Throwback Thursday – February 1994

Green+Day+BMT

If Nirvana‘s Nevermind was responsible for effectively killing the age of hair metal with its dynamic hard hitting music and the gravely voice of Kurt Cobain, then Green Day‘s Dookie brought us out of the haze of grunge and over produced pop music. With Dookie, Green Day made punk music commercially acceptable. Dookie flipped the bird to authority and convention while smiling in the frowning face of grunge music. Dookie swept three snot nosed punks off of the streets of Berkley, California and in a wave of youthful rebellion and teenage angst, Dookie inspired a generation and served as a launching pad for one of the most successful bands in the world. This month, the diamond certified album turns twenty and is just as relatable in 2014 as it was in 1994.

2012GreenDayDookie950G211112In 1992, Green Day released Kerplunktheir second studio album through the independent, Lookout! Records. Pop-punk hooks and lyrics caught the attention of Rob Cavallo who was junior A&R scout at Reprise Records. Cavallo signed the band and agreed to produce Dookie. While the punk scene in Berkley disowned them, the rest of America loved Green Day after their legendary performance at Wood Stalk 1994, which was dubbed “Mudstock” after the band started a mud fight with the crowd. Dookie produced five hit singles, won them a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album, and to date, has sold over 8 million copies in the United States. With Feb. 1, 2014 marking the 20th anniversary of Dookie’s release we’ve put together a track by track examination of one of punk’s favorite albums.

1. Burnout : Billie Joe Armstrong sings “I declare I don’t care no more”  to open this misfit’s manifesto. It’s the perfect opening line for a major label debut of a post-Nirvana album filled with teenage angst and hormonal rage. It’s a two minute burst of buzzsaw guitar and snotty hooks that sets the tone for the album.

2. Having a Blast: The band keeps the early album energy going here with the angsty “Having a Blast.” Armstrong sings about tying explosives to himself, “think about the times we’ve spent and what they’ve meant” in this breakup rant. Melodic hooks over choppy guitars keeps the edge alive early in the album.

3. Chump “Chump” follows the model laid down by bands like the Ramones and Sex Pistols. “Chump is punchy and likable in its own right, its most memorable moment is probably its closing guitar swells and drum groove. This would lay the ground work  for Dookie’s first big hit.

4. Longview Best known for Mike Dirnt’s infectious walking bass line, this is song where the three Green Day instruments are used in such isolation that the whole band deserves recognition for selling their parts and adding to the eventual buildup. Starting with Dirnt’s Bass lines and Tre Cool’s Slow intense drumming, it’s when Armstrong’s driving power chords kick in, that the song reaches the apex of it’s adolescent rock catchiness.

5. Welcome to Paradise: This was the Only Kerplunk track to be re-recorded for the major label debut. While similar to the three opening tracks, but with a more socially aware hook, this song is a tribute to the band’s humble surroundings and would become Dookie’s second single.

6. Pulling Teeth: Though this song never achieved the “a classic Dookie single” status, “Pulling Teeth” shows off Armstrong’s songwriting skills. With a Beatles-like melody in the verses, as usual, Armstrong is in a distressed state, pledging his allegiance to his girl-friend even though it is obviously an abusive relationship.

7. Basket Case: The distress of “Pulling Teeth” is almost a prelude to Armstrong’s mental torment by covering his anxiety attacks and panic disorder diagnosis. “Basket Case” became one of Dookie’s”biggest hits, with Green Day fans relating and singing along.

8. She The fifth and final single from the album. The band continues whipping out more rapid-fire punk riffs and sneering melodic hooks. Armstrong wrote the song in response to a feminist poem his ex-girlfriend showed him; she then dumped him and moved to Ecuador.

9. Sassafras Roots: With the pop-punk barrage of noise hardly slowing down, Armstrong sings what sounds like a conversation with himself about getting ready to call a crush on the phone. “I’m always like you with nothing else to do; can I waste your time, too?” when in reality, it was written about the same ex-girlfriend that inspired “Chump” and “She.”

10. When I Come Around: If there’s one track that pushes the album from punk rock to straight up rock, its “When I Come Around.” Green Day proved themselves to classic rock fans and it’s no surprise this song is still heard on rock radio. “When I Come Around” showed Greenday’s rock aspirations for the first time.

11. Coming Clean: In one of the record’s often forgotten songs, Armstrong offers some of his most confessional lyrics, opening up about questioning his sexuality: “I’ve found out what it takes to be a man; now mom and dad will never understand what’s happening to me.”

12. Emenius Sleepus : This song continues the trend of brief, less-than-two-minute tracks. “Emenius Sleepus” helps close out the album a tale about an old friend that comes off a tad underwritten compared to other cuts. Although “Emenius Sleepus” is the only song on the album with lyrics written by bassist Mike Dirnt.

13. In the End: Another brief melodic song, at this point, the album reverts to a more familiar flow for a punk album with a heavy Operation Ivy feel that inspired Green Day in the first place. But even when operating with less than two minutes, the band preserves the classic verse/chorus/bridge pop structure.

14. F.O.D. : While it’s not quite Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).”  Green Day closes the album of charged-up punk songs with an acoustic guitar. Well, until the electric guitars ruin the whole wet dream right around the minute and a half mark. The title stands for “f&*# off and die” with Armstrong sending a literal good riddance.

15. All By Myself (hidden track): If you made it through the silence after “F.O.D.” you will find this hidden track, written and sung by Tré Cool. It was sadly or happily, (depending on how you feel about songs sung by drummers about masturbation) his last major vocal contribution to Green Day.

Take some time to listen to an album that revolutionized the music industry and the minds of America’s youth.

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Throwback Thursday – January 1976

2175847-Sex-Pistols-sex-pistols-4058394-1280-747

The Sex Pistols played at Watford College in England on January 23, 1976. This would be the first of 65 gigs in the “Anarchy in the U.K.” tour of 1976. The tour would Feature the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and The Damned. This tour goes down in history as one of the shortest, yet most influential tours ever, due to the fact that half of the shows were canceled because of the reputation the three punk bands had gained. By the end of the tour, the three bands were banned from playing in many of the major cities and towns throughout the U.K. When the Sex Pistols returned home to London, punk had blown up and was the newest “kiddy fad.” The impact of the tour was felt across the U.K. and even in America as word spread that a filthy punk band from England was breaking down walls.

Sex Pistols

Sex Pistols

The “Anarchy in the U.K.” tour is viewed as the beginning of the Sex Pistols’s rise to fame, but also as the beginning of the end of the band. The tour included a memorable showcase gig held during London’s first punk festival, at the 100 Club in Oxford Street, which featured the band Siouxsie and the Banshies (staring future sex pistols bassist Sid Vicious) and the Sex Pistols would go on to sign with major label EMI. The band’s first single,”Anarchy in the U.K.” was released on  November 26, 1976 and served as a statement of angst, anger and youthful energy. By the time the song was released, the Sex Pistols were known to be obnoxious revolutionaries and their single only added to the reputation. The Sex Pistols would be dropped by EMI 30 days later and were picked up by A&M records almost immediately.

The behavior of the Sex Pistols brought them just as much national attention as their music. December 1, 1976 the band would create a storm of publicity during an early evening live broadcast of Thames Television’s “Today” program. The band was appearing as a last-minute replacement for Queen, and their entourage took full advantage of the green room facilities, consuming large amounts of alcohol and creating an overall ruckus. During the interview, lead singer Johnny Rotten created a stir by using the word “s–t” and “dirty sod” while host Bill Grundy, (who was drunk at the time) flirted openly with Siouxsie Sioux. Grundy encouraged the band to continue with the language telling them they had five seconds to say something outrageous. In classic Sex Pistols form, Jones called Grundy a “dirty old man,” “dirty bastard,” “dirty “f—–r” and a  “f—-n rotter.”

Even though the program was only broadcast in London, the public display of anger and violence occupied the tabloid newspapers for days. The Daily Mirror famously ran the headline ‘”The Filth and the Fury“, while the Daily Express led with “Punk? Call it Filthy Lucre.” Thames Television suspended Grundy, and though he was later reinstated, the interview effectively ended his career.

The interview resulted in a full blown media circus with newspapers reporting that the band spat on their fans, puked on fans and even had sex on stage. The band’s growing reputation would both attract and detour media and fans alike.

The Sex Pistols go down in history as one of the most influential bands of all time and the “Anarchy in the U.K.” tour will forever be recognized as one of the defining moments in punk music.Though the Sex Pistols only hand one album and were really only a band for two years, they have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Bands such as Guns N’ Roses, Rancid, Green Day, blink-182, and Motley Crue have openly admitted the Sex Pistols’s heavy influence in their own sound. The band’s unique individuality has carried on in virtually every field of music and their presence is felt in all different forms of rock.

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