Personalities | Green Day | Hitting The Big Time (1997) | Key Events


Returning To The Studio

The break from touring allowed Green Day to recharge their batteries, although with Billie Joe always writing songs they had a wealth of material to record when they returned to the studio in early 1997. During discussions with producer Rob Cavallo, the band stressed that they wanted to do something different musically. As sessions got underway, as well as high-octane rock there was an element of The Clash’s London Calling in the air, with musical experimentation and even additional instrumentation, including horns on ‘King For A Day’ and a violin on ‘Hitchin’ A Ride’ and ‘Last Ride In’.

Management Is Hired

Managing themselves had allowed Green Day to make decisions like the cancellation of their European tour easily but it was impossible for them to handle the day-to-day running of a major band. Therefore, early in 1997 they turned to Pat Magnarella to oversee their affairs. Magnarella had started his career booking tours for alternative bands and moved on to managing the trajectory of artists like The BoDeans, The Goo Goo Dolls and Weezer in conjunction with Bob Cavallo (who is Rob Cavallo’s father). This team jumped at the chance to handle the affairs of Green Day.


The Balcony Incident

The amazing thing about one of the most notorious Green Day incidents is that Tre Cool was not involved. On the evening of 23 March 1997, as Juliette Binoche was collecting an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in The English Patient, Mike Dirnt made his own awards’ contribution through clenched buttocks, depositing grown-up Dookie from his hotel-room balcony down onto hers. Binoche was not amused.


Tower Records Signing

To launch Nimrod, Green Day performed a 40-minute set at Tower Records’ flagship store in New York. Although 500 fans enjoyed the performance, Billie Joe exhorted the audience to start a riot ‘’cause you’re not at Tower Records, you’re at a Green Day concert.’ Acting out the lyrics of The Clash song ‘White Riot’, the band proceeded to cause a riot of their own pouring beer and knocking over CD racks, and Billie Joe even spray painted ‘f***’ and ‘Green Day’ on the main window after mooning those outside. The post-gig signing was cancelled.



Nimrod was a transitional album where Green Day began writing themselves out of the power pop-punk corner. Whilst ‘The Grouch’ and ‘Platypus (I Hate You)’ were staple Green Day fare, ‘Redundant’ was a dominant powerful rock song that contained amazingly frank lyrics: ‘prototypes of what we were.’ ‘King For A Day’ saw the band stumbling into ska territory and the instrumental ‘Last Ride In’ married a Duane Eddy-esque guitar melody to a vista of sound from xylophones to brass flourishes. The simple acoustic guitar, vocals and strings of ‘Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)’ was the solid gold nugget.


Beginning A Tour Ritual

Green Day went on the road to promote Nimrod with a total of 100 dates in...

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Source: Green Day Revealed, by Ian Shirley


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