Green Day - American Idiots and the New Punk Explosion
(Ben Myers - IMP Books)

This book claims that Green Day are the biggest punk rock band in the world.

There are many so called purist punks who'd disagree with this statement, denying that the band are 'punk' and slating them for daring to be successful.

What this book does very well is to locate the origins of Green Day in the punk scene of California of the late 80s / early 90s, and particularly that of the DIY venue Gilman Street from which the band emerged. However Myers also notes that from their outset, the 3 latchkey misfits making up the band had an ear for an infectious pop melody that would propel them beyond the limited horizons of the punk scene of the day, for whom selling 1000 albums was a huge achievement.

The author then goes on to make his case that, despite their success, the rise and rise of Green Day is very far from being a sell out, with the intelligent political comment of 'American Idiot' underlining this point - surely it is better if several million people hear this brutal heartfelt attack on Bush's society than just a squat full of already converted hard core punks?

Myers makes his points with humour, passion, knowledge and commitment - punk rock is obviously something that really matters to him, not just a way of making a quick buck. He's on our side. As these lines show: "Teenage life is inordinately complex and troublesome but an electric guitar is extremely simple. You turn it on and you hit it a bit. Keep hitting it and sooner or later something good will come out of it".

If you want a coffee table book full of pretty pix of the boys, this is not the Green Day book for you. But if you want to understand the punk milieu from which they sprung, and how they continue to relate to it, then there's nothing to surpass it.

Even better, it triggered off an argument about the band and a general discussion about music with a load of strangers on the train to Edinburgh for the G8 protests that kept me occupied for nearly 1000 miles.



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