A Neurotic to the Bone FLASHBACK VIDEO: GREEN DAY – “Basket Case” (‘Dookie’ 1994)

Green Day – ‘Dookie’ is available @ iTunes.

basket case

by Walter Price


Growing up on MC5, The Runaways, Ramones, and The Weirdos, I was a bit leery of the whole pop-punk scene. I got it, but there was a bit of confusion in my noggin merging two seemingly polar opposite genres in the name of popularity and commerce.

If you remember, back in 1994 the world of alt-rock was at a sonic high point. Seminal albums by Pearl Jam, Weezer, Soundgarden, Oasis, and Nirvana were rocking the alt-radio airwaves. As well as an entry from a band mislabeled as nerve-twisting pop-punk. That band was/is Green Day and their mindblowing release that year was ‘Dookie’. Yeah, the title always made me think that this band was hedging its history. Like ‘hey, we’re okay if no one likes the album, we’re ahead of whatever thought may come’. (not an actual GD quote)..which I thought was honest and endearing.

‘Dookie’ was the band’s first major label album, produced by  Rob Cavallo (The Muffs/ My Chemical Romance) and would go on to sell 20+ million copies. I swear, neither myself nor anyone I worked with at the tiny Texas radio station back then knew the impact this album would have in pop-culture 25 yrs on.

In an instagram post, the band’s Billie Joe Armstrong lamented, “Dookie makes me think about Berkeley a lot. Our house on Ashby and Ellsworth a block from telegraph avenue. Living in a basement with a band called East Bay Weed Company. Our friend Ben Mattick… socialist college girls living upstairs. Coming up with “she” and coming clean. Riding bikes and bong hits. Turning 21. Pete’s Wicked Ale. Hysterical laughter. Maniacal laughter. Butterball turkey. “The Ashby house” was our little punk house. I would write songs all night and wake up at 2:00 pm. Have a bagel and a coffee on the front steps.. debilitating panic attacks.. my guitar, my Marshall, my 4 track tape recorder.
Weird A & R dudes sniffing around.

“Eventually Meeting producer Rob Cavallo.. we learned so much from him. Playing Beatles songs over and over… Richie Bucher’s amazing ep cover he did for a band called Raúl inspired us to ask him to do the cover art for Dookie.
Mike’s G3 bass. Tre’s Noble coolly snare… driving in my old Ford Fairlane hearing Longview on the radio for the first time. Blair Hess. our first show in Italy at a place called in bloom. Wild nights in Barcelona.. having a lot of uncertainty about our future but not giving a shit. Wanting and dreading to be a rock star.. if that’s even possible… Local punk scene backlash… Fist fights at Gilman street… stress stress stress!! You have to have gratitude for the bad and the ugly too… Well… that’s the random thoughts I have for now… I hope people keep listening.. cause we’ll keeping playing… love”

We’re still listening and loving an album that transcends any label given at the time of release. Lyrics that simply say everything a generation understood, lived, and continue to cherish. Which brings us to a flashback moment. The Mark Kohr.directed video for “Basket Case”. In a surreal color blast of what is real verses is my mind playing tricks on me imagery set in a psychiatric home. It plays like the actual cartoonish landscapes our ramped up fears conjure up…high or just alone.



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