86 song meaning

"It's kind of about this conversation I had with someone when I went back to Gilman last December [1994], I ran into this old friend of mine and all he could say was, 'Wow, what the fuck are you doing here?'" - Armstrong.

The term "86" in this song is referring to being banned from or thrown out of a place or social circle.

The song was inspired by what happened between Green Day and Gilman Street after the band got big. After the release of Dookie Green Day were rejected by the punk community they had once been a part of because now they were apparently “sell outs”. The lyrics, however, are not just about the people from Gilman Street. The narrator cynically repeats the words of a person they were once close with who now tells them to get out and never come back. That person accuses the narrator of losing his identity and thus being unworthy of their company, let alone friendship.

It’s interesting that the lyrics don’t actually say that that person is wrong. They merely describe what has been said leaving the decision about whether those words are just or not to the listener. However, the rage and regret that the song is filled with show how emotionally attached the musicians are to that song since it was inspired by their personal experience.

86 lyrics

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