Green Day was originally part of the punk scene at the DIY 924 Gilman Street club in Berkeley, California.
The band’s early releases were with the independent record label Lookout! Records.
In 1994, its major label debut Dookie became a breakout success and eventually sold over 10 million copies in the U.S. Green Day was widely credited, alongside fellow California punk bands Sublime, Bad Religion, The Offspring and Rancid, with popularizing and reviving mainstream interest in punk rock in the United States.
The band first formed with Armstrong on vocals/guitar, Dirnt on rhythm guitar, Sean Hughes on bass and Raj Punjabi on drums.
Their first live performance took place on October 17, 1987 at Rod’s Hickory Pit in Vallejo, California. In 1988, Armstrong and Dirnt began working with former Isocracy drummer John Kiffmeyer, also known as “Al Sobrante”. Hughes left the band in 1988, and Dirnt took over on bass duties. In 1989, the band recorded its debut extended play, 1,000 Hours.
Before 1,000 Hours was released, the group dropped the name Sweet Children; according to Livermore, this was done to avoid confusion with another local band Sweet Baby.
The band adopted the name Green Day, due to their fondness for cannabis.
Friends since age 10, Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt grew up in Rodeo, California.
They formed their first real band, Sweet Children, at 14. When they were 17, the pair first recorded as Green Day, signing with the punk label Lookout and releasing the 1989 EP 1,000 Hours with drummer John Kiffmeyer.
The next year, the group recorded its first full-length album, 39/Smooth, in a day.
Two more EPs followed, with Kiffmeyer leaving to focus on his studies and Tre Cool, with whom Armstrong had played in a band called the Lookouts, taking over on drums for 1992’s Kerplunk.
With a solid fanbase built on the nurturing, all-ages hardcore scene in Berkeley, the group signed with Reprise in April 1993.
At a September 9, 1994 performance at Hatch Memorial Shell in Boston, mayhem broke-out during the band’s set (cut short to seven songs) and by the end of the rampage, 100 people were injured and 45 arrested.
The band also joined the lineups of both the Lollapalooza festival and Woodstock ’94, where they started an infamous mud fight.
During the concert, a security guard mistook bassist Mike Dirnt for a stage-invading fan and punched out some of his teeth.
Viewed by millions by pay-per-view television, the Woodstock 1994 performance further aided Green Day’s growing publicity and recognition, and helped push its album to eventual diamond status.
In the summer of 2003, the band went into a studio to write and record new material for a new album, tentatively titled Cigarettes and Valentines.
After completing 20 tracks, the master recordings were stolen from the studio. Instead of re-recording the stolen tracks, the band decided to abandon the entire project and start over, considering the taken material to be unrepresentative of the band’s best work.
It was then revealed that a band called The Network was signed to Armstrong’s record label Adeline Records with little fanfare and information.
After the mysterious band released an album called Money Money 2020, it was rumored that The Network was a Green Day side project, due to the similarities in the bands’ sounds.