The drummer from my old band posted on his Facebook today that Green Day’s Dookie was 18 years old and even though I don’t really like him very much (does anyone?) it was great to see so many people comment on his status and talk about how much that record meant to them and how awesome Green Day used to be – because let’s face it they kind of suck now since that 21st Century Breakdown record came out. Maybe even since Warning came out.
But this is about Dookie and not the declining years of Green Day’s career and everyone knows that back in the 90’s they were dope. I’m pretty sure that anyone who grew up in the 90’s would have owned at least one Green Day record and it probably would have been Dookie. Even a bunch of the rugby players at my school had Dookie alongside their copies of Parachutes and whatever the hell the Toploader record was called. It was just one of those records that everyone had a copy of.
The first time I heard Basket Case and Longview was back in 1995 on this show on MTV that was on at around 4:30pm every day called DIAL MTV. Hardly anybody had Sky back then so there weren’t a lot of channels or shows and most of the ones that did exist were kinda crappy. DIAL MTV was cool though because the videos were voted for by fans all over Europe and for some reason they only voted for awesome songs like The Offspring and Green Day and The Cranberries. Yeah ok I see you looking at me wierd because I mentioned The Cranberries, but The Cranberries was kinda cool back then – there wasn’t a lot of music going around like there is today.
But yeah the show was sponsored by Durex and had this annoying message at every ad break saying ‘Dial MTV is sponsored by Durex: Makers of Condoms – The quality choice of Europe’ which would always make me feel kinda uncomfortable because it made me feel like I was watching something I shouldn’t have been watching. My mom would always manage to walk in around that time too which only exacerbated the situation. Here’s the Dial MTV bumpers from that era – which for some reason someone has uploaded onto the internet – so you can see what I’m talking about:
I was really into Green Day and the Offspring thanks to DIAL MTV but I didn’t end up buying Dookie for about four years because I figured these bands were really underground and alternative and that if I went into a shop like HMV or Virgin then they probably wouldn’t stock it, and I had no idea where the ‘cool’ record stores were in Birmingham because at this point as I was a 9 year old kid from the suburbs. I guess I was also kinda scared that if I went into one of these stores that all the punks and goths who hung out there would laugh at me or beat me up or something. Kids these days have it so easy that the can download music, they never have the problems like I used to have. So I didn’t think about Green Day or The Offspring too much for the next few years. Although I think my dad did manage to pick me up a Cranberries record.
I eventually managed to buy nimrod when I was in San Antonio with my parents I THINK and I was like wow, this is amazing and I resolved to pick up Dookie and Insomniac as soon as I could. All three of these records are superb and it’s tough to pick a favourite but I think I might go for nimrod because the production is a lot crisper and there are more songs on it, and they’re all bangers. And there’s an instrumental song, a ballad and a ska song (kinda) which makes it a bit different. I guess you could say it signalled things to come for Green Day as they slowly slumped to becoming completely awful but I still look at nimrod as a great record despite this.
This post is about Dookie not nimrod though and it is also an awesome record, and also a pretty important record. I feel like this is something that is really underestimated in modern day music history. I know in the Green Day Behind The Music episode there’s apparently one reason that Dookie broke and that reason was…..Nirvana (!) but I don’t think that’s true really. Sure there was an ‘alternative’ musical movement at the time because of grunge but I don’t really think this had an impact on Green Day blowing up as all the kids who were into grunge could have just listened to Alice in Chains or Buckcherry or Mudhoney or any one of those terrible grunge bands that were hanging off Nirvana’s coattails. I think (although I don’t know because I was like 9 when Green Day released Dookie and probably didn’t even own a walkman) that Green Day probably blew up because it had a lot of energy and a good image and because it didn’t sound like anything else at the time. Also the fact that the internet didn’t exist so alternative music was still fairly streamlined undoubtedly played a part too.
So yeah, every year it seems that Kurt Cobain’s death and the anniversary of the release of Nevermind gets celebrated (this even happened on Sick Chirpse last year) but nobody seems to recognise Dookie’s importance in musical history. This is probably because pop punk is easily one of the most derided genres ever whereas that grunge revival thing is just so East London right now. Seriously though, before Dookie there literally wasn’t anything that combined pop and punk in such a way before its release and it clearly laid the foundations for other hugely successful bands like Blink 182, Sum 41, Fallout Boy, My Chemical Romance etc etc. On the flipside of this though you can also argue that we have Dookie to blame for all the shit pop punk bands that flooded myspace and meant it had to close down for being so crap.
I prefer not to look at it that way though and just remember it as a great album. Everyone knows Basket Case and Longview and When I Come Around so here are a couple of bangers from Dookie you might have forgotten to celebrate its 18th birthday. I picked some live videos to make it more interesting.
Mike Dirnt calls the crowd morons and does some cool jumps in this one:
This is a cool video of FOD because Billie Joe is definitely on speed:
This is from 2010, but whatever it’s a Dookie song and kind of a cool version:
These videos have inspired me so much I promise I’m going to do the second punk rock playlist next week.