Lookout! Records, the Berkeley, California, punk label that signed Green Day in 1989, has lost the rights to distribute the band's first two albums — 1991's 1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours and 1992's Kerplunk. Lookout!, which has struggled financially in recent years, acknowledges that it fell behind on the band's royalty payments. "This is a huge band, and we are a very small independent label," says label president Christopher Appelgren. "While that can be very beneficial for record sales, it can also be a tremendous challenge." Green Day, who are currently signed to Reprise Records, took back the rights to the master recordings but have yet to announce future distribution plans. Following the move, Lookout!, which also released early recordings by Rancid and the Donnas, laid off six of its nine staff members.
This story appeared in the August 25, 2005 issue of Rolling Stone.