Green Day Biography
Green Day is an American punk rock band formed in 1986 by lead vocalist and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong and bassist Mike Dirnt. For much of the group’s career, the band has been a trio with drummer Tré Cool, who replaced former drummer John Kiffmeyer in 1990 prior to the recording of the band’s second studio album, Kerplunk (1991). Guitarist Jason White, who has worked with the band as a touring member since 1999, was an official member from 2012 to 2016.
Green Day was originally part of the punk scene at the DIY 924 Gilman Street club in Berkeley, California. The band’s early releases were with the independent record label Lookout! Records. In 1994, its major label debut Dookie (released through Reprise Records) became a breakout success and eventually shipped over 10 million copies in the U.S. Green Day was widely credited, alongside fellow California punk bands Sublime, Bad Religion, The Offspring, and Rancid, with popularising and reviving mainstream interest in punk rock in the United States.
Green Day’s three follow-up albums, Insomniac (1995), Nimrod (1997), and Warning (2000) did not achieve the massive success of Dookie, though they were still successful, with Insomniac and Nimrod reaching double platinum and Warning achieving platinum status. The band’s rock opera, American Idiot (2004), reignited the band’s popularity with a younger generation, selling six million copies in the U.S. The band’s eighth studio album, 21st Century Breakdown, was released in 2009 and achieved the band’s best chart performance to date. 21st Century Breakdown was followed up by a trilogy of albums called ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, and ¡Tré!, which were released in September, November and December 2012 respectively. The band’s twelfth studio album, Revolution Radio was released on October 7, 2016 and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, their third album to do so.
Green Day has sold more than 85 million records worldwide. The group has won five Grammy Awards: Best Alternative Album for Dookie, Best Rock Album for American Idiot, Record of the Year for “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, Best Rock Album for the second time for 21st Century Breakdown and Best Musical Show Album for American Idiot: The Original Broadway Cast Recording. In 2010, a stage adaptation of American Idiot debuted on Broadway. The musical was nominated for three Tony Awards: Best Musical, Best Scenic Design and Best Lighting Design, losing only the first. Also in 2010, Green Day was ranked no. 91 in the VH1 list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”. On April 18, 2015, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a part of the 2015 class in their first year of eligibility.
Green Day’s sound is often compared to first wave punk rock bands such as the Ramones, The Clash, Sex Pistols, The Jam, and the Buzzcocks. Stylistically, the group is characterized as punk rock, pop punk and alternative rock. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic described Green Day as “punk revivalists who recharged the energy of speedy, catchy three-chord punk-pop songs.” While Armstrong is the primary songwriter, he looks to the other band members for organisational help. Billie Joe Armstrong has mentioned that some of his biggest influences are seminal alternative rock bands Hüsker Dü and The Replacements, and that their influence is particularly noted in the band’s chord changes in songs. Green Day has covered Hüsker Dü’s “Don’t Want to Know If You Are Lonely” as a b-side to the “Warning” single, and the character “Mr. Whirly” in the group’s song “Misery” is a reference to the Replacements song of the same name. Among other influences, Green Day have also cited The Kinks, The Who and power pop pioneers Cheap Trick. English rock musician Noel Gallagher of Oasis complained about the band semi-jokingly, claiming that the band had ripped off his song “Wonderwall” with its song “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”.
Biography text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply.