I'm one of those people that just retains random facts about rock bands. I've been contributing to a few Bay Area publications and it got me thinking about my favorite band of all time, Green Day. It's kind of funny. I was born in Los Angeles and have lived all over the country. The greatest part of my time till this point was spent in the Midwest, so it was funny that I ended up in the home of my heroes.
Here are 10 things you might not know about Green Day, most of them have to do withthings they did in the Bay Area, so natives of Nor Cal, here we go~!
1. Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt went to Pinhole Valley High School
Contra Costa County is known for its refinery towns, but Pinhole Valley is known for their notable alumni Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt of Green Day. It's pretty badass that this tiny high school in Northern California is like...world famous because of its alumni. I mean, they're some of the biggest rock stars in the world. There's even video of the guys playing on the school's quad, a lot like my band used to do. Everybody has to start somewhere.
2. Tre Cool grew up in some damn mountain range, but was originally born in Germany.
Those gorgeous mountains you can’t help but stare at on your way north were once home to Green Day drummer Tre Cool who ended up spending all of his time drumming outdoors, because there wasn’t much to do up in that altitude. No internet yet. You could develop a lot of skills back in the day, before entertainment was always at your fingertips and people became perpetually bored.
3. Green Day actually had a different drummer before Tre Cool joined.
His name was Al Sobrante. Of course, any Bay Area native would know that his name is a direct reference to El Sobrante, California another small town in the Contra Costa County. It directly translates to “the leftovers” which is what ended up happening to Al when he left Green Day. Tough shit.
4. Green Day's first gig was at a BBQ joint called "Rod's Hickory Pit".
30 friends gathered to hear the first ever Green Day concert. Billie Joe’s mother Ollie got them the gig because she was working there as a waitress at the time. My band used to play at a place called Zeke's Tavern. We'd have our friends and family come out and hang. We'd get paid like...100 bucks for a full set. Split 5 ways. Again, starting somewhere.
5. Billie Joe and Mike started playing their instruments around age 11, Tre at 12.
The first band Tre was part of played outside up in the mountains. They were called “The Lookouts”. Tre was by far the youngest member of the band. My first band The Walking Contradictions (of course, named after a Green Day song) started playing when I was 12. The parallels keep on coming.
6. Green Day played with Rancid, Operation Ivy, The Queers and more at 924 Gilman Street in Berkeley, California.
I have yet to make my pilgrimage to this punk mecca, but I will. One of my dreams as a little kid was to play here...maybe at 23 I will.
7. Green Day released two full length albums on Lookout! Records before Dookie was even thought of.
They're called "1039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours" and "Kerplunk!". Some tracks that appear on Dookie were demoed during these recordings. See if you can pick them out.
8. The band was actually banned from Gilman for a while.
The song “86” off of Green Day’s sophomore release, "Insomniac "was a direct retaliation against people who barred them from returning to Gilman because they were looked at as "sellouts" for signing to Warner Brothers in 1994.
9. Mike Dirnt and Billie Joe Armstrong have recently created a coffee company called “Oakland Coffee.”
It's an environmentally conscious, entirely compostable product that boasts awesome benefits for the Bay Area economy. Green Day is all about keeping it local. Billie Joe even donates money to the East Bay food banks, and lends himself to charity work as much as possible.
10. All of the members still live in the Bay Area.
Maybe I'll run into one of them someday. Pretty cool that after all this time and sucess they know exactly where they came from.
What bands do you want to know more about!?
Tag me in a comment below and I'll see what my journalistic skills can dig up for you. In the mean time make sure to follow my music collection, where you can read about bands, listen to playlists and interact with more peeps who love the same kind of stuff you do.