A few years ago, when my stepson was in high school, his favorite band was Green Day.  I hate to admit it, but I really didn’t know much about Green Day at the time – I listen primarily to “classic rock” of the 70s and 80s (think Beatles, Rolling Stones, the Who, Queen, Led Zeppelin, etc.).  Recently, though, I have gotten into Green Day (I’ll tell you more about why later), and so I thought I’d feature them in today’s “Rockin’ Clients” post.

Green Day (originally called “Sweet Children”) began as part of the punk scene in Berkeley in the late 1980s by Billie Jo Armstrong (lead vocals and guitar) and Mike Dirnt (bass and backing vocals).  Through the first few years of the band, the two were joined by John Kiffmeyer (also known as Al Sobrante) on drums and Sean Hughes on bass, but by late 1990, both Hughes and Kiffmeyer had left the band.  Armstrong and Dirnt were joined by Tre Cool on drums, a lineup that has continued to the present day.

The band released two albums on indie labels in the late 80s and early 90s, 39/Smooth and Kerplunk.  The underground success of Kerplunk, though modest compared to the major albums at the time, was significant enough to catch the attention of Reprise Records (a division of Warner Bros Records), and the band signed with Reprise, who released the band’s third album, Dookie, in early 1994, which went on to become a commercial and critical success, earning the Grammy© award for Best Alternative Album. 

Since then, Green Day has released five more albums, including the punk rock opera American Idiot.  Their most successful album to date, American Idiot debuted in 2004 at number one on the Billboard charts, and won a variety of awards.  A live album CD / DVD, Awesome as F**K, will be released in March 2011.

Last July, while on a short business trip to New York City (my first time there), I had very limited time to sightsee, but the one thing I wanted to do was take in a Broadway show.  Since it was short notice (the afternoon of my only free night), I asked the concierge for recommendations.  I didn’t want to see a long running “family” show like Phantom of the Opera – I wanted something edgier, more Rock ‘n’ Roll, something more Sew What? The concierge suggested American Idiot, based on the Green Day album.  I wasn’t familiar with either the album or the show, but thought it sounded intriguing.

I was lucky enough to walk down to the St. James Theatre just an hour before that night’s show and secure terrific seats (Balcony front row center).  I was blown away by the show and the music (though prior to then the only song I really knew by Green Day was Boulevard of Broken Dreams (coincidentally from the same album and used in the musical).  Since then, I have become a huge Green Day fan – I bought both the original album and the show soundtrack, and I am going to start delving more deeply into their catalog.  I am also hoping that the musical goes on tour – I’d love to take my husband to see it (he is now a fan as well).

Now that I have become a huge Green Day fan, it makes it even more exciting to realize that here at Sew What? we have made numerous scenic backdrops and kabukis for Green Day, including both digitally printed backdrops and painted backdrops, throughout 2009 and 2010.  I even remember seeing that iconic American Idiot image (the fist with the heart / grenade) on a digital backdrop hanging in our shop.