Nobody Likes You
by Marc Spitz
In 1994, a trio of friends from California became a punk rock phenomena thanks to an undebiably catchy album about feces. Having arrived in the wake of Nirvana’s breakthrough success (and Kurt Cobain’s death), the band’s major label debut (and third album) took the band from the elitist punk rock club, Gilman Street, all the way to Woodstock’s 25th Anniversary fiasco. Their unpredicted superstardom was followed by the inevitable backlash and the years that followed found the members of GD struggling between their inner desire to be rockstars and the pressure from their peers to remain “punk.” By the start of the 21st Century, Green Day were throught to be obsolete.
And then all hell broke loose in America. 9/11, Bush #2’s election, war. Frontman and songwriter Billie Joe Armstrong decided to direct his rage and frustration about the state of the world into this music- choosing to take a political stand for the first time in the band’s long career. The result was the song, and the album, “American Idiot.” Marketed as the first punk rock opera (with two songs clocking in at over nine minutes long and containing vignettes and story lines), AI went on to sell over 15 million copies and win a slew of Grammy’s including Best Rock Album. Somehow GD not only became important again, but were now respectable musicians who could sell out stadiums worldwise. On par now with U2, the boys had surpassed their prior popularity and made the best album of their career, 16 years into it. And this time around they allowed themselves to enjoy the success.
Respected journalist Marc Spitz writes the first authorized look into the “turbulent life, times and music of Green Day.” Using previous interviews conducted with the band while he was a senior writer for SPIN Magazine, as well as interviews with family and famous friends (like Jello Biafra, Tim Armstrong and Courtney Love), Spitz has managed to make a music biography an entertaining read. He goes all the way back to the bandmembers’ childhoods and walks us through a life of poverty, neglect, love and loss. It’s a story of friendship, survival and music.
His previous book, We Got the Neutron Bomb : The Untold Story of L.A. Punk, is a fantastically thorough overview of the L.A. scene that Green Day was spawned from. With Nobody Likes You, he digs even deeper.