American punk rock band Green Day story started out in Rodeo, California, when 14-year-old childhood friends Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt formed their first band Sweet Children. In the newly-born band Joe was on lead vocals and guitar, whereas Mike on bass and backing vocals. By 1989, the group recruited drummer John Kiftmeyer and changed their name to Green Day after one of their songs. The original named Green Day was actually a bay area term for a day that you would just sit around and smoke pot the whole day.
In the same year the band independently released their first EP "1,000 Hours" which was well received in the punk scene. Soon afterward in 1990 the band signed a contract with independent label Lookout! Records, which was run by Larry Livermore, and released their debut album "1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hour" within that year.
Shortly after the release of "1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hour", Kiftmeyer announced he was going to college and suggested former drum tutor Tre Cool to replace his position as the band's drummer. Later in the early 90s, Green Day continued touring in local areas, writing and recording their 2nd album "Kerplunk", released in January 1992. Supported by tour ranging as far a field as the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy, Holland, Poland, and the Czech Republic, this album had become a hit, attracted major record labels to sign the band up, among which they decided to sign with Reprise Records.
And then "Dookie", Green Day's major label debut was released in the spring of 1994 and became a mainstream hit thanks to the relentless touring and somewhat surprising MTV support for its initial single "Longview." Through out the summer, "Dookie" continued to gain momentum with its second single "Basket Case" spending five weeks on the top of the American modern rock charts. At the end of the summer, the band stole the show at Woodstock '94, which automatically lifted up the sales of "Dookie".
Following the success of "Dookie" second single, its fourth single "When I Come Around" also stayed at number one in the modern rock charts in early 1995 for seven weeks, lifting the album sales over five million copies in the U.S. alone. Eventually, this success would definitely bring "Dookie" to top eight million records sold in America, and selling over eleven million copies internationally. Adjacent to this album commercial success, Green Day also received critical praise due to their 1994 Grammy win for Best Alternative Music Performance, which was quickly followed by their other topping hit "J.A.R.", a tribute to their friend Jason Andrew Relva, which appears on the soundtrack to the film "Angus."
After that, the band outed their next album dubbed "Insomniac", released in the fall of 1995. Just like Green Day's previous albums, "Insomniac" also entered the U.S. charts at number two and selling over two million copies by the spring of 1996, though none of the subsequent singles including the radio favorite "Brain Stew/Jaded" were as popular as those from "Dookie."
In the spring of 1996, citing exhaustion, Green Day abruptly canceled their European tour and spent their hiatus resting and writing new material, which resulted in what many people believe as their best album ever called "Nimrod." Released in the year of 1997, this album was well received by fans and critics as well, and was managing to land at #10 on the Billboard charts having sold 80,000 copies in its first week. Unfortunately, Green Day's comeback single "Hitchin' A Ride" could only reach #5 on the modern rock charts despite being placed in heavy rotation on MuchMusic and MTV.
To make up the failure, the band released their most successful single named "Time of Your Life" which is now becoming the most well-known song they have ever written, despite the fact that it couldn't be #1 in the mainstream charts. Featuring Billie Joe on acoustic guitar and vocals, and Petra Hayden on violin, this song became the one to play in any remotely sad situation; used on the very last episode of the hit TV show "Seinfeld", which was the most-watched climax in the TV history; and was also played during two different episodes of hit drama "ER", making it possibly the most heard song that year on television.
Unlike Green Day's "Dookie" or "Insomniac" albums that gained critical acclaim, "Nimrod" only sold about two million copies and was seen as a commercial flop in comparison. That's why during that period of time Green Day vastly improved their live show and even held one Best Live Performance at the Kerrang! Awards just to improve their rating. After nearly two years unexposed by the media, in 1999, the band returned to play their first live acoustic performance at Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit Concert, after which they began recording their 6th album, which they named "Warning."
In the album's early recording process, Green Day decided to fire producer Scott Litt and produce the album on their own. This would be the first time since "Kerplunk" that anyone other than Rob Cavallo had produced the band. Right after the recording finished, Green Day meant to do something they had not yet ever done by headlining the 2000 Vans Warped Tour, in which they played an amazing set and brought more fans to the tour than any other year in Warped's history.
Coming after the successful tour was "Warning" release that became Green Day's most ambitious album to date with its first single "Minority" sitting at the top of the Billboard Modern Rock Chart after just four weeks. Notwithstanding that "Warning" contained some of the band's best songs, mainly the third single "Waiting," many fans didn't really respond to the band's new punk-folk sound. And even though it has been certified platinum sales status, "Warning" is arguably Green Day's least successful album to that date.
Subsequent to the pros and cons of "Warning," Green Day released a greatest hits album entitled "International Super Hits" and a b-sides compilation called "Shenanigans" as well as their first DVD "International Supervideos!" which chronicles the band's music videos thus far. Soon after, they set a huge "Greatest Hits" world tour which led to assumptions the end was near for Green Day due to the fact that most bands only release a "Greatest Hits" album near the end of their career. Nonetheless, these rumors turned out to be false when after another long hiatus the band announced that a new album was in process.
So in the year of 2004, they released "American Idiot" which most lyrics indicated that Billie Joe has let loose some great political motivation, making this album the best of their career as it has been called a "punk rock opera," or more accurately a concept album telling the story of characters, such as St. Jimmy, Jesus of Suburbia, and Whatsername. As a matter of fact, Green Day tend to say this album merely as their public statement in reaction to the confusing and warped scene that is American pop culture and hence, it as a whole is more political than their previous ones, if for no other reason than their aging.
Additionally, Billy Joe said they chose to write this way because the band had obtained respect and sway in the music world, and that this social commentary was part of the natural evolution of a band. No matter what, Green Day's "American Idiot" successfully won a Grammy in 2005 for Best Rock Album along with 5 other Grammy nominations, and the song of "American Idiot" itself was featured in the video game "NFL Madden" 2005.
In early 2005 it was reported that Green Day's "American Idiot" was sold 100,167 copies, taking its total to 1.9 million units just 178 copies more than Eminem's "Encore" as the previous winner of the U.S. pop charts. Such succession made Green Day to be one on the top of the U.S. pop charts gaining seven Grammy (February 13, 2005) award nominations for their "American Idiot" was debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and ranked at No. 1 in Britain, Canada, Japan and Australia. In anticipation to that, the band toured all year long in what appeared to be their longest tour throughout their career. Approximately 130,000 people attended each of their concerts in Japan, Australia, South America and U.K. Two gigs within this tour were videotaped and released in a live "Bullet in a Bible (CD + DVD]".
Behind the success meanwhile, the band that had been in conflict with label Lookout! for unpaid royalties finally gave up the right to their pre-"Dookie" material. This material would then be released under their own label, Reprise, in January 2007. Moving on with their music career, the band only needed to sit down while honor streamed down their way. In 2006, Grammy awarded the trio Record of the Year for "Boulevard of Broken Dreams". The single spent 16 weeks at #1 slot in Billboard Modern Rock Tracks, a record which was previously attained by Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Scar Tissue" and Staind's "It's Been Awhile". The other equally popular single "Wake Me Up Before September Ends" almost snatched Best Rock Video in 2006 MTV Movie Awards when eventually AFI's "Miss Murder" took the title.
The year 2006 also saw the band moving on from easy-go-lucky punk icon to more subtle and charitable musicians. Teaming with U2 and producer Rick Rubin, the band recorded the song "The Saints Are Coming" for Hurricane Katrina victims. Towards the end of the year, a website was opened in partnership between Green Day and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to raise awareness on America's dependency on oil. In early 2007 on the other hand, the band laid pretty low with their only noted performance was on "American Idol". Appearing on the sixth season finale, the band sang the rendition of John Lennon's "Working Class Heroes". So huge was their influence that the band was included as one of the punk bands to be featured in a documentary about modern punk music.
Titled "One Nine One Four", Green Day's music was pictured as very influential to the music industry in the '90s. The video was slated to be released early 2008. Another taste of movie involvement was that in "The Simpsons Movie". Although appearing in animated characters, the members received the recognition using their own names. An interesting upturn was when the band switched the movie's iconic theme song to punk vibe. This song was released in a single version on July 24, 2007, three days before the movie's premiere in the U.S.
Later in 2008, Green Day tried something different to test their fans' loyalty. The group released an album under different pseudonym, Foxboro Hot Tubs. "Stop Drop and Roll" was released digitally in April that year and was supported by a mini U.S. tour. Apparently it was a prelude to their new studio album, which has a span of five years from the last effort. The band were recording with Butch Vig and only finished the work in April 2009. "21st Century Breakdown", was born May 15, 2009. The album received tremendous success, landing at number one in several countries and being certified gold. The album launched their first live shows in three years as Green Day in North America in July 2009.
An idea to expand the work of art began when the band met Oscar-winning director Michael Mayer who was interested to create a stage version of "American Idiot". A musical based on the album opened at Berkeley Repertory Theatre during the end of 2009. It featured characters described in the album such as Extraordinary Girl and Favorite Son. The play later moved to Broadway, prompting the group to write soundtrack for the musical including new song "When It's Time".
Green Day did relentless work during these years. Beside touring for "21st Century", the band also began working on a live album which was completed at the end of 2010. "Awesome as F**k" was released on March 22, 2011. The band spent the rest of the year working on their sixth studio album, even playing a secret show in Costa Mesa, California in which they played new materials. One of them was titled "Amy" which is an ode to Amy Winehouse who died several weeks before their show. It was also announced that "American Idiot" would have its movie version directed by Mayer and produced by the band.
In February 2012, Billie Joe confirmed that the work of a new album was in progress, adding it would be a trilogy called "Uno", "Dos" and "Tres". "We are at the most prolific and creative time in our lives," the vocalist said in a statement. "This is the best music we've ever written, and the songs just keep coming. Instead of making one album, we are making a three album trilogy. Every song has the power and energy that represents Green Day on all emotional levels. We just can't help ourselves." The albums were slated to be released on September 25, 2012, November 13, 2012, and January 15, 2013 respectively.