Green Day’s songs are admittedly some of the catchiest tunes you might have on your iPod or smartphone. Their signature mix of “surfer” sounds and “punk” gave them an early boost with tracks like “Longview” in 1994, alongside hits such as “Basket Case” and “When I Come Around.” They fused attitude with a feeling of fun, and gathered a strong following.
Their musical sound was apparently so iconic among the rowdy bunch that Hatch Memorial Shell ended with Green Day only performing seven songs. 100 people were injured and 45 arrested in the ensuing rampage. Woodstock ’94 continued this trend as a security guard had allegedly punched bassist Mike Dirnt in the mouth, mistaking him for a stage-jumping fan. The publicity helped the band skyrocket to the top of the charts, putting them up against some of the biggest alternative bands of the time.
Dookie had enjoyed much of the resulting success as the band’s sophomore commercial effort, having won a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Album, and nine MTV Awards. Insomniac gained the band a heavier sound and gave us hits, such as “Brain Stew/Jaded” and “Geek Stink Breath.” “Walking Contradiction” gained them a Grammy nomination for Best Video, but the album didn’t do as well as Dookie.
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) September 1, 2016
Eventually, fans started losing their taste for what they realized was a very formulaic approach to “surfer punk,” moving on to newer bands. Nimrod went for a more melodic approach again with “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” and “Nice Guys Finish Last,” and it gained them the support of a new rhythm guitarist in 1999.
The Y2K era proved to be a bad one for many mainstream artists like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, and Green Day, with songs deviating further from their roots. Billy Joe Armstrong’s band had seen a decline in popularity as fans began realizing that Green Day had become irrelevant. Their signature sound had gotten old, having been six years and five albums later.
NOT A THREAT. A PROMISE! And you’re gonna like it!
“Green Day Threatens to Release New Album” https://t.co/vaQBSHzzdz
— Green Day Mind (@GreenDayMind) September 1, 2016
This equated to almost an album a year, which may have been wearing on the band. In 2003, their work had been allegedly stolen and given to a band called The Network. This resulted in the new band being rumored as a Green Day side project as the original band scrapped it all and made new material. This resulted in the recording of the album American Idiot, the title track of which had gained parody artist “Weird” Al Yankovic’s attention. “Canadian Idiot” became a popular spoof on the Green Day song, and may have helped the band return to the mainstream.
In 2012, Green Day front man Armstrong had suffered an on-stage breakdown, which was blamed on drug usage and the band’s tendency to never stop. According to Entertainment Weekly, Armstrong had gone into treatment for substance abuse, forcing the band to stop.
Tre Cool has recently stated that the band is going back to its roots without a producer for the first time since 1992’s Kerplunk.
“We didn’t tell anybody that we were recording, except our wives. We gave ourselves enough time and we weren’t watching the clock. [That] took the pressure off.”
Green Day’s new songs might be a bit more raw than before with their latest single “Bang Bang” off their Revolution Radio album. It seems they’re ready to take back their position at number one.
“We’re ready to rock. All those health issues are behind us. We’re going into this record cycle with a lot of gratitude, a lot of humility. We just really do enjoy the s*** out of being in a rock & roll band with our best friends.”
Are you ready to rock with Green Day’s latest songs?
[Image via Aija Lehtonen/Shutterstock.com]