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Bands React: Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ Turns 15 Years Old

Brii Jamieson
Brii Jamieson 20 September 2019 at 11.50

It's one of the biggest albums in modern history - but don't just take our word for it.

Today is a big day in the history of our world. It's been 15 years since Green Day released their magnum opus 'American Idiot', and 15 years on it's still one of the most influential and important albums in modern history. 

Don't just take our word for it though - we asked bands to weigh in on the influence and their memories of 'American Idiot', 15 years on - and everyone from Frank Iero, to As It Is' Patty Walters, to Simple Plan and You Me At Six' Max Helyer have been influenced and inspired by 'American Idiot'. 


"We were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time that Green Day wanted us to open for them on the 'American Idiot' tour, all around the world. You look back on it now, and they were the biggest band in the world without question at that time, and we were the main support act! It’s just wild.

"I remember thinking they had a helicopter flying over the crowds because they were going to turn that into a documentary... When crowds get that big where your whole field of vision is the crowd, it changes from a club gig or a theatre gig where you can make eye contact with individual people, and it just becomes this giant swarm."



"Damn, 15 years?! I remember being in the studio recording '[Three Cheers For Sweet] Revenge', and some technician that was working in the adjacent studio said they heard a rumor that Green Day was making a rock opera with the guy that recorded [Jawbreaker's] 'Dear You'. Some people in the periphery chuckled or made a joke, but i remember our band was silent for a minute, mulling over what that could possibly sound like and how cool an idea it was to even want to attempt something like that. I don’t think anyone in the room was prepared for what that record would do, but i know it changed a lot of lives... mine included. It was an honour to play on that tour with them, I learned a lot. I’m glad Green Day has the guts to do whatever they want, and I'm even happier that they do it with as much kindness and class as they have."


"I’m a massive fan of Green Day, that record - they have multiple records that have done a lot for this world of music… They’ve done so much for the genre of punk rock. And kind of pushing the boundaries and being edgy.

"When it was 'American Idiot', I went to the Hammersmith Apollo… on February 14 or 15 - it might have been Valentines Day. New Found Glory supported. I wore my black shirt and white tie - at the time Green Day were suiting and booting it up for the rebels. And I was watching the gig, loving it, quite close to the front, and all of a sudden Billie Joe points at me and pulls me up on stage. I didn’t play guitar - I squirted a water pistol. And it definitely did wonders for me when I got off stage - just use your imagination. So thanks Billie Joe. We’ve never played with Green Day before, but I’ve always said that if we were to play with Green Day I’d tell him the story."


"'American Idiot' by Green Day is awesome - first and foremost. Secondly, I was there at the Milton Keynes show... with Jimmy Eat World on direct support. Taking Back Sunday were there too, and Hard-Fi. It was an incredible, incredible show - still to this day one of the best shows I’ve ever been to, over 10 years later. That show was incredible. But that record - I think it gets overlooked so often, just how incredible it is. And how groundbreaking it was for a band of this scene to do something quite like that. Green Day in particular were this three-chord punk rock band, or pop-punk band, and then they just made one of the greatest records that the scene has ever seen before.

"I covered songs off that record, and I think we all did in our past bands - it’s just such an influential album.  And yeah - it’s just sick isn’t it? It still sounds sick, it still is sick."


"It’s pretty surreal to think 'American Idiot' is turning 15! We had the incredible privilege of touring with Green Day in Australia at the height of that era, and and got to witness just how unbelievably powerful the songs and the band are live. At the time, it felt like the album had managed to capture the anger, confusion, hopelessness and desperation we all felt as young adults in the political and social climate of the early 2000s, but what’s even more impressive is how the album has stood the test of time and feels just as much - if not more - relevant today. It was also super inspiring to see a band we grew up loving reach a whole new level, and release such a lyrically and musically ambitious masterpiece."



“'American Idiot' was the first CD my mum had ever tried to buy for me when I was 12 years old. She hit me with the classic 'the man in the shop said it was one of the best punk rock albums available' - he wasn’t wrong. It was part of a collection of records that shaped my music taste for the better. Big up mumsy, and the man in the shop.”



"'American Idiot' was such a huge record in my life, and a lot of other peoples lives too. It was just great from top to bottom - they really reinvented themselves and their sound, so it was like a real breath of fresh air. A true gem!"


"I'm writing this piece waiting for the channel tunnel, and ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’ comes on. 'American Idiot' was a huge record for me, and probably the first time I ever pretended to care about politics. I still view this record as a masterpiece that stands the test of time. 14 year old me was also sad because I had tickets for the 'Bullet In A Bible' tour - my friend had got the tickets and we actually fell out at school the week of the concert, so he took another one of my friends instead. Still half haven’t forgiven him (you know who you are). So mixed emotions - but a masterpiece none the less."


"I can’t believe it’s that old!? I remember sitting on the bus on the way the way to school with 'Jesus of Suburbia' blowing my mind. Back to back, it’s such an amazing work of art."


"'American Idiot', in my opinion, is one of the most influential rock records of my generation. I’ve known many kids who weren’t too familiar with rock music, but when they listened to 'American Idiot', they were converted for good. How can you not want to dive in to all things Green Day after hearing 'Jesus Of Suburbia'? That record is a CLASSIC and always will be.”


"I would watch music videos every morning before school on MTV when I was 11. When I heard 'American Idiot' in rotation, my face melted. I got it as a Christmas gift along with a Tom DeLonge signature guitar from my parents (that I still own it to this day), and it introduced the idea of anarchy and a 'fuck you' attitude to a pissy suburban teenager."


"For me it was an insanely important record, not only sonically and musically, but it’s message really resonated with me. It actually drove me to do a degree in politics!"

Happy 15 years to a real one. Turn it up loud:

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