11 bands and artists who wouldn’t be here without Green Day
Green Day didn’t invent pop-punk. The likes of The Ramones, the Buzzcocks and Descendents had all mixed buzzsaw punk energy with infectious pop hooks before, but it was Green Day that exploded the form into the mainstream – where it’s remained ever since. 1994’s Dookie completely reshaped the post-Nirvana musical landscape, but the trio weren’t content with just the one culturally significant album. Released a full decade later, the politically-charged punk opera American Idiot redefined what a band from a punk rock background could do, inspiring a whole new generation in the process.
There’s certainly a case to say that Green Day influenced every even vaguely pop-punk flavoured band that came after, but here are 11 artists who owe more than most to the Berkeley veterans…
Fall Out Boy
Fall Out Boy have gone on to inspire a generation themselves with their quirky emo-tinged pop-rock, but one of their own primary influences was Green Day. When FOB had the honour of inducting their heroes into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2004, Patrick Stump talked about how he used to cut class to listen to Dookie on cassette. “The other kids had Guns N’ Roses and Nirvana, and I fell in love with that later, but in 1994, none of that was me,” he said during their speech. “This was all mine. I followed every interview, I watched every TV performance.”
Speaking of warm welcomes, pop megastar Billie Eilish also had the pleasure gushing about the band as she introduced Green Day at the 2019 American Music Awards, revealing their influence on her and her older brother FINNEAS. “So 25 years ago, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool recorded their iconic album Dookie,” she said. “Growing up, there was no band more important to me or my brother.” That same year, both Billies hung out as part of Rolling Stone’s Musicians On Musicians series, with the singer pointing in amazement at the Green Day frontman as she was sat next to him: “Can you believe he’s right there?!” Which is a totally understandable reaction, to be fair.
Californian garage-punks FIDLAR not only borrowed from Green Day’s style – vocalist/guitarist Zac Carper has previously talked about similarities in their “happy/sad song thing” – there’s also a chance that the frontman literally might not be here without Billie Joe Armstrong. Their debut album featured songs like Cocaine and Blackout Stout and it was no mere posturing. The frontman went beyond ‘partying’ into full-blown addiction. “I was a huge junkie. I was a full-on heroin addict and meth head. I’d do heroin and then I would have to get up to play a show or something, so then I’d smoke some speed,” he told Consequence of Sound. He also experienced at least three heroin overdoses. It was an hour-long call from Billie Joe, who has a well-documented history of substance abuse issues himself, that helped get Zac on the road to recovery. “I probably wouldn’t be sober today if Billie Joe didn’t call,” he admitted. “He really helped me when no-one else was there.”
“Wait a minute…” the blink fans cry. “blink-182 formed before anyone even knew who Green Day were.” Which is true, as far as it goes. In 1992 Green Day were a popular band at legendary punk venue 924 Gilman Street, but hardly a global phenomenon. They would, however, blow the doors wide open for blink to follow through half a decade later, and also influenced their still-developing sound. In an interview on Chris DeMakes of Less Than Jake’s podcast, Mark Hoppus revealed that breakthrough hit What’s My Age Again? sprang from him faffing around with the riff to Green Day’s J.A.R. “I was messing around on the guitar trying to learn that and then I kind of messed up the progression and I played it incorrectly,” he said, before reminiscing about being a massive fanboy when both bands played together for the first time.
New Found Glory
In 2021, pop-punk’s (still) not dead, and New Found Glory have done more than most to keep its chewy, gooey heart beating. The Floridian champs helped write the blueprint heading into the 21st century, but again their own primary inspirations were the three dudes from Green Day. Asked by Noisecreep to name the single album that had been their biggest influence, singer Jordan Pundik said: “You can talk to everyone in the band but I’d be surprised if they all didn’t say Dookie by Green Day.” Drummer Cyrus Bolooki agreed: “Definitely. That was the game-changer. I’ll never forget seeing them way back, in front of like 200 people…”
All Time Low
You can follow that thread directly from Green Day through blink-182 and NFG to arguably the current wearers of the pop-punk crown, All Time Low. In an interview on Medium.com, frontman Alex Gaskarth said: “When we first started the band we were really all about the pop-punk scene and bands like New Found Glory, Green Day, blink-182, they’re sort of like the stapled stands that encouraged us to start playing music as a group and they all just brought us together and all had an equal responsibility to making All Time Low.” The Baltimore mob actually took their name from a New Found Glory lyric, but Green Day were the fount from which all these bands essentially sprang.
It wasn’t just the ‘pure’ pop-punks who took inspiration from Green Day, but also a generation of more emo and post-hardcore types. Talking to Nylon about the track Basket Case, Hawthorne Heights frontman JT Woodruff said: “When I first heard this song, I had not even started playing guitar yet. Somehow I could tell that the chord progression was complex, yet attainable. The perfect combination of basic, yet symphonic. I love the strumming pattern there as well. There are a few little nuances and string scrapes that make it perfectly ragged, which is why it’s punk. Green Day gave me hope in my teenage years, which gave me the courage to start playing the guitar. This is the song that did it.”
You don’t have to rely on three guitar chords to have a punk attitude, and Lady Gaga has been one of the most provocative artists of the last decade and a bit – arguably far more punk than thrashing out a well-worn musical formula. And it turns out that Green Day were an early obsession of a young Stefani Germanotta. Speaking at a press conference back in 2009 she revealed: “I remember when I bought Green Day‘s Dookie, I just wanted to lick the pages from the booklet! That particular album, I mean, it is iconic.”
As It Is
As It Is frontman Patty Walters still rates Green Day’s epic 2005 American Idiot set at Milton Keynes Bowl as one of the best shows he’s ever been to. Speaking of the equally epic album, he told Rock Sound: “I think it gets overlooked so often how incredible it is. And how groundbreaking it was for a band of this scene to do something quite like that. Green Day in particular were this three-chord punk rock band, or pop-punk band, and then they just made one of the greatest records that the scene has ever seen before. I covered songs off that record, and I think we all did in our past bands – it’s just such an influential album.”
Sometimes it’s about having an impact on the music a band writes, and at other times it’s about inspiring a person to pick up an instrument and give it a go in the first place. Asked what first made her want to pick up a guitar, Doll Skin six-stringer Alex Snowdon told Guitar.com that it was seeing Green Day on the American Idiot tour when she was nine. “I remember being like, ‘Whatever that guy is doing with that guitar, that’s what I want to do,’” she recalled. “I want to be onstage playing my guitar for people who love it. It was so thrilling and stuck with me so hard and fast. Literally the next day, I said: ‘Mom, I really want to take guitar lessons,’ ”
Crown The Empire
Not every future muso inspired by Green Day went on to play punk. As Andy Leo, singer and keyboardist with progressive metalcore types Crown The Empire, explained in one interview: “I would watch music videos every morning before school on MTV when I was 11. When I heard American Idiot in rotation, my face melted. I got it as a Christmas gift along with a Tom DeLonge signature guitar from my parents – that I still own it to this day – and it introduced the idea of anarchy and a ‘fuck you’ attitude to a pissy suburban teenager.”
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