Members: Jason Freese Jason White John Kiffmeyer Ronnie Blake Roots: Green Day started out in 1987 in Berkeley, California when Billie Joe was just 14. The band was called Sweet Children then and consisted of three member: Billie on guitar and vocals, Mike on bass and backing vocals, and John Kiffmeyer on drums. The first official show for Sweet Children was on October 17, 1987 at Rod's Hickory Pit in Vellejo, California where Billie Joe's mom worked as a waitress at the time. John Kiffmeyer, originally from the band Isocrasy worked as Sweet Children's manager and booked their shows. Larry Livermore, who owned LookOut! Records saw that band playing at a "party" and had to have them on his label.
Party Story: Sweet Children was invited to play at a house a long drive away from where they lived. When they showed up the gate was locked so they had to invite themselves in and the door was locked so they got through a hole in the roof. It turned out that the girl having the party wasn't there. The bands that were there were Sweet Children and The Lookouts. All of a sudden the power went off so the two bands got a generator going. At the party, there were only a few kids there since it was so cold. When Larry Livermore saw Sweet Children playing he said that he HAD to sign them to his label because they played like they were playing in front of thousands of people even though there were barely any. Green Day later said that that was the label they wanted to be signed to because LookOut! Records had bands signed on there that they liked themselves.
Changing The Name: Since Sweet Children started everyone knew them by that name. The whole idea of changing their name to Green Day was completely unplanned. There was another local band called Sweet Baby and they felt that the names were too similar. Green Day means a day spent smoking pot. Since the band loves marijuana that could be the obvious reason and people have said that they said Green Day written on John's jacket after they had one. When the band decided to change their name it was right before the release of 1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours. Larry Livermore was not happy with the band's sudden decision. He said that he couldn't sell those records with everyone knowing them by the name Sweet Children. He also said that Sweet Children was a better name then Green Day. Maybe he was wrong....
John Leaving: John Kiffmeyer a.k.a.
he had to find out from a friend. Tre Cool, the drummer from the LookOuts!, filled in for the mean time. Since John showed no signs of returning to Green Day Tre Cool replaced him for good. Billie Joe returned the favor to John by not tell him he was replaced.
New Green Day: With Tre Cool, they tour in 1992 and 1993 with some shows in Europe. Kerplunk was recorded with some songs done by John and others by Tre, selling over 50,000 copies in the United States. This was considered a lot in the underground scene back in 1992, making major record labels interested.
Going Mainstream: Green Day signed to Reprise Records because of producer, Rob Cavallo. On February 1st, 1994 Green Day released their hit album Dookie and was recorded in only three weeks. Some hits in the album included Longview, When I Come Around, and Basket Case, receiving positions on the Modern Rock Charts.
Woodstock '94: Green Day started the biggest mud fight in history. The band encouraged the crowd to throw mud at each other since it was raining but instead they decided to throw mud at the band. Billie threw mud back while Mike and Tre played some background music, better known as 2000 Light Years Away. Then all hell broke loose. People were jumping on stage with them and a security guard mistook Mike as a fan and got his teeth punched out. ...You'd think they'd know where they were guarding. The whole concert was aired on television, putting Green Day's name out there even more, making the album Dookie go up to diamond status. For Dookie, Green Day won 9 video awards, one being best video of the year and one for Best Alternative Album.
J.A.R.: Green Day put out a single called J.A.R., (Jason Andrew Relva, a friend of Mike Dirnt's) was a single released for the Angus soundtrack, skyrocketed to number one on the Modern Rock Tracks. J.A.R. was written by Mike Dirnt and sung by Billie Joe. Jason Andrew Relva was a friend of the band starting from the beginning. Jason even named the dog on the Slappy EP 'Slappy' even though the dog's name was already Mickey.
Insomniac: Green Day's fourth album, Insomniac, was released on October 10th,1995, selling over two million copies. The album art was created by Winston Smith, called God Told Me to Skin You Alive. Insomniac had a more aggressive sound than Dookie. Rolling Stone Magazine gave them four out of five stars. Green Day released technically five singles with this album: Walking Contradiction, Geek Stink Breath, Stuck With Me, and Brain Stew/Jaded. Brain Stew/Jaded are actually two songs but they merge together when you listen to them one after another. After all the nominations and awards Green Day canceled a tour from exhaustion.