Hot Band 1994: Green Day

The California punks channel the Sex Pistols and the Ramones on major-label debut, 'Dookie'

Tre Cool, Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt of Green Day
Catherine McGann/Getty Images
Tre Cool, Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt of Green Day
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Beavis and Butt-head have started a band: It's called Green Day. Well, OK, Green Day are a punk band, whereas TV's dirty white boys would probably sound more like Iron Maiden. But the Berkeley, Calif., trio – guitarist-singer Billie Joe, bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tre Cool – have their hearts In the right place. While touring, they've peed in nondesignated areas (ice-cube trays, shampoo bottles), exposed themselves onstage and trashed a Little Rock, Ark., house after a disagreement with their host. "We started throwing eggs and throwing all this stuff behind her couch and just making this stew and stuff," says Billie Joe. "And then, like, I put baking soda in there, and it exploded, like, all over the place, and then Mike took it outside, and he took a shit in it."

Huh-huh. Huh-huh.

Fortunately, the boys have other talents. The catchy, power-chord-driven songs on their Warner Bros. debut, Dookie, have earned them admiring comparisons to the Sex Pistols and the Ramones. In performance, they're kinetic and tightly wound, qualities they developed coming up in the Bay Area punk scene. "We came from a real underground," says Billie Joe, who hooked up with Dirnt when the two were kids (Tre joined them in 1990). They put out two albums, 39/Smooth and Kerplunk, on the indie label Lookout before signing with Warner Bros. Like any respectable punk band, Green Day are wary of the visibility that major-labeldom brings. "You might start to believe what the media is saying and stuff and become, like, a parody of yourself," says Billie Joe. "Look at people like Axl Rose. The guys an idiot."

This story appeared in the May 19, 1994 issue of Rolling Stone.

From The Archives Issue 682: May 19, 1994