The Five Bands That Influenced Green Day, According To Billie Joe Armstrong

The legendary band Green Day was founded by Billie Joe Armstrong as the lead vocalist and guitarist and Mike Dirnt as the bassist and back vocalist in 1987. After a few lineup changes, the band became a trio with Tré Cool, who replaced John Kiffmeyer as the new drummer shortly after the band was formed. Green Day is considered a prominent band of the late ’80s and early ’90s Bay Area punk scene, often praised for their unique style.

The famous scene emerged in 924 Gilman Street, an alternative non-profit music foundation in the West Berkeley area of Berkeley, California. Gilman played a key role in punk revival during the ’90s thanks to its pioneers such as Green Day, Rancid, AFI, Operation Ivy, and The Offspring. Of course, Green Day was inspired by different bands during their journey of playing an important role in the revival.

Which Bands Did Billie Joe Armstrong Choose As Green Day’s Inpirations?

During one of the interviews with Time Magazine, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong answered their fans’ questions, and one of them was about their greatest influences. Therefore, Armstrong named five bands that contributed to their careers as punk rock musicians. The first band that he uttered was Hüsker Dü which was a Minnesota-based punk rock band including Bob Mould, Greg Norton, and Grant Hart.

The band released six studio albums, ‘Everything Falls Apart,’ ‘Zen Arcade,’ ‘New Day Rising,’ ‘Flip Your Wig,’  ‘Candy Apple Grey,’ ‘Warehouse: Songs and Stories’ before they disbanded in 1987. Hüsker Dü member Hart’s higher-pitched vocals and Mould’s baritone inspired their successors, besides their well-crafted lyrics. Green Day also paid tribute to the band by covering their song ‘Don’t Want to Know If You Are Lonely.’

Then, Billie revealed another famous and legendary band from Minnesota, The Replacements, who had become very popular and successful thanks to their critically acclaimed albums such as ‘Let It Be’ and ‘Tim.’ The Replacements’ shift from punk rock to alternative rock drew great attention. However, they still inspired younger musicians and bands. Also, the Green Day singer joined the band as their rhythm guitarist at 2014’s Coachella Festival, which was an unforgettable experience for him.

Armstrong’s next choice was The Ramones, which many bands have mentioned as their influences and the first punk rock band, even though there were some disagreements. The band was chosen one of the best bands of both their own era and later years by several magazines and fans even though the band members couldn’t achieve a huge commercial success for years. Thus, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong didn’t forget to show his respect to the punk rock pioneers.

In addition to these bands, the Green Day singer revealed that two punk rock bands from Berkeley, Operation Ivy and Crimpshrine, influenced the band a lot. Operation Ivy was famous for combining hardcore punk and ska, while Crimpshrine shaped new East Bay bands’ styles. Armstrong highlighted that their punk rock compilation album ‘Turn It Around!,‘ released in October 1987 to raise money for Gilman Street Project, was a very influential record for him.

Armstrong shared his ideas, saying:

“When I really first started getting into music that mattered for me, I would say a lot of Minneapolis bands like Hüsker Dü, The Replacements. It would be like after that The Ramones… Then the local punk rock scene that we came from him in Berkeley was bands like Operation Ivy and Crimpshrine. This great record is a compilation called ‘Turn It Around!’ which was like the first sort of wave of Gilman Street punk band that was coming out there, so that was a pretty big record to me.”

You can watch the interview below.