From mud fights to pyromania that would make a firefighter sweat to launching secretive side projects shrouded in denial to landing the story of a disenchanted suburban kid on Broadway, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool have done it all in their 30 years as a band. Here are some of their most unforgettable moments.
What do you do when you’re still finding your bearings in the world of major labels after being raised at 924 Gilman Street? If you’re Green Day, you put out a lead single written while on drugs, about doing drugs, that reeks of teenage ennui and has a touch of masturbation thrown in for good measure. Then, wait for the Grammy nomination (Best Hard Rock Performance).
Pop Disaster Tour
Two of today’s legacy pop-punk titans on tour together? Yup. Concert-goers in 2002 were lucky enough attend the Pop Disaster Tour, featuring Green Day and Blink-182 as co-headliners. If you missed out, you can experience the tour through support band Kut U Up’s point of view by watching Riding In Vans With Boys.
If you’re a diehard fan, you already know about Green Day’s penchant for side projects. Amid suspicion that they were a Green Day side band, the Network released an album, Money Money 2020, in 2003. To deal with those rumors, the Network did what anyone would do – came up with fake names like Fink (Armstrong), Van Gough (Dirnt) and the Snoo (Cool). For good measure, they also denounced Green Day in the ridiculous press conference above, complete with masks, costumes and phony accents. The Network haven’t been heard from since an October 2005 gig opening for Green Day.
Foxboro Hot Tubs
While Green Day never confirmed their members also moonlighted in the Network, they’ve owned up to being Foxboro Hot Tubs, who first surfaced in 2007. “Fuck Time,” a song originally performed by this project, was later released on Green Day’s ¡Dos! album. “The only similarity between Foxboro Hot Tubs and Green Day is that we are the same band,” Armstrong quipped, confirming the links between the two.
Young Green Day + muddy fans = mud fight. That was the formula for the trio’s legendary Woodstock ’94 set, during which fans threw mud at the band, and the band flung it right back. It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt—Dirnt, mistaken for a fan by a security guard, had his front teeth smashed out. As a result of the show, Dookie flew from No. 19 to No. 4 on the charts.
Burn It All Down
If your set is over, you might as well take it down in flames. That’s exactly what Cool did at the end of a 1998 gig in Vancouver—he set fire to his drum kit and let it burn. He did it again during a performance on the 2000 Warped Tour, setting his drums ablaze during “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life).”
Sweet Children reunion
Days before Green Day were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2015, they played a show at the Cleveland House Of Blues. Direct support for that show came from Sweet Children, aka the band that would become Green Day, complete with original drummer Al Sobrante. Their setlist was bursting with old songs, some of which hadn’t been performed since the early ’90s.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Few bands are inducted into the Rock Hall the first year they’re eligible for nomination (25 years after the release of an artist’s first record). Green Day are among those few, and were formally inducted in 2015 by Fall Out Boy. “No one else can do anything the way Green Day does,” said Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz when introducing the band.
Cigarettes And Valentines
Before there was American Idiot, there was Cigarettes And Valentines. Until all of a sudden, there wasn’t. Green Day claim that the master recordings for this “lost” album were stolen, and rather than re-record the songs, they set to work on a new record. However, the title track appeared on the 2011 live CD/DVD Awesome As Fuck.
American Idiot: The Musical
When American Idiot was released in 2004, it landed Green Day a No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200. Then, it went on to sell 15 million copies worldwide. The only way to make the album—a scathing criticism of Bush-era policies and political apathy narrated by a suburban kid—into a bigger statement was to bring it to life on a theater stage. So that’s what the band did, teaming up with writer/director Michael Mayer to transform the rock opera into a musical that premiered at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre before moving to Broadway in 2010.
Revolution Radio Tour 2016
After a few years off, Green Day are back with a new album, Revolution Radio (out Oct. 7), and a short U.S. run that snubs arenas in favor of smaller clubs. They’ll no doubt follow these dates with an arena tour, but for now, enjoy the intimate rooms—if you were lucky enough to get tickets!