Living Without Warning
October 3rd, 2000: you should remember that date, because with it Green Day went in a totally new direction, a new vibe of music. The certified gold album Warning was Green Day’s fourth studio album with Reprise. It was lyrically amazing, and introduced new instruments into Green Day’s songs, adding a unique mature sound to the punks' records.
Warning was a breath of fresh air for the suffocated Green Day fans, seeing as how they hadn’t had any new albums to inhale since October 14th of 1997. Four years is a long time to wait for an album, but Warning was well worth it. So, where did Green Day vanish off to for four years? Billie Joe stated that "I think we were just a little tired after the last tour and the last record. We needed to take a break, because I didn't want it to feel like we were some sort of machine or something and going in and cranking out songs or trying to crank out hits. We needed to gather some sort of life experience and start writing songs from that standpoint." Another suspected reason for the break was Billie Joe’s marriage. He wanted it to remain stable and happy, so he took some time off to reconnect with his family. Being out of the rock and roll lifestyle for so long gives you time to think of how you want to approach making your next record and a totally new approach was in Green Day's future.
Green Day decided that this time, they were going to produce this record by themselves. Right from the start, they wanted to try something new. Working with Rob Cavallo was great, but trying new things is always good for the creative process, so they decided to work with a Man named Scott Litt. They commented and said Scott was a great guy, but things just weren’t clicking in the studio, so that is how they reached the decision to do this one alone. Mike Dirnt said that "It was like wearing 10 different hats at the same time." Sounds fun, right? Total control of the studio, creative freedom, well it wasn’t all easy, in fact Billie Joe said that "It's pretty tough, and it's very time-consuming. After a while, it can really drive you crazy." Working with 2 other guys with 2 different minds had to create a difference of opinions at times, so what do you do when opinions differ? "If that wasn't what we wanted to hear we just told each other to f**k off, so there was no problem." Those would be the wise words of Billie Joe, the problem solver. Bravo.
They did have a little help from the outside world though. When you’re in a studio with just the band, it probably helps to have someone else’s opinion at times, which is exactly what Rob Cavallo did. Billie Joe has said that "Rob Cavallo came in to listen to some stuff as an outside ear to tell us what he thought, because once you get in there and you're recording, you just get so consumed by it. It's like looking at it under a microscope."
When you produce a record yourself, creative ideas are bouncing off the walls, and for the song Blood, Sex and Booze, ideas were getting crazy. Green Day’s 20 (some sources say 19) year old engineer Tone got a little more than he bargained for working for Green Day. Tre Cool got in contact with Mistress Simone, a dominatrix, over the Internet. If you have listened to the song, you know it has an interesting beginning. To get a sound like that, Tone's back was met by a cat o' nine tails whip, cracked by the lovely Mistress Simone.
Yet another different thing about Warning compared to other Green Day records was the lyrical approach to the song. With Nimrod, they had a ton of songs, and could just pick and chose what they wanted. With Warning, it wasn’t about writing frantically until your hands fell off; it was a more laid back style, waiting for inspiration to find you, instead of blindly looking for it. "We weren't forcing songs out at band practice; every song came from an inspired moment. It was very organic and much more relaxing for Billie to write that way." says Mike. This was a different approach, and it obviously had good effects seeing as how Warning was such a phenomenal album.
Aside from the self producing being different, you could almost pick up political overtones to the album. Reprise also had a fake presidency campaign as the promotional advertisement for Warning. In it Billie Joe ran for president, with the slogan "Vote Billie Joe, Don’t be a pussy." They also realized some counter propaganda saying not to vote for Billie Joe because of his ugly wife (played by Tré Cool in drag.)
So, did all the hard work that went into Warning pay off? YES, It did. The album produced chart topping hits like Minority and Warning. The album itself had a peak position of number 4 on the Billboard Charts. Warning's (the song) highest position was number one, and Minority made it all the way to the top holding the number one position, and getting there faster than any other previous Green Day song. The album also won Green Day 8 California Music awards a.k.a the Bammies. Green Day won Outstanding Album, Outstanding Punk/ska album, Outstanding Group, and Outstanding Artist. Mike won Outstanding Bassist, Billie Joe won outstanding vocalist and Outstanding Song writer, and Tré won Outstanding Drummer.
Green Day also got a lot of media coverage with Warning. Billie Joe was featured on the cover of Guitar World in 2000. Green Day also graced the October cover of Kerrang along with Alternative Press. The morning that Warning came out, Green Day was on the Howard Stern show discussing the new album, among other things. That night they appeared on Letterman’s show.
Prior to the album's release, Green Day needed to get back in the swing of touring, so they jumped aboard the Warped Tour. This was their fantastic return to the limelight, to prove that Green Day still had it and put the other bands in their respective places. When Mike commented on the Warped Tour he said "A lot of those kids might have thought, 'Yeah, Green Day, whatever.' They would never go see us. But they saw us play and were like, 'Fuck, these guys are actually good.' I had so many people come up to us and say, 'I never knew you were that good a band.' Don't believe the hype - or the anti-hype, whatever it is. We're gonna give it our all, kick some ass, all the time."
Aside from getting ready to tour, Tre had a goal as well. "Yeah, I'm going to learn….I'm going to learn to skate really good and if I can't, I'm going to get hurt doing it!" says Mr. Cool. Well I don’t know if he ever learned to skate but either way, I bet you anything he got injured more than once.
Green Day’s official Warning tour kicked off In St. Paul, MN and took them on an international tour. They made it to The United States, Europe, Australia, and Japan in 2000 and went back to Europe and the United States for a second time in 2001. Green Day also played at CBGB’s in 2001 after the success at the California Music Awards earlier that night. A few hours after midnight, and several beers later, Green Day took the stage and played a show lasting until 2:00 a.m., and finished it all off with their latest and greatest single Minority.
Aside from Warning coming out in 2000, Tré had some other great news; he got married in March of 2000 to Claudia, who he had a child with in 2001 and divorced from in the year of 2003.
Warning was and still is a monumental album in Green Day’s career. Nimrod was supposedly Green Day’s "growing up" album, but Warning proved that they could grow up and remain mature, yet still rock pretty damn hard. All 12 of its tracks were sensational songs that go down in Green Day history as lyrically amazing. With albums like this it’s no wonder Green Day has been able to hold the rock champion title for so long.