1994: the Year of Green Day
Grammys, Mudstock, number one song on the modern rock charts around the world, it's safe to say that Green Day owned 1994. Sacrificing personal safety zones and leaving behind old friends were just a few of the many things Green Day had to do to achieve the success they had with their monster hit album, Dookie.
Before Dookie Green Day had released an album called Kerplunk. For a little Berkeley Punk band it was very successful. It snagged the attention from several major record labels, which the people at Gilman did not like.
For those of you who have never been to Gilman (before Dookie, Green Day's home away from home), they frown upon success. Frowning upon success? Why? That's an oxymoron; well Green Day felt that way too. They put a lot on the line to be rock stars and they were going all the way, so they signed with the major record label Reprise.
Once you get big there is no turning back. Gilman declared Green Day as sellouts and exiled them from the Gilman punk scene. That didn't matter; signing with Reprise Records would be the smartest move of their career. They were ready to move on to bigger and better things. Let the massive amounts of awards show you just how much better.
Bammies, Grammys, and much much more; Green Day conquered the awards for Rock in '94 and '95. They were nominated for four Grammys and they won Best Alternative Group Performance. As if winning a Grammy isn't enough, they also got to take home some Bammies (now known as the Californian Music Awards) Those awards included Outstanding Album, Outstanding Group, Outstanding Bassist, and Outstanding Drummer. They won the MTV Music Video of the year award with Basket Case. That's just a small taste of the ridiculously large number of awards Green Day racked up with Dookie and they deserved every one of them.
Lets talk statistics, just how big was Dookie? It was pretty big. The album consists of 14 tracks, plus the hidden track All by Myself. Being released on February 1st, 1994 Dookie has sold over 8 million copies. That's beyond platinum, that's diamond certification. Something most new bands can only dream of reaching. It is number 193 on the Rolling Stones greatest albums of all time. It shot up the billboard charts and landed at #2 for the year of 1994.
After all they had claimed the American Modern rock Charts. Longview was their first single, followed by Basket Case, which stayed at #1 for five weeks. Those singles were followed by Welcome to Paradise and, last but certainly not least, When I Come Around, which was number one for a whopping seven weeks. As you can see such an incredible album got them lots of recognition in very important magazines.
No matter what magazine you picked up, you saw Green Day. Time, Spin, Entertainment Weekly, etc, they were everywhere. It was almost like they were stalking you (you wish). Entertainment Weekly featured them on the cover and without hesitation said they were the hottest band of 1994. In Time magazine they won the award for best rock CD. One magazine in particular loved them, Rolling Stone. They won countless awards in Rolling Stone, it was unreal. All throughout 1994 there were multiple articles about them. They frequented the cover. Not to mention they were called the band of this generation and the next. As perfect as this all sounds, they had a few run-ins with trouble.
Woodstock 1994, the day that made Green Day a walking riot. It all started out as a concert to promote peace, but it didn't end that way. Billie Joe summed it up the best when he said, "This isn't peace, it's fucking anarchy!" After a rainy day the crowd had a lot of mud which they used well. Billie Joe and the crowd created the biggest, muddiest, most destructive concert in history. Things may not have gotten so out of hand if Billie Joe hadn't put mud in his mouth, but he did. Fans went nuts, Mike lost teeth, and they were flown to safety by a helicopter. Total and complete chaos.
Not even a month after the 'Mudstock' performance Green Day did a free show for WFNX, a Boston radio station, on September 9th. Well, whoever thought a small crowd would show up must have been under a rock for the previous 9 months; at least 100,000 people showed. Hello! It was Green Day, of course 100,000 people showed up! The crowd got a little rowdy and broke the crash barriers and knocked the lighting rig above the stage loose. Once the situation became unsafe, the show was cancelled. Green Day were safely kept in the basement while the angry crowd got in fights with security and was being tear-gassed. Over 60 arrests and quite a few minor injuries meant Green Day had left its mark on Boston.
Concerts promoting peace and free shows must have put Green Day in a charitable mood because Green Day did the Z-100 Christmas concert, and AIDS benefit. The show was getting kind of boring after 7 hours. At 2 a.m. Green Day were finished, or were they? Definitely not! They returned for an encore, well all of them returned except Billie Joe's clothes. Naked Billie Joe and the rest of the guys did a very nude performance of She.
Besides all the chaos of 1994, one member in particular had an exceptionally awesome year, Billie Joe. Long before Dookie mania swept the nation, Billie Joe met a very special girl named Adrienne. He met her on his very first tour in Minnesota. He couldn't stay there with her, but luckily they kept in touch over the phone and fell pretty hard for each other. Before the Dookie tour Billie Joe asked Adrienne to marry him. Then, two weeks later they were married, Adrienne was pregnant, and Billie Joe was away on tour.
No other band came close to the unbelievable greatness Dookie had in 1994. No other band had the attitude Green Day had that made them an instant icon. No other band ever was, or ever will be comparable to Green Day.