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A TO Z OF GREEN DAY

Contents
Introduction
The Albums
The Singles
The Band
Live

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 Introduction
Green Day was part of the California punk scene. Childhood friends Billie Joe Armstrong (guitar, vocals) and Mike Dirnt (bass) formed their first band, Sweet Children in Rodeo, California when they were 14 years old. By 1989, the group had added a drummer named Al Sobrante and changed their name to Green Day. It wasn't until their first album came out that Al Sobrante left the band and Green Day's permanent drummer, Tre Cool joined.

In 1989 the band independently released their first EP, 1,000 Hours, which was received well in the underground scene. Soon after that the group had signed a contract with their local independent label, Lookout! Records. Then came the album 39/Smooth, Green Day's first album, which was released later in 89'.

Throughout the early '90s, Green Day continued to cultivate a following, which gained strength with the release of their second album, 1992's Kerplunk. The underground success of Kerplunk led to a wave of interest from major record labels and the band eventually decided to sign with Reprise, part of the Warner group. Dookie, Green Day's major label debut, was released in the spring of 1994. Thanks to MTV support for the initial single "Longview," Dookie became a massive hit. The album continued to gain momentum throughout the summer, with the second single "Basket Case" spending five weeks on the top of the American modern rock charts and hit the number 5 spot here in the UK.

At the end of the summer, the band stole the show at Woodstock '94, which helped the sales of Dookie increase dramatically. By the time the fourth single "When I Come Around" began its seven-week stay at number one in the modern rock charts in early 1995, Dookie had sold over five million copies in the US alone; it would eventually top 8 million in America, selling over 13 million copies internationally. Dookie also won the 1994 Grammy for best Alternative Music Performance. Following the success of Dookie the band started a world tour, which sold out in virtually every country.

Green Day quickly followed Dookie with Insomniac towards the summer of 95'. During the summer, they hit number one again on the modern rock charts with "J.A.R." their contribution to the Angus soundtrack. Insomniac performed well initially, entering the US charts at number two, and selling over two million copies by the spring of 1996, yet none of its singles - including the radio favourite "Brain Stew/Jaded" were as popular as those from Dookie.

Later in 95' Green Day began another world tour, but the stress of all the gigs was too much and they abruptly cancelled the European tour in spring 96'. Following the cancellation, the band spent the rest of the year resting and writing new material. The end result is what is called by many, the best album of their career, Nimrod.

Nimrod released in September 1997 is fast becoming Green Days best selling album, this is because of the new direction the band are now taking. Billie Joe, the lead singer said the album is like this because they are now more mature (although still only 26). After performing a series of dates in the US Green Day came to Europe and the UK in January 1998. Their new single "Time of your life" was released just before their tour. It hit the US charts at No. 1 and the UK charts at No. 9. During their visit to the UK the band did some promoting appearing on shows such as Top of the Pops and TFI Friday. Their UK tour was a sell out everywhere so the band also plan to appear at some UK festivals including V98. Their third single ‘Redundant’ was released in May and hit the UK charts at 23. Their 4th single is said to be ‘Nice guys finish last’ and is planned for a December / January release. Green Day played at V98 this August and were easily the best band there. At the end of their set they set the drums on fire causing a lot of damage.

The Albums
In 1989 the band independently released their first EP, 1,000 Hours, which was received well in the underground scene. Soon after that the group had signed a contract with their local independent label, Lookout! Records. Then came the album 39/Smooth, Green Day's first album, which was released later in 89'.

Throughout the early '90s, Green Day continued to cultivate a following, which gained strength with the release of their second album, 1992's Kerplunk. The underground success of Kerplunk led to a wave of interest from major record labels and the band eventually decided to sign with Reprise, part of the Warner group. Dookie, Green Day's major label debut, was released in the spring of 1994. Thanks to MTV support for the initial single "Longview," Dookie became a massive hit. The album continued to gain momentum throughout the summer, with the second single "Basket Case" spending five weeks on the top of the American modern rock charts and hit the number 5 spot here in the UK.

At the end of the summer, the band stole the show at Woodstock '94, which helped the sales of Dookie increase. By the time the fourth single "When I Come Around" began its seven-week stay at number one in the modern rock charts in early 1995, Dookie had sold over five million copies in the US alone; it would eventually top 8 million in America, selling over 13 million copies internationally and about 4 million here in the UK. Dookie also won the 1994 Grammy for best Alternative Music Performance. Following the success of Dookie the band started a world tour, which sold out in virtually every country.

Green Day quickly followed Dookie with Insomniac towards the summer of 95'. During the summer, they hit number one again on the modern rock charts with "J.A.R.," their contribution to the Angus soundtrack. Insomniac performed well initially, entering the US charts at number two, and selling over two million copies by the spring of 1996, yet none of its singles -- including the radio favourite "Brain Stew/Jaded" were as popular as those from Dookie.

Later in 95' Green Day began another world tour, but the stress of all the gigs was too much and they abruptly cancelled the European tour in spring 96'. Following the cancellation, the band spent the rest of the year resting and writing new material. The end result is what is called by many, the best album of their career, Nimrod.

Nimrod released in September 1997 is fast becoming Green Days best selling album, this is because of the new direction the band are now taking. Billie Joe, the lead singer said the album is like this because they are now more mature (although still only 26).

1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours
This is Green day’s first album, titled 1,039/Smoothed out slappy hours. The album contains 19 songs made up from 3 EP’s. Tracks 1- 10 are from the EP 39/Smooth, Tracks 11 – 14 are from the EP Slappy and tracks 15 – 18 are from the EP 1,000 Hours. The album also contains the famous track Knowledge by Operation Ivy. The album was released in 1990 by Lookout Records.

Kerplunk
The second album, entitled Kerplunk was released in 1992 again be Lookout Records and this time Tre Cool is the drummer. The album contains 16 tracks including My Generation by The Who. This album is considered better than the first and record sales seemed to prove this. On the inside cover is a story entitled My adventure with Green Day by Laurie L. It is fictional and tells the tale of a girl who would do anything to see Green Day including killing her parents (which she did).

Dookie
This is Green Day’s most famous album, it has sold over 13 million copies worldwide. It was released in 1994 by Warner Records and instantly became a hit. The single Basket Case reached No. 4 in the UK and topped the American charts for a couple of weeks. The following single Longview reached No. 3 in the UK and topped the American charts for over five weeks. The album contains 14 tracks all written by Green Day. This album is No. 33 in the "top 100 albums you must here before you die" chats and appears in all top album charts. Although 4 years old it has begun creeping in the charts again and is currently at No. 59.

Insomniac
This is Green Days 4th album. It was released in the summer of 1995 containing 14 original songs. Although not as successful as Dookie the album is just as good. There is much controversy involving this album, many critics say that it is not as good as it should be. Many say that this is deliberate, Green Day wanted to get rid of their fans from Dookie, in order to stay ‘underground’. However whether this is true or not is unknown and the album is still very good.

Nimrod
This is possibly Green Day’s best album to-date,critically acclaimed because of the more mature approach the band has taken. Although many of the songs still have their unique style. The album contains 18 tracks including the big hit Good Riddance. The album is has now sold over 2 million copies worldwide. The most recent single just released, redundant hit the charts at No. 20. There are plans to release a 4th single from the album. The track is to be ‘Nice guys finish last’, which is already receiving heavy airplay on radio stations in America.

The Singles
Green Day have enjoyed some success with their singles. The band didn’t release any singles from the first two albums because the band was still considered ‘underground’. So their first single was from the multi-million selling album ‘Dookie’. Basket Case, released in August 1994 was a major hit, in the US it stayed at No.1 for 6 weeks and hit the No. 5 spot here in then UK. The single featured some new tracks, ‘on the wagon’ was the first original track to appear since ‘Dookie’. Along side this was a tribute to the kinks’ classic ‘tired of waiting for you’. The video was another MTV hit, ‘a surreal vignette of life in an asylum where the nurses gave narcotic candies to patients in sumo wrestler masks while the band jumped around frenetically in boiler suits and pink fish swam past their faces. It was a joyous snippet of Green Days lunacy’ said MTV. The video was so popular that it became MTV’s No.1 video for 94’. Although one member of the British music magazine ‘melody maker’ had this to say about them ‘I loathe them with every fibre of my being’. In the beginning of 1995 they released the very successful ‘when I come around’ – a distinctly more accessible and jaunty sound for Green Day which guaranteed radio play and chart success. After the release of these singles there wasn’t anything else happening until their next album came out a year later.

Insomniac came out later in 1995 and with it the release of the single ‘brain stew / jaded’. The single came out as a limited edition brain shape but it didn’t do well at all, it reached the US top 30 but failed to reach even the top 40 here in the UK. The story is the same with their second single ‘Geek Stink Breath’ although this did a little better helped probably by the live songs featured on the single – ‘dominated love slave’, ‘chump’ and ‘stuck with me’. The single was released as two CD’s each one featuring different live tracks.

After a long break the band released their new album ‘Nimrod’ and with it came the single ‘hitchin’ a ride’. This contains ‘sick’ and ‘espionage’. This single received good reviews from critics and reached the UK charts at No.19. The next single released from ‘nimrod’ was ‘time of your life (good riddance)’ or as it’s called on the album ‘good riddance (time of your life)’. It was released as a two CD boxed set containing 4 totally new tracks, ‘desensitized, rotting, suffocate and you lied’ The single received a lot of air play and sold a few hundred thousand taking it to No.9.

The next single released was ‘redundant’. This 2 CD set contains 4 live tracks including: The grouch, Paper lanterns, Reject and She. It wasn’t as successful as Time of your life and managed to enter the charts at 23.

There are now plans to release a new single ‘Nice guys finish last’. It is already receiving air play in America and its thought to get a February / March release date.

The Band

Billie Joe Armstrong
Born on February 17, 1972 the youngest of six children. His Dad was a jazz drummer / truck driver who died of cancer when Billie was 10 years old. His mother was a waitress at a place called Rod's Hickory Pit. When he was five, Billie would sing at hospitals to cheer patients up. The first album BJ bought was Elvis Presley's "The Sun Sessions". Soon after a couple friends got him hooked on punk bands. He has played / produced / wrote with several other bands but most notably, Pinhead Gunpowder, with whom he has recorded a couple EP’s and records. In July 1994 he married his girlfriend Adrienne Nesser. The ceremony only lasted 5 minutes and both he and Adrienne drank beer before hand to calm their nerves. The day after the wedding Adrienne discovered she was pregnant. Nine months later, in March of 1995, Joseph Marcicano Armstrong was born.

Mike Dirnt
Mike Dirnt, formerly Michael Pritchard, lived in poverty, born to a heroin-addicted mother. He moved in with his foster parents, it was short lived, and soon Dirnt struck out on his own, working, among a handful of jobs, including the place where Billie Joe's mam was a waitress. Dirnt rented a room on the side of Billie Joe's house at one point. Mike married his girlfriend Anastasia in August 1996, they now have a daughter named Estelle-Desiree born in April 1997. Mike was born on May 4, 1972. The pressures of being in Green Day have become too much for Mike and Anasasia's marriage to withstand and they are now separated. Mike says he is still very good friends with her and calls his daughter his "hero".

Tre Cool
Tre Cool, born Frank Edwin Wright III, grew up in the Mendocino mountains, where his father who was a Vietnam vet, raised Tre and his two brothers. Tre's dad built many of the houses in that area, including that of Lawrence Livermore, Tre's nearest neighbour and the founder of Green Day's original label, Lookout! Records. At the age of 12, Tre joined Livermore's pop-punk band, the Lookouts, recorded an album, and began giging regularly at Gilman Street (Berkeley's punk club). When John Kiffmeyer, the drummer on Green Day's debut 39/Smooth, left the band for college, Tre, with Livermore's blessing, hopped aboard. Tre married his girlfriend Lisa Lyons in March of 1995, they have a daughter together named Ramona. They have since separated but are still on good terms.

Live!

From Kerrang! Magazine: 5/5
‘Welcome to the new face of punk rock. Destroy – with a smiley face. Yeah, there’s a few old timers mooching around: evil-looking f**kers with multi-pronged mohicans and tatooed spit. Mostly, though, its youngsters with newly grown bob’s, Nirvana, Rancid, Offspring shirts and expensive looking trainers. Never has the homework of Leeds been finished off quite so quickly’.

‘The kids are up for it though. Ridiculously so. And a taste of the mayhem to follow comes early on, when the evening’s first surfer hauls himself up and over a full 20 minutes before D-Generation appear. When they do arrive, the New York trash queens are a hoot, but it’s an unfortunate coincidence that everyone in the band feature a fat version of someone else.

Pandemonium. That’s the only word for Green Day. Onstage and off. Up on the boards, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool – the punk rock beach boys. About a hundred songs in an hour, tight as a nut, with a mental comedy cabaret thrown in for free.

Down on the floor its absolute carnage. A human wave breaks its self again and again on the stage barrier, throwing up bodies like pieces of flotsam to be caught and carried off to meet the St John’s ambulance by a security team that deserves a medal for ensuring nobody gets killed. The bands own crew are keeping busy as well, towelling down a stage soaked by attacking squadrons of pint pots, and gathering up a treasure-trove of shirts, shoes, jackets and other items lobbed by over enthusiastic punters.

In the middle of it all they actually get to play. All the best ones are here: ‘welcome to paradise’, ‘geek stink breath’, ‘basket case’, ‘nice guys finish last’, ‘chump’ and funniest of all ‘when I come around’ which Tre Cool brings to an abrupt end by pushing over his drum kit and most of the back line. After five minutes of ear splitting protest from the wrecked gear, Billie Joe returns for a solo jog of new single ‘time of your life (good riddance)’, repeating its closing line over and over: ‘I hope you had the time of your life’. If they’re this good every night they must be the most thrilling band on the planet.

Green Day later won an award from Kerrang! Magazine, ‘The best live band in the world’.


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