Green Day are finally back on the road again, after having cancelled dates late last year and early this year. The band are back in fine form, continuing their tradition of heavy fan participation during their live shows. Here we take a look at a few things about Green Day that you may not have heard of before.
1. Real Names
Billie Joe Armstrong is actually named Billie, and not William, although reportedly his birth certificate mistakenly says Billy. Tré Cool was born Frank Edwin Wright III, hence the nickname Tré. Mike Dirnt’s real name is Michael Ryan Pritchard. An interesting fact about the members of Green Day is that they were all born during the same year, 1972.
2. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)
Billie Joe Armstrong wrote “Good Riddance” as early as 1990, but didn’t bring it to the band’s attention until the Dookie sessions. They ended up not using it because it was so different from the rest of the material. It was not until two albums later, when Green Day was recording Nimrod, that the song was finally included on an album. Another interesting fact about the song is that it was the official theme for the PGA Tour in 1998.
3. Billie Joe’s First Guitar
Billie Joe’s first guitar was a cherry red acoustic instrument, that his father bought him. At age eleven he got his first electric guitar from his mother. Armstrong nicknamed the guitar “Blue.” The guitar was used extensively during touring, and it is featured in the videos for “Basket Case” and “Longview,” among others.
4. The Bookmobile
For Green Day's first US tour in the early nineties they rode around the country in an old bookmobile (a mobile library.) Tré's father converted the bookmobile in to a tour bus, and also served as the band's driver.
5. Nose Ring
During Green Day’s early years, Billie Joe Armstrong used to have a nose ring. He ended up having to remove it because somehow it kept getting caught on his guitar.
6. Billie and Mike’s First Gig
Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt played their first gig together in 1987. On October 17, the pair took the stage at Rod's Hickory Pit in Vallejo, California, where Billie's mom worked.
7. Ernie on Dookie
The original pressing of Green Day’s breakthrough album Dookie had the character Ernie from Sesame Street on the back cover. But on later pressings, Ernie has been airbrushed out, supposedly for fear of litigation.
8. Sweet Children
Billie and Mike originally called their band Sweet Children. Supposedly, it was their drummer John Kiffmeyer who suggested the name Green Day. Kiffmeyer quit the band in1990, and Tré Cool was brought in as his replacement.
9. Billie Joe Les Paul Junior Custom Models
Billie Joe Armstrong has two custom Gibson Les Paul Junior models. The Billie Joe Armstrong Les Paul Junior came out in 2006. It is closely based on Billie Joe's own “Floyd” guitar, as he told Gibson.com at the time “This guitar is pretty much like Floyd, apart from the neck. This is more of a '60s neck so it's easier to play and get your hands around, whereas the '50s necks were a bit thicker.” In September 2012 Gibson released a second custom model, the Billie Joe Armstrong Les Paul Junior Double Cut. Just like his original signature LP Junior, the double cut feature the H-90 pickup. The guitar comes in a classic “TV Yellow” finish, with a silver Billie Joe Armstrong “Adeline skull” logo on the black pick guard. The double cutaway, along with the 60's style slim neck, is perfect for those hard to reach notes high up on the neck when you're soloing.
10. “Wake Me Up When September Ends”
Just like with "Good Riddance," Billie Joe Armstrong wrote "Wake Me Up When September Ends" years before it was finally released on American Idiot in 2004. Armstrong wrote the song about the death of his father, who passed away from cancer in September 1982, when Billie was only 10 years old.