At the age of 11, Billie Joe Armstrong received a guitar, which he named “Blue,” from his mother. Now approaching 30, it is still Armstrong’s favorite guitar. And even after the success of his band, Green Day, Armstrong has yet to straighten his crooked smile.
It is this humble-yet-punk rock attitude that has guided Armstrong (vocals, guitar), Mike Dirnt (bass) and Tre Cool (drums) through more than 12 years of playing music together. The band began playing shows at 924 Gilman St., a local punk club in Berkeley, Ca., and they were soon signed to Lookout Records, where they released their first two albums beginning with 1,039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours in 1990 and Kerplunk the following year.
But in 1993, the band signed with Reprise Records, making a choice that would change not only the band but also the face of music.
And then the dookie hit the charts.
After years of growing up in the music scene, Green Day has released a compilation of their best-selling songs on International Superhits!, which includes tracks from Dookie through their 2000 release, Warning, and everything in between, ranging from
“Basket Case” to “Brain Stew” to “Stuck With Me” and “Minority.” The album also contains two previously unreleased songs, and the band also produced a collection of their music videos which was released on DVD and video, titled International Supervideos!. Green Day has kept an air of apathy toward criticism about themselves through their successes while maintaining an attitude of doing whatever they want, whenever they please. The band led a massive mud fight at Woodstock ’94 and continues to bring a similar energy to the crowd during their shows.
However, evidence of the band maturing can be seen since Dookie, due to the fact that the three members have married and had children.
The band went from singing about masturbation in “Longview” to struggling with speed in “Geek Stink Breath” to dealing with life-lasting relationships in “Redundant.” They have even produced ballads, the first of which, “Good Riddance,” shocked critics with its slow-paced music and sentimental lyrics. Green Day will soon be releasing the video for “Macy’s Day Parade,” another ballad, but this time from the Warning album.
“Maria” and “Poprocks & Coke,” new songs released on International Superhits!, once again prove Green Day hasn’t lost their touch. Both upbeat songs again reflect the maturation of the lyrics, and the music reflects the fact that these guys know each other like the childhood friends they are.
- Lindsay Foster is The Oracle features editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org