Depicting a cartoony nuclear explosion, Green Day’s 1994 release, “Dookie,” accidentally captured the band's own explosive take-off in the mainstream, propelling the band and punk as a whole into the stratosphere. The moment also reflected the world of alternative music cashing into the industry the genre aimed to avoid. Despite the band's condemnation by friends as sellouts, Green Day delivered a punk album that was both masterfully produced (thanks to legend Rob Cavallo) and true to the band’s visceral live performances. Vocalist Billie Joel Armstrong bares all with raw lyricism on everything from masturbation to panic attacks, to the confusion of bisexuality.
When Lookout Record founder Larry Livermore discovered Billie Joel Armstrong and Mike Dirnt, they weren’t quite the Green Day that would go on to rule the world’s radio waves. They weren’t even Green Day. They were called Sweet Children but Livermore knew there was something special about the band, so he convinced them to join his tiny label and change their name. Hints of the band’s greatness would appear on early demos, especially on their debut album “Kerplunk!”. Green Day’s sales quickly outpaced what Lookout could do, priming the band to sign with Reprise Records for their smash sophomore hit “Dookie.” The rest is history, you could say, but the punk sellouts would not only breach the mainstream for themselves but the genre of punk as a whole.