By the time Grunge began its fall or rather sunk, a "semi" anonymous trio from Easy Bay, California began creating an album that would change the world of rock and take the throne from Grunge to Punk Rock !!
The album "Dookie" was released on February 1, 1994.
The trio that included Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tré Cool began their journey as Sweet Children in the music scene in the East Bay. They would frequent the place of pilgrimage of many bands, the Gilman Club, which was run and maintained by music lovers and did not belong to a private owner or management.
In 1990 they signed with a local and independent label called Lookout! And released two EPs, the first "1,000 Hours" and the second "Slappy". These two short albums caught the attention of big record companies, who were looking for the next thing with the decline of Grunge, but it was not enough.
They released their debut album "39 / Smooth" in the same year, but only a year later with the release of their second album "Kerplunk", it was powerful and attractive enough.
Many record labels began to chase after the trio and try to sign them to a record deal. Luxurious restaurants, pampering homes, and even a trip to Disneyland were offered as a temptation to sign a contract. But that is not what seduced this young, rebellious, independent, and talented trio. Only one person managed to get their attention, Rob Cavallo, who was a representative of the record company Reprise. They really liked the work he did as a producer with the punk rock band "The Muffs" so they agreed to sign a contract with his label. They said he was the only person with whom they felt connected and that he conveyed authenticity.
(Photo: Catherine McGann)
For the fans, the signing did not go smoothly, the move from an independent local label that represented the underground music scene in the East Bay to a large and commercial label, turned the band members into commercial "traitors". They were even banned from performing and entering the Gilman Club and fans simply boycotted all of their shows. In a number of interviews, Billy said it did hurt them, but he knew the band's place was in the big league and not something small and underground. He felt they were a punk-rock band that would fill stadiums and not just smoky clubs.
The band members who were very afraid of a hostile takeover and the intervention of the record company decided to put on the role of producer Cavallo with whom they had a connection, and in addition, they came to the recordings when they were already formed and ready to record. Billy said they did not want to get into the recording studio with unfinished materials or demos, and thus allow the label to influence or manipulate them. They wanted to come perfectly prepared, they worked hard on the album even before entering the studio. They wrote, composed, and arranged all the songs in advance and entered the studio with all the roles down to the smallest detail, all you had to do was press the record button. They recorded the album in only two months (including the mix done twice).
At the end of the recordings, mixing and mastering, on February 1, 1994, the album came out with the first single - "Longview", a song named after a city of the same name in Washington state, where "Green Day" first performed in. The song describes the boredom that a young boy goes through, as he spends his days at home and his agenda ranges from masturbation to smoking marijuana, the song earned an amazing breakthrough. It aired on all California radio stations and MTV aired its music video frequently throughout the day. Mike said he wrote the Bass Riff when he was under the influence of the drug LSD and that's what he and Billy managed to remember from it the next morning. The single was rated by Rolling Stone magazine, as third on the list of best singles for 1994. In addition, it gave the band four Grammy Award nominations in 1995.
In August 1994, the second single from the album, "Basket Case" was released. With a music video shot in a real mental health institution and won non-stop air time on MTV. It very quickly became the anthem of the album and the band. The song was written by Billy about the struggle he had from a young age with anxiety attacks. When he was only 10 years old he lost his father to cancer. As a child, he was lost and did not know why and how. No one told him or shared with him what happened and it put him in a state of panic. He said he got lost, did not understand what was happening to him, and thought he was going crazy. He did not understand why he was experiencing anxiety attacks and how to control them, the only thing that saved him was the music. It was the writing of the songs that gave him the ability to unload and deal with the heavy loads. This song also had an insane success, was ranked high on the Billboard charts, and even received a Grammy nomination.
In October 1994, the third single from the album "Welcome To Paradise" was released. This is a song from the band's second album "Kerplunk" which was re-recorded. Billy wrote the song about the time the band members left their homes and moved to an abandoned warehouse in Oakland, California. He said it was scary to walk around there at night. The warehouse was inhabited by a variety of different and strange types of musicians, painters, homeless people, drug addicts, and criminals, but despite this, they all lived together in harmony and for them it was paradise.
In January 1995, the fourth single from the album "When I Come Around" was released. This is the band's second most successful single to date after "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)", it took over the charts in the US and also gained high exposure and rating in many countries around the world. Although it was not re-recorded, the band performed with it back in 1992. The song was written about a child who is in a temporary relationship that he does not believe in, because of his insecurity and low self-esteem, when his partner actually wants something serious and deep.
In May 1995, the fifth and final single from the album "She" was released. Billy wrote the song inspired by his then-girlfriend "Amanda" who introduced him to a feminist song called "She". After he heard the song, he wrote a song himself and gave it the same name, but after he played it to Amanda, she dumped him and moved to Ecuador. This song is regularly in the band's stylist and Billy said he would never stop performing it because it is an integral part of it.
The album has 10 other songs, except the two, "All By Myself" written by Cole and "Emenius Sleepus" written by Mike, all written by Billy. All the songs are based on experiences and memories that Billy had during his life and talk about topics like anxiety, relationships, sexuality, and loneliness.
As you probably know, the album was a resounding success not only in the US but worldwide. Apart from many Grammy nominations and winning the Best Alternative Album award, it topped the charts around the world when it was in the top five. It is also ranked 193rd on the list of 500 greatest albums of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.
This album was officially crowned as responsible for introducing punk rock to the mainstream and crowning "Green Day" as an international phenomenon !!
(Photo: Chapman Baehler)
Wait... but what exactly is a Dookie ???
So, Dookie is the nickname given by the band members to their "diarrhea". Yes, you heard right!
During the tour, the band members would eat a lot of junk food that was often expired, which would cause them to have a lot of diarrhea and to that, they gave the nickname "Liquid Dookie". Since the phrase sounded too awful, they were content to just use "Dookie"!
And what about the album cover ???
So the cover is the work of the artist Richie Bucher who, at Billy's request, painted a homage to the East Bay. The cover is a drawing of bombs falling on a replica of Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley (San Francisco), on people and buildings. Inside the painting are hidden many figures from the lives of the trio in the music scene in the East Bay.
"On the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Dookie's release, a guitar pedal was released with an effect that recreates the dirty and so unique sound that Billy Joe Armstrong used on the album. This pedal is magic, and it does not move from my pedal board. It combines the sounds of two combined effects for one step box with a harmonious and deep sound range. "