Understandably bummed, Green Day took a break from making music. When they finally reconvened to record a follow-up to the folk-influenced Warning (a B-sides and rarities collection, Shenanigans, was released in 2002), it should come as no surprise that the band made a focused effort to return to their roots by recording an album of up-tempo punk songs reminiscent of those found on their earliest records. What is slightly more surprising, though, is what happened when they finished recording that album.
Apparently, someone just stole that s**t. Like picked it up and walked out of the studio with it, never to be seen again. That's the story the band has always stuck to, at least. The album would have been called Cigarettes and Valentines and, if I'm guessing, it would have been kind of terrible. Evidence of that can be found in what the band decided to do after the theft, which, basically, was to take it as a sign that they should just record a different album altogether.
Wait, what? That seems like an awful lot of work, right? Were there no backup copies of this stuff? Sure there were, but it was decided that they "just weren't the same" and that the material in general wasn't "maximum Green Day" (which at the time couldn't have meant much more than "lacking booger lyrics").
"Actually, the band was already blah blah yawn whatever," said some sad Green Day fan just now.