Green Day


Green Day was part of the California punk scene. Childhood friends Billie Joe Armstrong (guitar, vocals) and Mike Dirnt (bass; born Mike Pritchard) formed their first band, Sweet Children, in Rodeo, California when they were 14 years old. By 1989, the group had added drummer Al Sobrante and changed their name to Green Day. That year, the band independently released their first EP, 1,000 Hours, which was well-received in the punk scene. Soon, the group had signed a contract with the local independent label, Lookout! Records. 39/Smooth, Green Day's first album, was released later that year. Shortly after its release, the band replaced Kiftmeyer with Tre Cool (born Frank Edwin Wright, III); Tre Cool became the band's permanent drummer.

Throughout the early '90s, Green Day continued to cultivate a cult following, which only gained strength with the release of their second album, 1992's Kerplunk. The underground success of Kerplunk led to a wave of interest from major record labels; the band eventually decided to sign with Reprise. Dookie, Green Day's major label debut, was released in the spring of 1994. Thanks to MTV support for the initial single "Longview," Dookie became a major hit.

The album continued to gain momentum throughout the summer, with the 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 helped the sales of Dookie increase. By the time the fourth single "When I Come Around" began its seven-week stay at number one in the modern rock charts in early 1995, Dookie had sold over five million copies in the US alone; it would eventually top eight million in America, selling over eleven million copies internationally. Dookie also won the 1994 Grammy for Best Alternative Music Performance.

Green Day quickly followed Dookie with Insomniac in the fall of 1995; during the summer, they hit number one again on the modern rock charts with "J.A.R.," their contribution to the Angus soundtrack. Insomniac performed well initially, entering the US charts at number two, and selling over two million copies by the spring of 1996, yet none of its singles -- including the radio favorite "Brain Stew/Jaded" -- were as popular as those from Dookie. In the spring of 1996, Green Day abruptly cancelled a European tour, claiming exhaustion. Following the cancellation, the band spent the rest of the year resting and writing new material. The end result is what is called by many, the best album of their career, Nimrod.

Nimrod was well recieved by most critics and fans. The album sold 80,000 copies in it's first week to land at #10 on the Billboard charts. The first single from Nimrod was "Hitchin' A Ride". The single made it to #5 on the modern rock charts and was in heavy rotation on MuchMusic and MTV. The next single the band released would not make it to number one (it's highest position was #2), but it is now probably the most well known songs Green Day ever wrote. Featuring Billie Joe on accoustic guitar and vocals, "Time Of Your Life" became the song to play in any remotely sad situation. The song was even used on the last ever episode of the hit TV show Seinfeld (it was also the most watched finale in the history of TV).

Along with Seinfeld, the song was also played on E.R on two different shows. Nimrod has sold about two million copies, the lowest sales total out of their three major label albums, but it probably garnered the band more respect than they could have expected with another Dookie or Insomniac. The band also vastly improved their live show and even one "Best Live Performance" at the Kerrang awards.

After nearly two years with barely any mention of the band, Green Day returned in late 1999 to play Neil Young's "Bridge School Benefit Concert", their first live accoustic performance. Green Day began recording their follow-up to "Nimrod" shortly after, which would eventually become "Warning:". Early in the recording process, the band decided to fire their new producer, Scott Litt, and produce the album themselves, marking the first time since "Kerplunk" that anyone but Rob Cavallo produced the bands recording. After they finished recording, Green Day decided to do something else they hadn't done before headline the 2000 Vans Warped Tour. Green Day played an amazing set and brought more fans to the tour than any other year in Warped's history (their Toronto performance alone attracted 7,000 more fans than they had any other year).

"Warning:" was released in the fall of 2000, and is by far Green Day's most ambitious album to date. If its first singles, "Minority" and the album's title track, are any indication, the album could prove to be extremely successful. Just four weeks after the release of "Minority", it sat atop Billboard's Modern Rock chart; no other Green Day song has hit the top that fast. Green Day are currently on tour supporting their latest album, boasting a monster setlist containing songs from all six albums.

Green Day has made an album with songs from warning, Nimrod, Insomniac and Dookie called international superhits. It also has two new songs. Green Day is not on tour currntly but they are writing new songs for a future album. Green Day has also made an album entitled Shenanigans in 2002.

Billie Joe Armstrong

Full Name : Billie Joe Armstrong
Plays : Vocals, Guitar
Born : February 17, 1972
Family : wife, Adrienne ( Nesser, married July 1994); son, Joseph Marciano (born March 1995); son, Jacob Danger (born September 1998)
Also Plays : Harmonica, Mandolin, Drums, Piano
Has Also Played With : Pinhead Gunpowder, Blatz, Rancid, the Lookouts, Goodbye Harry, Corrupted Morals

Billie Joe was the youngest of six kids in a working-class family in Rodeo, California. His father was a truck driver and part time jazz musician who died of cancer when Billie Joe was ten, his mother a waitress and diehard country music fan. As a child, Billie would sing at hospitals to cheer patients up. He also recorded a song called "Look For Love" for the locally based Fiat Records when he was five. The first album Billie Joe bought was Elvis Presley's The Sun Sessions. Soon after a couple friends got him hooked on punk bands like DOA, TSOL, and the Dead Kennedys. At age eleven, Billie got his first guitar, a blue Stratocaster that he plays to this day. He wrote his first song, "Why Do You Want Him", when he was 14. Billie Joe is the co-founder and partial owner of the independant label Adeline Records.

Billie Joe's favorite and most famous guitar is a Fernandes Stratocaster copy he called "Blue". It has two single-coil pick-ups and a Seymour Duncan "Jeff Beck" humbucker pick-up in the bridge position, but he only plays through the humbucker pickup. He has since had a copy of "Blue" made by Fender. It is exactly the same as the original one, but with different stickers on it. He also has a Fender Jazzmaster, a sonic blue Fender Jagstang, a Gibson Classic Series ES-135 and ES-335, an SG, a Rickenbacker, and a Guild sunburst acoustic. Billie Joe mainly uses a clone of his original 1959 Marshall 100W SLP modified amplifier, with 1960 4x12" Marshall Cabinets. He has also used Fender Bassman, Hiwatt, and Leslie amps. Billie mainly uses green, custom made Dunlop Tortex Standard .88mm picks, Ernie Ball .10 strings, and GHS Boomers.

Mike Dirnt

Full Name : Michael Pritchard
Plays : Bass, Backing Vocals
Born : May 4, 1972
Family : daughter, Estelle Desiree (born April 1997 to ex-wife, Anastasia)
Also Plays : Farfisa, Guitar, Drums, Baseball Bat
Has Also Played With : The Frustrators, Screeching Weasel, Crummy Musicians, Squirtgun

Mike was born of a heroin-addicted mother and was put up for adoption. His adoptive parents divorced when he was seven, at which point he began dividing his time between their separate households. He met Billie Joe in the fifth grade, and ended up working with his mother at Rod's Hickory Pit. At fifteen he rented a room on the side of Billie's house. Though he & his ex-wife, Anastasia divorced, they are still good friends, and he visits their daughter, Estelle, as often as possible.

Mike mainly plays a Gibson G-3 bass, but he has recently been using Fender '66 and '69 American Standard Precision basses. He has also used a Fender '62 Vintage Precision bass. Mike uses a Mesa/Boogie "Bassis M-2000" (MB2000) amplifier through custom made 6x10" and 1x18" Mesa/Boogie cabinets, custom made yellow Dunlop .73mm picks, and Ernie Ball strings.

Tre Cool

Full Name : Frank Edwin Wright III
Plays : Drums, Percussion
Born : December 9, 1972
Family : wife, Claudia (married May 2000); daughter, Ramona (born 1995 to ex-wife, Lisea)
Also Plays : Accordion, Guitar
Has Also Played With : The Lookouts, Samiam

Tré grew up in Willits, California, with his father and two siblings. His dad built many of the houses in that area, including that of Lawrance Livermore, their nearest neighbor and the founder of Lookout! Records. At age twelve, he joined Livermore's band, the Lookouts. Shortly after Al Sobrante left Green Day, Tré hopped aboard. Tré and his wife, Claudia, are expecting their first child.

Tré has his own signature Slingerland drumkit, the "Spitfire". It consists of a 18x22 Slingerland Bass drum, a 5 1/2x14 Slingerland Radio King Snare, a 6 1/2x14 Chrome snare, an 11x14 Slingerland mounted tom, and a 16x16 Slingerland floor tom. Though the Spitfire comes with Slingerland cymbals, Tré still uses a 19" Zildjian K Dark Thin Crash on the left, a 20" Zildjian A Medium Ride on the right, a 22" Zildjian K Heavy Ride on the bottom right, a 14" Zildjian K Medium Top, 14" K Medium Heavy Bottom Hi-Hats, and Zildjian Super 5B drumsticks. He also uses Remo Power Stroke 3 on his snare and bass drums, Remo Coated emperors on the tops of his toms, clear ambassadors on the bottoms, and Remo Falam Slam Pad on the bass drum.

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