Green Day is a punk rock band from the East Bay Area in California. It is currently composed of Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tré Cool. With thirteen albums under their belt, they have first brought punk rock to the mainstream audience with "Basket Case" and "When I Come Around" in the early 90s before creating the anthems for the disillusioned youth of the 2000s with "Jesus of Suburbia," "American Idiot," and "Wake Me Up When September Ends."
As Green Day recently postpones the North American dates of the "Hella Mega Tour" with fellow headliners Weezer and Fall Out Boy, there is no better time to revisit the punk act's history. From a teenage band to a global rock icon, Green Day is the act that never seems to end.
From Sweet Children to Green Day
It was in 1987 that Armstrong and Dirnt, childhood friends and fellow 15-year-old kids at the time, formed the band "Sweet Children" and had their first debut at Rod's Hickory Pit in Vallejo, CA. They were signed into Lookout! Records by its owner, Larry Livermore, in 1988 and recorded their first EP, "1,000 Hours."
Before releasing their debut EP, they changed their name to avoid confusion with fellow punk band Sweet Baby. They named the group "Green Day" because of their shared fondness for cannabis. Armstrong confirmed it himself in an interview with veteran comedian-host Bill Maher.
The band, now called Green Day, released their first album "39/Smooth," known as the only album to feature their drummer John Kiffmeyer before Tré Cool replaced him later that year.
Dookie's breakthrough success and mainstream fame
Green Day released their second album, "Kerplunk," which was Cool's first album with the band and marked the band's rapidly growing reputation. They soon left Lookout! Records and signed with Reprise Records, where Green Day recorded their next album, the 1994-released "Dookie."
With the success of "Kerplunk" becoming news in the music industry, Green Day then released "Dookie" to critical and commercial success. The album has been recognized as the band's breakthrough album, introducing them to the broader mainstream audience. It was supported by hit singles "Basket Case," "Longview," "and the hidden track "All By Myself," written by Cool.
"Dookie" gave Green Day its first Grammy Award as the "Best Alternative Album" back in 1995. It was followed by a string of successful albums: "Insomniac" (1995), "Nimrod" (1997), and "Warning" (2000).
While it was also received positively by critics and the market, their last album "Warning" marked the band's lowest point in sales performance, the first not to achieve a multi-platinum status since they signed on a major record label.
The stolen Cigarettes and Valentines that led to American Idiot
In 2003, the band returned to recording new materials in what would've been the follow-up to "Warning." Tentatively called "Cigarettes and Valentines," the trio had already recorded some twenty tracks and was close to completion when the master tapes were stolen from their studio.
Instead of re-recording the contents of the stolen tapes, they started from scratch, prompting them to try out a punk-rock-opera concept album that would become "American Idiot." They released their new album in September 2004 and marked the return to the top for Green Day.
The album spawned five wildly successful songs, from the title track "American Idiot," to its fellow anthems "Jesus of Suburbia" and "Wake Me Up When September Ends," as well as "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" and "Holiday."
Fans of the band, mostly youth living in Post 9/11 America, connected to the "American Idiot." This album's success eventually prompted a stage adaptation. The album was followed by "21st Century Breakdown," which birthed the songs "Know Your Enemy" and "21 Guns," strengthening its relatability to alienated and disillusioned youth.
One, Two, Three to the Hella Mega Worldwide Tour
In 2012, Green Day released a trifecta of albums: "¡Uno!," "¡Dos!" and "¡Tré!" Each of the album covers featured a band member with their eyes crossed out. The first album was the band's power-pop release, the second is garage rock, and the third being a fusion of the first two.
Green Day returned to releasing albums in 2016, with "Revolution Radio," again to positive critical and commercial reception. It was released with the lead single, "Bang Bang, which was the band's reflection on the increasingly common mass shooting incidents in the country.
In September 2019, Green Day, together with Weezer and Fall Out Boy, announced they would be co-headling the "Hella Mega Tour." The announcement was accompanied by an album announcement and a single release. Green Day announced its 13th album, "Father of All..." and its carrier single of the same name. The band's 13th album was released in February 2020.