Green Day has been a band for over 30 years. They’ve sold millions of records, played countless sold out concerts, and released some of the most important music in rock & roll history. Members Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tre’ Cool were officially inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame during the just recently, but they haven’t shown any signs of slowing down.
This band’s staying power in an industry that can turn on artists in an instant is why they’re such a huge act. They’ve had to deal with incredible highs and desperate lows in order to become one of the biggest rock bands of all time.
Here, we’re sharing five fast facts about Green Day you need to know.
1. They were Once Sweet Children
The band was formed by Armstrong and Dirnt when they were 14 years old, but it had a different name at the time. They went by Sweet Children for a while, but eventually changed it to Green Day. It was a good decision, according to Rolling Stone.
Some believe that they didn’t want to keep the name because it didn’t fit their “punk” attitude and sound. So, they took a song title of one of their old songs, and made it the band’s name. “Green Day,” the song, was a cannabis appreciation tune, which the band members felt was more punk than Sweet Children.
It’s tough to put any other band name to any of Green Day’s songs. Over the years, they’ve managed to define their own type of sound. It has spanned generations of fans and continues to have a social impact.
2. They’re Waging a War Against Donald Trump
Trump’s road to the White House had a number of bumps in the road, but Green Day recently showed that they won’t go easy on the new President. While Armstrong has used social media to share his opinions on the President-elect, he’s also using Green Day’s appeal to reach out with his anti-Trump message.
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2017, Green Day released an animated lyric video for their song “Troubled Times,” off of their recent album, Revolution Radio. Watch the lyric video above to see just what the band thinks of Trump.
3. The Network Could be a Green Day Side Project
In 2003, Armstrong’s record label, Adeline Records, released an album by the six-piece new wave band, The Network. There was and still is a ton of mystery surrounding the band, but they have one record, Money Money 2020, and have opened for Green Day in 2005. That’s about it, though.
Speculation around the band suggests that The Network is a side project of sorts for the members of Green Day. Unfortunately, there’s no hard evidence of this fact, despite what the confusing Wikipedia page for this band says.
The Network members‘ names are Fink, The Snoo, Van Gough, Captain Underpants and Balducci.
Taking this mystery a step further because according to MTV News, many believe that Money Money 2020 is made up of the allegedly stolen Cigarettes and Valentines master tracks. This rumor hasn’t been proven, but the lost album of Green Day is its own great story.
4. ‘Cigarettes & Valentines’: A Stolen Album & ‘Blessing in Disguise’
A lackluster commercial performance of 2000’s Warning marked what might have been the band’s lowest point in their career. That is, until the master tracks for their follow-up record, Cigarettes and Valentines, were stolen out of their studio. They didn’t give up, though.
Instead of trying to recreate those lost tracks, the band started from scratch. In fact, according to Dirnt, they had “a nice break from making hard and fast music,” referring to the band’s previous few albums, and that it made them want to go a little hard.
That’s why losing the master tracks was a “blessing in disguise.” Green Day’s next record was their biggest success: American Idiot.
5. ‘American Idiot’ Marked Their Career Resurgence
Green Day’s career was back in full swing thanks to the release of American Idiot in 2004. The state of the world and the themes of the record really came together and allowed Green day to rise to the top of the charts again. The record garnered the band the Grammy Award for Best Rock Album.
As we mentioned above, this album sounded much like the band’s earlier albums that helped them rise to fame. It was harder, faster and louder, which is what critics said was lacking from previous releases.
A Broadway musical adaptation of the album premiered in 2010 and HBO Films is looking to make a movie out of it, too. Since the release of the album, Green Day has remained a relevant and important band in rock.