 15 million copies sold thus far, the album even spawned a Broadway production and, more recently, appears to be bound for a major motion picture. Meanwhile, 2009’s similarly ambitious ‘21st Century Breakdown’ brought the band back down to earth, somewhat; and a few years later, leader Billie Joe would land in rehab after a baffling on-stage meltdown — possibly explained by the stress of preparing 2012’s three-album extravaganza ‘¡Uno!,’ ‘¡Dos!’ and ‘¡Tré!’ — a bona fide pop punk trilogy that in many ways served to celebrate Green Day’s amazing career and consistent success.

  • Selected Discography: ‘Dookie’ (1994), ‘Insomniac’ (1995), ’American idiot’ (2004)
  • Related Artists: Pinhead Gunpowder, The Frustrators, The Network, Rancid
  • Further Reading: Top 10 Hard Rock Smackdowns


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