20 years ago this weekend, three East Bay miscreants blew a crater in mainstream music. Green Day were already cult favourites by the time ‘Dookie’ hit record store shelves on Feburary 1 1994, having sold 50,000 copies of their second album ‘Kerplunk’ in the US alone. What happened next though, as word spread of its volatile riffs, punk snarl and nuclear pop hooks, didn’t just change the lives of members Billie Joe Armstrong, Tre Cool and Mike Dirnt, but the course of punk as a whole: soon, Green Day’s bratty sound and style had infiltrated both the charts and wider culture, their sense of fun and abandon seeping into films like 1999’s ‘American Pie’ and TV’s ‘Jackass’. Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ was still riding high as ‘Dookie’ entered the world, two years after release. Just as disaffected but brimming with humour, ‘Dookie’’s success proved to record label, film and TV execs that the teen rock revolution they had been witnessing for much of the early ‘90s didn’t have to be all gloomy nihilism and angsty sonics. ‘Dookie’ made rock fun again.
When I discovered the record five years after release, aged 12, it was pure audio adrenaline unlike anything I’d ever heard before. After blowing one week’s wages from my paper round on a CD copy of the album, I blew the next two week’s wages on a Green Day zip-up hoodie that landed me in detention for wearing around school more times than I can remember. ‘Basket Case’ was the first guitar riff I learnt a couple of months later. Purists complain about ‘Dookie’ commercializing punk, but from that introduction I – and many like me – soon got into the Clash, Fugazi, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag and so on. 20 years on, here are 10 albums that were one way or another shaped by ‘Dookie’ - including a couple of surprises...
Wavves – ‘Afraid of Heights’
Stoner vibes? Tick. Caterwauling guitars? Tick. Same pop sensibility? You bet. This San Diego crew’s ‘Afraid of Heights’ is a modern answer to ‘Dookie’, if not as revelatory.
Lady Gaga – ‘The Fame’
"I remember when I bought Green Day's 'Dookie', I just wanted to lick the pages from the booklet! That particular album, I mean, it is iconic," said Gaga claims ‘Dookie’ was the first album she ever bought, laying the blueprint for a vicious punk streak in the pop provocateur that’s helped shape her career ever since this debut.
No Doubt - ‘Tragic Kingdom’
Also hailing from California, No Doubt burst through the pop-punk door Green Day blew open a year earlier in 1995 with 'Tragic Kingdom'. Boasting the karaoke classic ‘Just A Girl’, a tale of rebellion from under parental control, their lyrical themes and cheeky energy runs parallel with 'Dookie'.
My Chemical Romance – ‘The Black Parade’
The kudos he earned making ‘Dookie’ and ensuing Green Day albums allowed super producer Rob Cavallo the creative freedom to fashion Gerard Way and friends’ dark, experimental ‘The Black Parade’ – although its flamboyance and overarching narrative owes more to the Californians’ later concept album, ‘American Idiot’.
Sum 41 - ‘All Killer No Filler’
Retooling skater punk for the ‘00s generation, Canadian crew Sum 41 have not been quiet about how much their career the owe to Green Day’s back catalogue. "I was about 14 when ‘Dookie’ came out," Deryck Whibley recalls. "I remember seeing the video for 'Basket Case' for the first time... It had so much energy and it was so different. I'd never seen anything like it before. From then I was instant fan."
Blink 182 – ‘Enema of the State’
Duh. Such was the shadow cast by Green Day and their seminal album, Blink 182 fans constantly defend the band as not being that influenced by the group but even sidestepping the two trios’ musical similarities (and dual masturbation references), would Blink still have received the major label push they did on ‘Enema’ had ‘Dookie’ not been the massive commercial success it was? ‘Adam’s Song’, written for a fan who took his own life, would have fitted easily amongst ‘Dookie’’s tales of mental health issues and paranoia.
Tegan and Sara – ‘So Jealous’
“I can remember buying the CD and listening to it over and over and over again and imagining myself playing the songs. I think this was the first band that made me want to play guitar,” Tegan told MTV after releasing ‘So Jealous’ the pair’s 2004 pop-punk reinvention.
Paramore – ‘Riot’
Channelling the raucous energy of Green Day’s masterwork into their own brand of chart-friendly, stabilisers-on punk, Paramore broke through the mainstream with ‘Riot’ and its flagship single ‘Misery Business’, mocking exactly the same high school characters Billie Joe and co had on ‘Dookie’ years previous.
FIDLAR – ‘FIDLAR’
2012’s best pop punk debut boasted the same gnarly thrills as Green Day’s epic. Bonus fact: ‘Time of Your Life’ from ‘Nimrod’ was the first song guitarist Zach ever learned to play.
Green Day – ‘American Idiot’
A bit of a cop out, but the sales figures and notoriety that ‘Dookie’ brought Green Day allowed them to go, well, a little bit epic. ‘American Idiot’ was a helter skelter punk opera that told a spiralling story of life, love and loss in the suburbs. It shifted an impressive 14 million copies worldwide, later spawning a musical of the same name. Billie Joe on Broadway – what would the punks say?