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Green Day Biography

Last updated: 01/02/2013 12:54:42 PM

Green Day-photo
Punk has been arranged and dragged so much, its aged prematurely. Bands have evolved and even died as its progressive strain mutates and grows. Being a genre so bratty, angst ridden, and fucked around, punk is a recycled phenomenon. Its infectious armour heals after a continuous battering. 1989 may have offered a revival, a medication to ease niggling pains. A band offered a drug with impact more potent than domestic painkillers. This trio offered their own formula, a concoction of highly fuelled shouts, layered with their own views.

1989 was the year were a certain venue housed a band on the road to future greatness and milestones. Gilman Street reeked of punk, sweat and promise. A modest starting point for bands to elevate and nurture together. To talk about their dreams, their analysis of Rock and Roll. Fans swapped stories of their times in Gilman, bands jumped and showered themselves in their faithfulls passion.
Sweet Children formed under the bright lights of Gilman, a band made up of bratty latch-key teenagers. Kids who mastered the art of rolling doobies and drinking beer. But music was a passion they all shared, a cause they could confide in. Gilman would become a lair they could showcase a musical intent, with fiery, ultra-angst songs that the crowd would relate to. Of course, Sweet Children weren’t a finished article; they were a band growing easily without sprouting beyond their years.

Lead singer/Song writer Billie Joe Armstrong was born into a family of modest workers; a home life with comfortable settings, his mother earned a living darting around Roy’s Hickory Pit, and his Father worked as driver for renowned brand ‘Safeway’. So life was fairly modest at the early age for an inspiring rock star. Billie became musical at a tender time, releasing his first record under fiat records when he was only five. His young vocal tone was a subtle reminder of his potential, but punk seemed a distant venture at that age. Vocally sweet and nostalgic, Billie became a star of epic proportion, it was just the commence. Billie didn’t suit the child star uprise, punk would stray him away from media scrutiny, it was a genre he would upgrade and innovate in years to come.

Bass Guitarist Mike Pritchard and drummer Al Kiffmeyer (Al Sobrante) would aid Armstrong on his Punk/Rock assault. Mike’s attributes as a guitar maestro offered a density to the band, diverse spark s of rawness and sound the act needed for progress. Al sobrante contributed flair and appeal on a scale the female species craved, he was a drummer on a mission to get laid, as so were the rest of the trio. Sweet Children were formed, and Gilman Street opened its palms to them. Sweet Children would later become Green Day, a name inspired by the bands relationship with weed. A substance so meaningful to them, it deserved an inclusion. Drug relation may have inspired the bands later gems.

But times change, minds alternate and band members split from the charge, and al Sobrante did just that. The drummer ventured into a college education when Green Day were still raw and under development, but will always be held in high esteem as the drummer who witnessed the commence of something special. The act hired a drummer with a fun infused aura they needed, humour goes far in Punk Music. Frank Edwin Wright 11 Aka (Tre Cool) filled the missing void, a stupendous drumming powerhouse who bolstered the bands quality factor, Green Day was fully fledged and ready to rise against the world.

By 1989, Green Day became a force. A respected pact in Gilman and in the fume of Berkeley. The crowd lapped up the rawness; inhaling the wisdom they were being served. Gilman was a cotton wool overcoat for Green Day, a stage that paid homage to them. Branching out of Gilman was on the cards, as the band released their first EP, 1039 Smooth in 1989 under Lookout records. Lookout records was an independent label founded by Musician Lawrence Livermore who spotted the band in its glory and later captured their signature.

1039 smooth later morphed into a fully classified track list. 1039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours was a characteristic voyage for the outfit, a direction that was needed. A modest account of teenage life, a plot fuelled by angst, sexual neglection and suburban alienation. That was a viewpoint the band had on their home life, a viewpoint they and thousands of other teenagers tried to address. Music was the only suppressant, a pleasure button they could press without being disregarded. Green Day first outing was a success. 1039 was an instant slab of punk, simply coordinated and brash, but punk/rock isn’t supposed be clean and groomed. Lookout found a hidden gem, and that started to shine brighter.

Smoothed sounded mature, lyrically sound and exuberant. From the first pace of ‘At the Library’ to the rage and disapprovement ‘Of Why Do You Want Him’ Billie Joe’s vocals were raw, cranky, and radical, with a right tone of Punk. From the starting point Green Day ignited Rock, stating a new revolution and bratty music bloomed and once again became lively. With music so angst ridden it became the norm. Featuring their own account, their own Punk formula, and a musical trio served justice.

Green Day ventured again into the recording studio in 1991.,to develop their second lookout release. Kerplunk was on the radar, a album lying on the same lines as Smoothed. An album yet again reviewed their teenage growing pains, with songs overblown with young angst. Kerplunk soled thousands of copies making lookout a prime fortune as well building the labels reputation. ‘Christie Road, ‘Welcome to Paradise’ were all placed among Kerplunk’s armoury. Songs that showed songwriters emphasise of his own self awareness.

Green Day eventually outgrew Gilman, they had and unmatched lead in Punk/Rock by the early 90’s. The venue that housed the band on their crusade had quickly became out of favour. The band played their last show in front of a crowd that were there from the very beginning, witnessing the band nurture and evolve into a true fixture. 1993 reared its head quickly; and Green Day ended their stay with Lookout Records to venture into Major league status. Lookout was a great nurturing sector for the trio who were destined to hit scales other Lookout recruits could only dream of. By 1993 Green Day signed a lavish deal with Reprise. A Record label build by Warner Bros, the company who were true leaders in film. Green Day would agree to undertake the task of releasing 5 studio albums under the Major label. And the band wasted no time in contributing.

Green Day latched onto a genre like leeches prowling for blood. The Berkeley Trio’s innovation under the splitting lights of punk rock was prominent in why the 90s was such a wholesome decade, with music so angst ridden it became the norm. Featuring their own account, their own Punk formula, and the Berkeley trio served justice when 94 arrived. The band set the punk/Rock fuse alight with an array of fast-paced, in your face gems. Dookie would land in 1994, taking the act to distant angles in Rock. Bolstering their reputation of being the next darlings of Punk.

Dookie still harboured the same raw emotion and intent as prior records. It was just more homogenised, with more defined and professional input. Yet again the album’s content previewed the acts analysis of sexual disarray. Featuring an in depth look at Humdrum life, the desire to get laid as well a weed influence, would you expect any less? Dookie was an awesome leap forward in terms of maturity and wealth. The songs were 2.minute lashings of punk in all its glory. From the outset to the conclusion, fans were left over-awed and musically junkiified.

Dookie’s decisive inclusion elevated the band to a broader future. The tracks were of higher quality, with a silky vocal overlay. From the drum infused intro of ‘Burnout’ to the calming, soothing aftermath of ‘FOD’ of course still flew into loud-mouthed belter. ‘Welcome to Paradise’ was given a new sheen as it was to good to be shelved. ‘Basket Case’ would become an instant hit, a flamboyant analysis of insanity. Overall, Dookie was a milestone, and it was only Green Day’s third full length album, that showed class. Dookie was conceived as the next great album after Nirvana’s masterpiece never mind. It took the band to sufficient places, making the act 10 million sellers. Dookie would later be praised gold, and be acclaimed by artists and critics alike.

1995 would be the year insomnia reeked havoc. Green Day took a spell out of the fast-paced train ride of punk, by becoming family men. Billie Joe was granted father-ship, so his rock star charge was put on a back-burner. The band needed a record to match or even overtake Dookie’s groundbreaking stance as their elevator to true punk/rock prominence, and an album influenced by sleepless nights would become the challenger. With a dark overtone, insomniac was released in late 95. An overbearing urge to get noticed again was put in remission; insomniac may have been a dampener as couldn’t quite aim high enough. Not as fundamental or glittering as Dookie, but Musician’s mature.

Dookie spoke of teenage growing pains, masturbation, weed, and humdrum suburbia. Insomniac spoke of family values, as the band entered new places. All though insomniac wasn’t a consistent inspiration as the masterpiece that cemented Green Day, the album had its fair share of jewels. Opening with slickness, ‘Armatage Shanks’ starts a healthy track list. Billie Joe writes about a mindset engulfed with dread and self-disregard. The singer enters a darker world, maturing heavily when bellowing out insomniac’s profound content. The catchy ‘Stuck with me’ has a Dookie influence, not sticking to insomniac’s deep tone. ‘Geek Stink Breath’ quirky intro settles into a belter that beds into the mind, insomniacs has a knack of achieving such things. A song discussing the consequences of Crystal Meth, a substance that’s ridden in America’s drug underworld. Insomniac’s growth misses a few inches. As follow up albums go, it’s half-measured, and half-inspiring as Dookie. But still packed enough classics to keep the fans craving another slice.

Insomniac sells where heavily inferior to that of Dookie’s. The band only shifted 5 million copies, still a hefty margin, but disappointing considering prior achievements. If it was only a basic poster boy band that earned sales of that magnitude, then the World would sit and take notice, but Green Day is a special band, and special bands should top statistics and learn from media scrutiny. Fans argued and shared their thoughts on Insomniac; some even stated that it outclassed Dookie, some called for its execution, that’s how stern Music followers can be. Green Day then took a break from the overhaul of Music’s stronghold as two years passed without a sound.
In 1997, Green Day burrowed out of hibernation with 4th instalment Nimrod. A layered album breaching the darkness, and fierce undertone of Insomniac. Green Day was entering modern times, music angled towards pop/punk. Music was changing, alternating under the noses of a band that kick-started revolutions when music really mattered.

Nimrod was a contrasting barrier, free-flowing with centrepiece classics. Deeply melodic, Green Day showed a softer approach to punk. Battling off manufactured bands that tried to overtake and steal the Berkeley Trio’s crown, Green Day fought and won with no blood shed. Nimrod elegance was a factor of the bands maturity. They weren’t teenage outcasts anymore; they were adults, a band growing old gracefully. Nimrod was that of grace, in sound and in motive. Dookie had no influence in Nimrod’s charge for glory. From the outset melody becomes apparent; the cranky, strewn sound is replaced by a more defined, earthy feel. Not to say that nimrod is cowardly or a watered down anti-punk cause, it is punk, just with a prettier face.

The commence sounds pure Green Day, ‘Nice Guys Finish Last’ bolsters the album intent of Green Day not letting their guard down, nimrod still had a enough beefy tracks to accompany the melodic verve. Billie Joe’s vocal work is precise; his voice seems to improve as the album progresses. A prominent factor in ‘Scattered’ an invigorating input on the record. Armstrong expresses a love-struck innocence in his lyrical array. Green Day can talk about love-loss without tampering with musical values. ‘Hitchin a Ride’ sounds freakishly formidable, using a harp to open proceedings. One of the bands exhilarating pieces, it carefully builds to a screaming conclusion. Nimrod gains more clarity as melody bears all. ‘Good Riddance (Time of Life)’ delivers sentimentality and inspirational drive. Armstrong’s heartfelt lyrics pull ferociously at the heartstrings, purifying the ears of listeners who feel his vulnerability. A ballad with exceptional acoustic properties, a sound completely bright eyed and wisdom fuelled, could be Green Day’s finest?

Nimrod was modest in sales, but brilliantly enchanting. Serving a purpose for the band and punk as a whole, Green Day matured without cutting the throat of their routes. But For all of Green Day’s work, the Dookie ghost couldn’t be vanished. Those days were long gone as the band were growing up, becoming more safe. The 90’s conclusion was fast approaching; the millennium was on the horizon. Masturbation, weed, teenage angst was all pounced upon, addressed by an act trailing towards fresh lookouts.

The year 2000 reared its head. The World was ready for modern times to take place. Music was beginning to morph, grow an over-skin where generic bands could take shelter. Bands like Sum 41, Sugercult, yellowcard, were taking the reins as emo rock entered the race. A generic bunch of acts were emerging as Green Day analysed their situations as a band and as a unit. Was it worth it? For them to try patrol music once again, or was it safe for them to take a back seat. Of course they broke out, of course they jumped upon the bandwagon once again, and music depended on their inclusion. Berkeley’s prime assets came forward with ‘Warning’. A collection of brutal statements with underlays of political conflict. Green Day disapproved of America’s presidential appointment, and Warning would be the start to a feud that would progress beyond.

Warning was a different take on Punk, a marvel for Green Day to exploit their diversity. Written with a point to prove they were worthy enough in the latter stages. It was far from Dookie as Green Day could get, not a bad thing. But it still didn’t match the sheer flawlessness of 94s major breakthrough. Yeah it had a minor collection of treats like title track ‘Warning’ and the ferocious, high pitched crowd pleaser ‘Minority’ a track with political edges. Also a sense of subtlety in ‘Macy Day Parade’. But still no masterpiece. Green Day left a mark on the millennium. Maybe not much of an impact that their faithful expected, but Warning never lacked character, intent, or quality, it just didn’t match past efforts. The band however would undertake a new strategy; their next chapter would have a plot that would entice the harshest critic. Green Day released a greatest hits collection in 2001. A bundle of their honourable scores named ‘International Superhits’ Perceptions grew as the band was pressured under the microscope. Fans and critics alike became one; they fought of Green Day as a band who was ready to give up their musical crown. And how wrong they were.

Lengthy spells became Green Day’s forte; they are renowned for backing away from the spotlight. By 2004, America was war torn. A country swamped in a dark mist left from tragedy and turbulence. Presidential affairs were becoming ludicrous, a farce beyond calamity. Music was barricaded by MTV wannabes who cared more for look than musical contribution; it was a damaging time for the Worlds most powerful nation. A band build their own protest, carefully strung together a musical phenomenon, featuring a story, a rebel, and a whole load of impact.

Green Day released ‘American Idiot’ in September 2004. A masterpiece laced with bright shining gems and 9 minute plus sensations. The act wanted their viewpoint on their country addressed, and Music was the vital kick-start. American Idiot previewed alienation and humdrum suburbia, it analysed America’s lack of policy. Also it told the story of St Jimmy, a rejected, dejected rebel wandering the suburban boulevards in disarray. American Idiot was masterful in content and meaning, Green Day really struck a chord. American Idiot is a concept album, a rock opera surveying America for all its flaws. Its plot and story is enchanting and intriguing, its impact is miraculous. Lyrically Billie Joe writes from an inner deep sanctum, his mind absolutely runs riot on American Idiot. The album features songs that are dark, mysterious and heavily sentimental. From the start to the finish, the record is flawless.

American Idiot starts ferociously with self-titled track ‘American Idiot’ a real fuckoff attitude arises when the song progresses into a flavoursome chorus. The band adds their own scent to the political wave. American’s Idiots story becomes more profound with a 9 minute train-ride. ‘Jesus of Suburbia’ portrays the life of a rebel stuck in rut, living a life of severe dysfunction and self-loath. He walks the streets of suburbia alone, disarmed from every aspect of reality. His broken body barely hangs him together, he shivers in discontent, and he has no home. JOS musical properties are inventive and highly charged, Green Day certainly branch out their 3 chord comfort zones. Green Day is precise to every note, Mike Dirnt’s Guitar inclusion sounds pristine, the song becomes an obsession.

Next comes ‘Holiday’ the most articulate analysis of America’s political ruin, Armstrong speaks of his discontent of the presidential stronghold, or lack of it. Musically vibrant and lyrically immaculate ‘Holiday’ meets expectation. ‘Are We the Waiting’ mellows the euphoria that ‘Holiday’ dispossessed. St Jimmy seems to trail the streets in silence his life is burning down before his eyes; he lacks the will to wake up from his own nightmare. Green Day portray wonderfully how alienation can suffocate a persons self-motivation. The main character has his own song dedicated to him. St Jimmy blasts through the mellow sooths of ‘Are We the Waiting’ and enlightens the record like it was on fire. Boulevard of Broken Dreams is another memorable staple. A classic power ballad, with vocal tones that are beautifully orchestrated. St Jimmy still walks alone, misguided into a plight so profound he can’t discharge himself. His signified rage goes unaware; this story becomes appealing to the masses.

American Idiot pushed a band relying on a prized asset forward beyond expectation. Gaining new followers, becoming World beaters; it made them the biggest and most successful punk band off all time. All that from a trio who talked about teenage angst, sexual deprivation, weed and boredom. American Idiot reinstated Green Day’s prominence, it made them valuable again. Progressing them to more defined heights, it even outsold the masterful Dookie. From Gilman, to Arena’s, to Stadium Rock, they’ve made it look so damn effortless.

By Mark McConville

Thanks to markmcconvile@hotmail.co.uk for submitting the biography.


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