Green Day is an alternative rock band from California. Some call them punk, some call them pop and others call them full of shit. There is no question that Green Day is some sort of band.
Green Day started out as an independent band made up of childhood friends Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Pritchard, who later hired John Kiffmeyer (nicknamed Al Sobrante) as their full-time drummer. Under this lineup, Green Day released several unnoticed EPs with the creative names of Slappy, 1,000 Hours, a full-length album called 39/Smooth a rare demo tape called Spungs Farts/500 Cakes.*
After Kiffmeyer left the band, Tre Cool (born Frank Edwin Wright III, a name he should have kept) joined as their permanent drummer. The first release with him as drummer was another fuck-titled album, Kerplunk. Widely regarded as a milestone for independent punk, Kerplunk eventually reached gold status without the backing of a major label or much thought put into the title of the album.
It was funnier when he had the water gun between his legs.
Seriously. Kerpunk? Slappy? What the fuck do any of these mean? Regardless, the new-punk appeal of these albums attracted Green Day lots of attention and they were eventually signed to Reprise Records, officially making them non-punk douchebag sell-outs who only play music for money. You know, just like Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and even the Ramones (widely considered the godfathers of punk rock). Those guys suck record executive dick.
Recorded in three weeks in 1994, Dookie was released to immediate success on the charts, MTV and the record stores. Green Day's best known singles, like Basket Case, When I Come Around, and Longview were released from this album and by 1999, it had sold over 10 million copies in the USA. However, with success comes controversy, and Dookie found controversy in the most retarded place. On the back cover of the initial distribution of CDs, there is a picture of Ernie from Sesame Street moshing with a crowd. Kinda cool right? No.
Turns out, worried mothers complained to Reprise that they had mistakenly thought that the album was a children's music record after looking at Ernie on the back cover. instead, they were appalled to hear "no good offensive punk" being played to their children. Uh, yeah. The album is titled DOOKIE, a slang term for "shit". The album cover features people throwing dung at each other. The album received huge airplay at the time and one of the tracks is called "Fuck Off and Die". You can tell how great of parents these were.
Perfect for my honey-bun!
After the phenomenal success of Dookie, Green Day released their fourth album, Insomniac. Finally, an actual word for an album title. It was released in 1995 and reached double-platinum, but didn't redeem Green Day with the massive success Dookie brought them. It featured faster and more abrasive songs and many consider it Green Day's most "punk" record so far. That's pretty much it. Cool.
In 1997, Green Day released their album nimrod (GODDAMN THESE TITLES! And yes, it's lowercase). It reached double-platinum also and is noted for featuring the song played at everyone's prom for the next ten years, Good Riddance (Time of Your Life). The album went fairly unnoticed until the song was used during the season finale of Seinfeld. Because, you know, Seinfeld is down with the punk scene. This album was more musically diverse than past releases, featuring ballads, punk, ska, and an instrumental track, a first for Green Day.
Three years later, everyone had moved on from Green Day to bands like Sum 41 and blink 182 (analysts blame the lack of numbers in Green Day's name) and the band's popularity had all but vanished. Warning was released during this period and has been called more of a pop-rock record rather than punk. It spawned the hit Minority, and then everyone totally forgot about them.
Four years and a greatest hit compilation later, American Idiot hit stores and reached #1 twice, ultimately selling 15 million copies worldwide and reigniting Green Day's popularity. The concept of a punk rock opera (discussed above) came up when the master tapes to Green Day's original follow up album (which had their best title yet - Cigarettes and Valentines) were stolen. Rather than re-record the material, the band started from scratch. Huge success came with the release of singles like American Idiot, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Holiday, and Wake Me Up When September Ends and Green Day was on top again. Noted for its catchy anthems and lack of a comprehensible plot, American Idiot, took home two Grammys and received critical acclaim.
It is currently being adapted into a musical (ooooooh boy) and was also the basis for a mash-up album called American Edit. Now this, this was a cool as fuck experiment. Credited to Dean Gray (see what they did there?), the album took a bunch of songs with similar melodies and combined them with Green Day's songs. Awesome by us.
In 2008, an album called Stop Drop and Roll!!! surfaced by a new garage-rock band called Foxboro Hot Tubs. Many suspected it was Green Day after the noted similarities of the two singers until it was revealed that yes, Foxboro Hot Tubs was Green Day. Whatever, it was cool. Nobody cared that much.
Green Day, after an absence of five years, emerged a few months ago with their new album, another punk opera, called 21st Century Breakdown. It has pretty much the same plot as their previous album (none) and is divided into three "acts". It spawned the hit single Know Your Enemy and reached #1 on the Billboard 200. The album also garnered acclaim for more musical complexity (gasp! Some songs don't have a chorus! Our monocles almost cracked over here!) as well as featuring catchy melodies.
* This is not an actual Green Day release. We shouldn't have to tell you this.
Many call Green Day a punk rock band because their songs are fast-paced, usually under four minutes long and cover important topics like masturbating, becoming insane, cross-dressing, and how the state of America has slowly declined over the past nine years. However, punk rock enthusiasts have disowned Green Day for signing to a major-label, which, for some reason is a big "fuck you" to other punk bands. Also, they have a total of four songs over 5 minutes in their twenty years as a band.
We're not sure ourselves, so we've set up a criteria of what punk bands do to become punk. Let's see which ones Green Day fits.
1. Fast paced songs? Check.
2. Singer has nasal, bratty voice? Check.
3. Album cover features monkeys flinging feces at Angus Young? Check.
4. Angry, but don't offer solutions? Check.
5. Ran for public office on a platform of hilarious reforms? Nope. (Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys did!)
6. Mohawks? Nope.
7. Offensive band behavior? Disputed. Our Controversy section covers this dispute.
Let's check the results with Cracked's industry-standard Punk Meter:
Aside from, you know, making music and stuff, Green Day is known for their controversial band behavior. The best and funniest example of this is when, back in 1994, the band members were staying at the Sunset Marquee and the bassist took a shit off the balcony of the room they were staying.
THAT'S FUCKING AWESOME!
Another famous incident revolving around Green Day involved the band getting into the biggest-recorded mud fight of all time with the audience at Woodstock '94. After the show, bassist Mike Dirnt left the stage and was mistaken by a security guard for being a fan (mud covering his face and all) so the guard beat the shit out of him and knocked a tooth out. Dude.
Among other things, band frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has played concerts in the nude and drummer Tre Cool was captured smoking lettuce after a concert in the band's concert-DVD Bullet in a Bible. That's why we left the band's behavior as disputed. Shitting out of windows is pretty awesome, but smoking lettuce? The line is hard to draw between controversial and just dumb, but we like to imagine the person's expression walking into the hotel only to have a piece of poop fall from the sky and land right in front of you.
Yes, monkey. Throw.