Category: Green Day

Green Day – Kerplunk!

ARTIST: Green Day 220px-Green_Day_-_Kerplunk_cover

TITLE: Kerplunk!

YEAR RELEASED: 1991

CHART ACTION:  None

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: They re-recorded Welcome to Paradise for their major label debut.

LINEUP: Billy Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, Tre Cool. Johnathan Kiffmeyer played on the EP that was appended as a bonus.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Dookie before Dookie.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: From the first notes of “2000 Light Years Away”, and on through the record (except for one jokey cut), the last indie record for Green Day sounds almost exactly like their major label debut, especially in sound and songs. The mixture of power pop and punk is pretty much complete here.

In fact, the punkier and faster recording of “Welcome to Paradise” on this album (the only song that crossed over) may be better than the more sweet and polished version on Dookie. New drummer Tre Cool is an added bonus, as he’s a solid and imaginative drummer.

This record is punkier than what will follow, and poppier than their previous records. Had just a few tracks been better songs (and / or that joke cut left for box sets or B-sides), it probably could have been the best record of their career. As it is, it’s pretty damn good.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This sold 10,000 copies on the first day of release, and 50,000 within a few months. That’ll get the majors talking.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, their Sweet Children EP (named after the first incarnation of the band) that had their previous drummer playing on it.

GRADE A-: Power pop punk hit the sweet spot.

Green Day – 1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours

ARTIST: Green Day 220px-Green_Day_-_1,039-Smoothed_Out_Slappy_Hours_cover

TITLE: 1039 / Smoothed Out Slappy Hours

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION:  None

SINGLES: Two releases here are EPs

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Only if you were into that scene, or are a Green Day completist.

LINEUP: Billy Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, John Kiffmeyer. 220px-Green_Day_-_1,000_Hours_cover

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Compilation of the first album and two Eps from Green Day, released before their breakthrough (so it isn’t a cash in, really). 

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: From the start of their recording career, Green Day had their vision in mind. A power-pop punk sound that combined some of the speed (but not a breakneck speed) and simple structures of punk, but with melodies that allow for singing instead of shouting. The structures also were deceptively simple with some interesting changes in some tracks. The difference is the execution, as these records are from the time when the band was finding its footing.

This release combines their first two EPs (1,000 Hours and Slappy) and their full length released in 1990 (39/Smooth). At first, they sounded tentative, but as things rolled along their sound fleshed out (Dirnt’s bass becomes a bit louder in the mix, and Kiffmeyer’s drums are more expressive). The songs, as usual penned lyrically by Billy Joe Armstrong, are a bit more intelligent than some of their punk brethren at the time. Green_Day_-_Slappy_cover

This collection shows the growth of the band, but they weren’t quite at their peak yet. It would take the next release to coalesce and set the stage for their dominance of the punk matketplace in the 90’s. It’s worthy to see where they were before the big stage of a major label, and why some fans glommed onto them early on.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Drummer John Kiffmeyer was billed as Al Sobrante at times. He started to study at Humboldt State, and the band picked up drummer Tre Cool to take his place. The rest is history (though the split was seeming amicable).

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: The last release omits a track that was used on a soundtrack.220px-Green_Day_-_39-Smooth_cover

 GRADE B: I have a soft spot for power punk pop, and while they would get better and more expansive there’s something charming about these tracks.