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Green Day

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Section 1 - The Band

Why are they called Green Day? The phrase "green day" is Bay-area slang for a day with lots of green bud where you just sit around taking bong hits, hanging around. Billie Joe picked the phrase up from friends while chilling in his "habitat" (in the basement of a Berkeley University building), and wrote the song Green Day about his first pot experience. The group changed their name from Sweet Children to Green Day in 1990. Note too that Ernie from Sesame Street has also uttered the phrase Green Day (Ernie also appears on Dookie... coincidence?).

How about the real names and some personal info about the band members?
Billie Joe Armstrong's real name is Billie Joe despite the rumors that it is William Joseph. BJ is married to Adrienne Nesser, and their son Joey was born in March, 1995. They also recently had another song named Jakob Danger. Billie also is a part owner of the record label Adeline Records, home to his other band, Pinhead Gunpowder. Check out his bio for more information.
Mike Dirnt's real name is Michael Pritchard. He was an adopted child and has a daughter named Estelle-Desiree, who was born in late 1996. He is currently single. Check out his bio for more
Tre Cool's real name is Frank Edwin Wright III. His ex-wife's name is Lisea Lyons, and their daughter Ramona was born January 12, 1995. Check out his bio for more information.
Al Sobrante used to be in the band. His real name is John Kiffmeyer, and he seems to have dropped off the face of the earth after college; however, he has been spotted around Berkeley, supposedly in other underground bands.

When are the guys' birthdays? Billie's is February 17, 1972. Mike's birthday is May 4, 1972. Tre's was born December 9, 1972.

Where did they go to high school? Mike and BJ went to Pinole Valley High in Pinole because Rodeo has no public school system of its own. FYI -- Pinole is a boring, working class suburb about 15 miles north of Berkeley. It lacks both the cosmopolitan atmosphere and the progressive politics of Berkeley. Pinole (and El Sobrante, its neighbor) is a town of small, older single family homes and a heck of a lot of churches. There is no place for kids to hangout other than Hilltop Mall in nearby Richmond. The big news recently was the opening of Mervyn's -- no kidding. Pinole is a town with all of the disadvantages of suburban life (you need a car to escape, there's nothing but chain stores, college radio is out of reach. . .) and none of the advantages (money). The most amazing thing about Green Day is how they were able to make some- thing from this total vacuum. Oh yeah, Green Day played at Pinole Valley HS in the central courtyard area (called "the Mall" -- helps you understand the whole culture, doesn't it?) in the Spring of 1990 . The occasion was "Foreign Foods Day," a school event during which clubs sell ostensibly foreign food and bands play. Green Day played first. They were followed by Separate Ways (who are still together and playing in the Bay Area). Most faculty members hated Green Day and said, "Now that's more like it" when Separate Ways came on. Just shows what they know.

Who is John Kiffmeyer (a.k.a) Al Sobrante? John Kiffmeyer (not Kiftmeyer, as has been printed in some publications), played drums for the band while they were Sweet Children. He used to go by the name Al Sobrante, which was a play on his hometown El Sobrante. John also drummed on 39/Smooth and several EPs, and was executive producer on Kerplunk (the album on which Tre Cool became Green Day's drummer). (from Lawrence Livermore) "John is living in San Francisco with his wife Greta (they were married in the summer of '94). I haven't seen him in about nine months, though." (from Gustav) "Al Sobrante was in Ne'erdowells after Green Day. He left Green Day to go to college. The Ne'erdowells changed their name to the Hi-Fives and Al no longer plays for them."

What bands have the guys played with?
BJ has played with Pinhead Gunpowder, Goodbye Harry, Blatz, and one Lookouts track. Plus a couple others. Mike has played with Screeching Weasel and Corrupted Morals. In recent years he has been playing with his other band, The Frustrators. Tre has played with the Lookouts. Billie, Mike, and John formed Sweet Children prior to changing their name to Green Day .

Why do they sound British? Why do they sound like a lot of other bands? They like to have fun, and they like to emulate the sounds that they enjoy. It's all for having a good time. And yes, they do like to parody the stereotypical "punk rock" genre and look. Billie Joe admitted to MTV-Europe, "I sound like an Englishman impersonating an American impersonating an Englishman."

When did Billie Joe write his first song? Billie first sang Looking for Love when he was just 5 years old! However, the first song he wrote and then recorded was Why Do You Want Him? when he was 12.

What color is Billie Joe's hair naturally? Reddish brown. If you've seen him with it dyed, you know he's no-holds-barred: blue, red, green, orange, and bright yellow are regularly rotated.

Do Green Day use drugs or drink? The band admits to using speed in their younger days but since they have had children they have cleaned up a bit. The band does not hide the fact that they smoke pot quite frequently. Billie has said that he drinks a lot and it's not rare to see one of the band members with a beer in their hand.

Was Billie Joe in New Kids On The Block? Believe it or not, I get this question a lot, but no, Billie was never a member of NKOTB.

Can you give me Billie & Adrienne's email address? No. I'm sorry but no matter how much you beg and plead or how badly you claim to need it, I cannot give it out.

Ok fine, then can you forward an email from me to them? I get this a lot, and due to the amount of emails that I would be forwarding all day long, sorry just can't do it.

That sucks, do they have a fan email address I can write to then? Yes! [email protected].

Did Mike and Tre divorce from their wives? Yes, unfortunately they are both no longer with their wives. Neither has been tied with another girl recently, possibly due to a lack of time. At the time of this update, Tre has remarried to Claudia Cool.

Could you tell me more about Adrienne (Billie's wife)? [sent in by Adrienne]: "Billie Joe and I met on the very first Green Day tour when Al Sobrante was in the band. I was one of only ten people at a Green Day gig and me and Billie ended up hitting it off. So, I moved out to California in the heat of Dookie. Thats when we got married, a month later. I had been working in the this small town in Minnesota called Mankato as a manager for Pier 1 imports. I had graduated with a degree in sociology from Mankato State University and stayed there till Billie Joe finally convinced me to move out to Cali. I work now, occasionally, at Cinder Block Printing. They do music merch. for band like Screeching Weasel, OP IVY, Mr. T -Experience, first GD shirts for kerplunk, tons of other great bands. But mostly Joey's & Jakob are my full time job."

Does Adrienne ever take offence to lyrics Billie writes? No, according to Adrienne she does not take offence to them. She says the he writes about what he feels at certain times in his life, and he's just being honest.

Why don't we ever see Adrienne? She's not a spotlight grabber. She's medium sized with dark brown hair (when it's not dyed). 

Why did they cut the Insomniac tour short? They cut the last tour short because they were totally wiped out from so much time on the road. They went on a break for about a year to relax and spend more time with their families. After two years of almost non-stop touring, they just needed a good long break.

How did Tre Cool get his name? He was dubbed "Tre Cool" by Lawrence Livermore, founder of Lookout! Records when he signed 12 year-old Frank Edwin Wright III to be the drummer in his band, The Lookouts. Tre was born in Willits, CA. His father was a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam war. He moved to Willits to escape the pressure in San Francisco. Tre was also the DJ for his high school.

Where do Green Day live? They live in Oakland, California, USA. If you're not too technical, it's a part of San Francisco. Other cool bands from the Bay Area include Rancid, Dance Hall Crashers, the Mr. T Experience and A.F.I.

Is Tim Armstrong of Rancid related to Billie Joe? Actually, Tim Armstrong is not Billie Joe's brother, nor are they cousins, even though they have the same last name. However, Tim and BJ do get along. FYI, Tim was in Operation Ivy (he went by the name Lint), the band that wrote Knowledge which Green Day covered and plays at many of their concerts. Billie also helped Tim write the song "Radio" on Rancid's "Let's GO!" album.

Section 2 - The Music

What Green Day songs went to #1 on the charts? Off of Dookie - Longview, Basket Case and When I Come Around hit top spot, their next hit was J.A.R. off the Angus soundtrack and their last number one hit was Insomniac's Brain Stew/Jaded. Since then their highest has been Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) which was at number 2 for more than 15 weeks.

How many albums have each of Green Day's albums sold? The bands first to albums from Lookout Records (39/Smooth, Kerplunk) have sold over 500,000 copies each. Worldwide, Dookie has sold 12 million (8 million in North America) and Insomniac has sold 8 million (4 million in North America). So far Nimrod has sold close to 2 million copies.

What ever happened to the live video & CD? According to Reprise, the live video never completed to production phase and is on hold for the time being. As for the CD, a couple concerts where recorded and the live CD is a possibility at some point but is on hold right now.. 

What is the meaning behind the album names? I don't know about 39/Smooth or Kerplunk but Dookie was originally going to be called "Liquid Dookie" but the band decided that was a little to gross, in case you don't know, dookie is shit. They called their next album "Insomniac" because it fit in with the mood in which Billie wrote the album. BJ's son Joey often kept him up at night crying and so he wrote most of the songs in the middle of the night (ex. "I'm having trouble trying to sleep, i'm countin' sheep but running out" - Brain Stew). Another reason for the name is described below by Winston Smith. As for Nimrod, Billie explains, "There's this guy named Nimrod in the Bible who tried to fool God in Babylon, or something like that," Armstrong said. "It fits.We're kind of moronic."

What is the painting on Insomniac? The title of the artwork on Insomniac is "God Told Me to Skin You Alive." It was created by Winston Smith. Here's what Winston told me about making the Insomniac cover: "I knew Tre back  when he was a teenager up in
Mendocino County where my ranch is, not far from Lawrence's (Livermore) place up near Willits.  The original title for that LP (Insomniac) was Tightwad Hill.  Then I did the cover, staying awake over 48 hours to assemble it.  By the time I delivered it to the green boys I was a zombie.  Bill asked me how I could stay awake all that long and I said, "It's easy for me, I do it all the time.  I have no choice.  I'm an insomniac."

Where can we get Sweet Children music? There were 6 songs written while BJ, Mike, and John were called Sweet Children, but only 4 are on the Skene! Sweet Children EP:

  • Sweet Children
  • Best Thing in Town
  • Strangeland
  • My Generation
The only Sweet Children EP that exists is the one on black vinyl from Skene! Records. It is no longer in print. The Flipside "Big One" compilation is still in print. The songs from that EP appear at the end of the Kerplunk CD.

Where can I get the song "J.A.R."? The song "J.A.R." was released on the Angus soundtrack and is available at most music stores.. J.A.R. stands for Jason Andrew Relva, a friend of Green Day's who died (Mike wrote the lyrics, Green Day wrote the music).

Who sings "I Wanna Be Billie Joe"? I Wanna Be Billie Joe is a single by Wat Tyler of Britain, featuring a pic of BJ wearing just pink boxers and a pink tie on the cover.

What are GD like in the studio? (from Jerry Finn) "For the most part they are a lot of fun. We spend 14 hours a day, 6 days a week together when we're mixing and they never get on my nerves. I must say that to work with them is a total pleasure. They are constantly joking around and playing pranks on people ( Tre' locked me and Rob Cavallo in a storage room once! ) "

What is Pulling Teeth about? Pulling Teeth is about Mike and his (ex) wife Anastasia. Back around the time of Kerplunk! they were at a friends house having a pillow fight. Mike ran around a corner and hit his head on a low ceiling beam. He fell backwards and broke both of his elbows. So now if you read the lyrics it all makes sense! The name Pulling Teeth was stolen from Metallica. They have a song called Anesthesia Pulling Teeth, and since the song was about Mike's girlfriend Anastasia ( pretty close to anesthesia ) Billie named the song Pulling Teeth.

Where's "Stuart and the Avenue" in Stuart and the Ave.? The corner of Stuart Street and Telegraph Avenue. It's in Berkeley, CA.

Where is Tight Wad Hill? Tight Wad Hill is a hill in Crockett, CA where all the druggies would hang out and watch all the John Swett High School football games for free.

Were people in the studio during All by Myself? That song was actually recorded at someone's house with a four-track recorder, not in a studio. There were a bunch of people (very stoned) hanging around while they recorded it.

Is the story by Laurie L inside the Kerplunk CD bogus or for real? Laurie L.'s story is purely fiction - in fact, "Laurie L" is a homage to "Larry Livermore". The author wrote the story for Tales from Blarg!, a punk 'zine.

Section 3 - The Other Stuff

Who was that guy playing guitar with Green Day during the "Warning" Tour? That guy is Jason White! Straight outta Little Rock, Arkansas Jason White was brought along to add a richer sound to many of the songs on "Warning." Jason also plays with The Influents, and Pinhead Gunpowder both on Billie Joe's Adeline Records.

Who are The Frustrators? Mike Dirnt's other band. They formed around 1999 and play very rarely when the four guys can get together. They currently have one release on Adeline Records, and one more in the works at the time of this update.

What does Green Day have to do with Adeline Records?  Billie Joe and friends started Adeline Records once upon a time, and it has become home to his other band Pinhead Gunpowder, Mike Dirnt's Frustrators, as well as releasing several Green Day singles on vinyl. For more information go to their website

What's the name of this song I downloaded off of the internet, with the lyrics "There's a girl who lives on second street...?"  I get this question at least once a week. It's Billie Joe's other band, Pinhead Gunpowder.

Where can I get my hands on the Elvis Costello and Rolling Stone's songs that Green Day covered when they were in the studio recording Nimrod?  So far they haven't been released on an album or as a B-side on any singles yet. So hopefully in the future sometime.

What is the DVD "Pogo Paradise" all about? In November 2002 a DVD called "Pogo Paradise" started to surface in the UK and in other places. It was put out by a company called "Chrome Dreams" and apparently goes around the Berkeley area interviewing people regarding Green Day. It is NOT an official release, and supposedly is not worth buying.

Are Green Day breaking up after their next album? This question always comes up after Green Day puts a new album out. The answer is, "No, don't be stupid"

Does Billie Joe have throat cancer? The answer is, "No, don't be stupid"

When is Green Day putting out a new album? At the time of this update, it looks like they are entering the studio in early 2003, followed by a release sometime later in the year. No title or track names have been announced yet.

Was Billie Joe ever in Playgirl Magazine Nude? The answer to this question is "yes and no." Playgirl Magazine printed a picture of Billie Joe from a live concert in which he flashed the crowd, but no he didn't pose for a Playgirl Magazine spread.

During the "Warning Tour" I saw a temporary trombone player fill in for the usual guy who plays during "King For a Day" who was she? Jeanne Geiger of The Influents and Pinhead Gunpowder fame.

Does Mike Dirnt own a restaurant? He is part owner of Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe in Emryville, California which is near Berkeley and Oakland.

What did this site look like X years ago? If you go over to and punch in the address for this website you will see. Warning, it's pretty scary. Try it for too.

Did the Pop Disaster Tour with Blink 182 have an Official Website? Yes,

What song is currently playing on the intro page to "You Lied" - from the Shenanigans album. Before that it was "Desensetized".

Revisions to the FAQ: 

10/24/01 - added "other stuff" section
11/20/02 - updates 
12/05/02 - updates 



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