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Through innovation, socially critical lyrics and an anarchic attitude, Green Day conquered the mainstream music scene in the early 90s. Like a lot of bands, Green Day was formed through a coincidence. Billie Joe Armstrong first met bassist Mike Dirnt at elementary school in Crockett, California and they became instant friends. Armstrong and Dirnt were of the same mind - especially when it came to music and as teenagers, they had both been enthusiastic about punk bands like the "Ramones" and the "Dead Kennedys.
Armstrong and Dirnt formed their first band at the age of 14, together with drummer Sean Hughes, This first band project was called "Sweet Children” and achieved some success, especially in the San Francisco Bay area where the trio played their first live performances. In 1989, drummer Sean Hughes was replaced by Al Sobrante and the band recorded their first album under the new name ‘Green Day’ with local label Lookout Records. A couple of years later the drummer was replaced again, this time by Tre Cool who has been setting the pace in various band projects since he was 12 years old.
From underground to breakthrough
When drummer Tre Cool joined Green Day, it marked the beginning of an explosive time for the band.
In 1991 they secured a permanent contract with Lookout Records and later that same year they released a collection of their early recordings called "1,039 / Smoothed Out Slappy Hours".
The timing was perfect. A new music genre called Punk that had emerged during the 1970s was experiencing a resurgence around the same time that Green Day published their first works. This contributed significantly to the trio's success, especially in California, and a devoted community of hardcore Green Day fans quickly grew around the band.
Their next album Kerlpunk was released shortly afterwards, which saw unprecedented success in the underground scene, and the band soon started to attract the attention of bigger record labels. Reprise records transformed Green Day from an underground punk band into a commercial success that appealed to mainstream music fans and in 1994 “Dookie” was released. More than 25 million copies of Dookie have been sold and the album earnt the band their first career GRAMMY for “Best Alternative Music Performance”.
The next albums followed shortly afterwards with "Insomniac" (1995), “Nimrod” (1997) and “Warning” (2000) but Green Day could not seem to build on the success of "Dookie" and took a break. Eagerly awaited by fans, the trio came back stronger than ever four years later, with an album called “American Idiot ”. The lyrics were mainly about manipulation by mass media, homophobia, mass hysteria and the American political system. The album seemed to express the fears and worries of the American people and it rapidly won favour with fans due to its political relevance. The band became a mouthpiece for many young American people who had become unsettled by the political situation under President George W Bush.
Over 12 million copies of American Idiot have been sold worldwide, and in 2005 Green Day received a second Grammy award but this time for "Best Rock Album". Single“Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, from the same album won the band another Grammy award in 2006, in the category of “Record of the Year”. The band’s subsequent album “21st Century Breakdown”, which was released in 2009, also received critical acclaim and Green Day won the Grammy for "Best Rock Album" for the second time.
In 2012, Green Day released the album trilogy “¡Uno!” , “¡Dos!” , And “¡Tré!”, followed by “Revolution Radio” in 2016. As usual, the lyrics centred around tackling political and social issues, but musically the band had reverted back to their early punk beginnings.
Father of All Motherfuckers
Four years after Revolution Radio, Green Day released another album with Reprise / Warner Records. The title track, “Father of All Motherfuckers”, was released on September 10, 2019, and the album of the same name was released on February 7, 2020. Unlike the lyrics of American Idiot which focused mainly on the topic of political grievances, this time the songs were about problems that people experience every day, such as depression or chaotic social conditions. Due to its brevity, the 26-minute album is reminiscent of earlier Green Day releases such as "Dookie".
With 5 Grammy awards and over 85 million records sold, Green Day are one of the most successful punk rock bands of all time. The upcoming big world tour also promises to be a success and Armstrong, Dirnt and Tre Cool plan to visit 42 cities across Europe, Russia, Asia and the USA.
Green Day Fan Shop
Green Day clothing is perfect for summer festivals and cuts a fine figure in front of the stages of the world. In the EMP online shop, you will find a large selection of official Green Day merchandise, including T-shirts, Hoodies and CDs. If you’re looking for casual Green Day tops or the latest album releases then you are in exactly the right place in the EMP Green Day Shop!