Green Day: 20 Interesting Facts You Might Not Have Known

I am a huge fan of the American alternative / punk rock band Green Day. I discovered them when I was in high school in the mid 1990s and I’ve been following their musical journey since then. It’s a pity that they have not toured South Africa yet, but I do hope that they grace us with their presence in the near future.



There’s probably a lot that you don’t know about Green Day, but today I want to change that.  I hope that you learn something interesting about the band today.

Here are 20 Interesting Green Day Facts You Might Not Have Known:

1. The band was formed in the East Bay of California in 1987 by lead vocalist and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong and bassist and backing vocalist Mike Dirnt.

2. The current members of the band are  Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool. However, touring guitarist Jason White is also considered to be a member of the band.

Green Day

3. Sean Hughes, Raj Punjabi and John Kiffmeyer are the former members of Green Day.

4. Billie Joe Armstrong still plays the first guitar that he’s ever owned. The blue and white Fender Stratocaster is nicknamed “Blue”. The guitar is so iconic that there’s a company that makes replicas of the Strat for purchase.

5. Mike Dirnt knows where you can get a good burger in the Bay Area. He holds an ownership stake in a restaurant called Rudy’s Can’t Fail Café in Emeryville. The restaurant was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in 2010. In 2011, a second Rudy’s opened its doors in Oakland.

6. At the age of five, Billie Joe Armstrong recorded a song called “Look for Love.” The song can be found online and a snippet of a related interview can be heard at the beginning of “Maria,” off Green Day’s ‘International Superhits!’ album.

7. Armstrong and Dirnt started their own coffee company in 2015 called Oakland Coffee Works. It’s the first brand of organic coffee in mass production to be packaged in compostable bags and pods.

8. At just 43, Armstrong, Dirnt and Tré Cool are the youngest ever inductees into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame. Green Day was inducted in 2015, the first year they were eligible.

9. Bassist Mike Dirnt’s real name is Mike Pritchard. He adopted the name ‘Dirnt’ from school, where his favourite hobby was playing “air-bass”. He sang ‘dirnt, dirnt, dirnt’ while plucking invisible strings. Billie Joe is the only band member who uses his real surname.

10. Billie Joe Armstrong had the nickname “Two Dollar Bill” in high school because he sold joints for $2 – this is also linked to the band name Green Day, meaning a day of doing nothing but smoke marijuana. The band’s first name Sweet Children was dropped to avoid confusion with another local band from Berkeley, California, Sweet Baby.

11. American Idiot”s centrepiece, the seven-minute epic ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’ is a memorial to Billie Joe’s father. He died of cancer in September 1982, when he was just 10 years old.

12. Green Day started a mud fight at Woodstock 1994. Amid the chaos, bouncers mistook bassist Mike Dirnt for a stage-invading fan and manhandled him so violently that they knocked out some of his teeth.

13. Oasis’ Noel Gallagher accused Green Day of ripping off ‘Wonderwall’ with their song ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’. He told Stuff magazine: “They should have the decency to wait until I am dead [before stealing my songs]. I, at least, pay the people I steal from that courtesy.”

14. Mike Dirnt trashed his hotel room in a fit of nervous excitement the first time he saw himself on TV. 

15. Before Insomniac was released in 1995, Billie Joe considered leaving the band. He was apparently overcome by anxiety by the pressure of following up the colossal success of Dookie.

16. Green Day have sold more than 85 million records worldwide.

17. The band have won won five Grammy Awards over the years. Best Alternative Album for Dookie, Best Rock Album for American Idiot, Record of the Year for “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, Best Rock Album for the second time for 21st Century Breakdown and Best Musical Show Album for American Idiot: The Original Broadway Cast Recording.

18. For Green Day’s first US tour in the early nineties they rode around the country in an old bookmobile (a mobile library.) Tré’s father converted the bookmobile in to a tour bus, and also served as the band’s driver.

19. Billie Joe Armstrong currently resides in Oakland with his wife and two kids, who are both musicians playing in the Bay at places like Bottom of the Hill and 924 Gilman (where Green Day played their first show).

20. Every member in Green Day has tattoos, but they all have “E.B.P.M.” somewhere on their bodies, meaning “East Bay Punk Mafia.”

Well, there you have it, 20 Green Day Facts that you might not have known. I trust that you’ve learned something today. If you did, feel free to share this article with your friends.

Watch this space for updates in the Music category on Running Wolf’s Rant.

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Henno Kruger

Blogger, Desktop Activist, Twitter / Facebook Addict, Music Festival Addict, Avid lover of South African music, Founder and owner of Running Wolf's Rant

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