I was one of those skeptics who, upon hearing "Dookie" for the first time, thought: "Cute, but can you really make a career out of that?" It's been twenty years since that record was on everyone's turntable. Or CD player. Or one of those newfangled Mp3 players. It was a pop record, and it got Green Day, from the East Bay, kicked out of the gritty punk enclave known as Gilman Street. I suppose that now that they have their own promotional website, they might consider themselves sellouts, but this is the path we all walk, eventually.
Just like eventually I always succumb to peer pressure. I bought my first Santana album because my brother in law looked through my CD collection and asked, "What? No Santana?" That was pretty much the same experience I had with my friend Bill in junior high when he was flipping through my albums and asked where my copy of Fleetwood Mac's "Rumors" was. I went out the next day and bought it. Now, some thirty years after that fact, both Carlos Santana and the members of Fleetwood Mac are enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I suspect this is a direct result of my buying their records, which may explain why now, or come this April, the boys from Green Day will be joining all those other pop music relics like Lou Reed and Joan Jett at the party.
I bought "Dookie" under duress. That sounds funny now, but just about any sentence that includes the word "Dookie" would. I purchased my first Green Day album because I had just moved to Oakland and some of the guys I worked with at the book warehouse were surprised that a cool guy like myself would be without that essential recording. In order to fit in with my peer group of book schleppers, I raced out and picked up my very own copy. By then, I didn't really need to listen to it. "Longview," "Basket Case," and "Welcome To Paradise" had already been committed to memory by anyone who worked in the warehouse back in 1994. Someone had made a cassette that played in heavy rotation at the packing line, alternately with all the various permutations of the Grateful Dead and their offshoots. The Grateful Dead, by the way, are also members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. You'll never guess why I bought my copy of "American Beauty."