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.
Let’s find out some interesting facts about them!
1. Green Day was originally part of the punk scene at the DIY 924 Gilman Street club in Berkeley, California.
2. 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.
3. Green Day was widely credited, alongside fellow California punk bands Sublime, Bad Religion, The Offspring, Blink-182, and Rancid, with popularizing and reviving mainstream interest in punk rock in the United States.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. The band’s eighth studio album, 21st Century Breakdown, was released in 2009 and achieved the band’s best chart performance to date.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. Green Day has sold more than 85 million records worldwide.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. Also in 2010, Green Day was ranked no. 91 in the VH1 list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”.
13. 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.
14. The band has generated controversy over whether the band’s musical style and major-label status constitutes “true punk”. In reaction to both the style of music and the background of the band, John Lydon, former front man of the 1970s punk band the Sex Pistols commented:
15. “So there we are fending off all that and it pisses me off that years later a wank outfit like Green Day hop in and nick all that and attach it to themselves. They didn’t earn their wings to do that and if they were true punk they wouldn’t look anything like they do.”
16. Bassist Mike Pritchard adopted the name ‘Dirnt’ from school, where his favourite hobby was playing “air-bass”. He sang ‘dirnt, dirnt, dirnt’ while plucking invisible strings. Billie Joe is the only band member who has retained his real surname – Armstrong.
17. Billie Joe Armstrong wrote an article on “how to be a couch potato” in punk fanzine ‘Absolutely Zippo’ in 1989. Since then, sofas have been an ongoing theme: the band’s breakthrough came with ‘Dookie’, in which Armstrong is seen sitting on a couch. A few minutes before this was filmed, Armstrong had watched news of Kurt Cobain’s death on the TV, while sitting on that very couch.
18. ‘American Idiot’ became such a massive comeback for the band that the group adapted it into a hit Broadway play in 2010.
19. Mike Dirnt was adopted. His adopted parents got divorced when he was young.
20. Number 17. Billie Joe’s father died of cancer when Billie was 10 years old. Before he died, he gave Billie Joe his first guitar. Billie named it Blue and now has many replicas of it.
21. During Green Day’s early years, Billie Joe Armstrong used to have a nose ring. He ended up having to remove it because somehow it kept getting caught on his guitar.
22. Just like with “Good Riddance,” Billie Joe Armstrong wrote “Wake Me Up When September Ends” years before it was finally released on American Idiot in 2004. Armstrong wrote the song about the death of his father, who passed away from cancer in September 1982, when Billie was only 10 years old.
23. For Green Day’s first US tour in the early nineties they rode around the country in an old bookmobile (a mobile library.) Tré’s father converted the bookmobile in to a tour bus, and also served as the band’s driver.