Punk & Hardcore

Why I Still Love Green Day's Dookie, 20 Years After Its Release

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See also: Green Day's Dookie and the Peak of Western Civilization

Until then, I'd never heard of Green Day, because it was 1994 and I was still stuck on Physical Graffiti and Siamese Dream, but on that day, I went home after school and turned on MTV.

During the ninety minutes between the end of school and the start of swim practice, I saw the video for "Longview" at least 900 times, or it seems that way because after 20 years, it feels like Dookie, the album from which "Longview" and four other top-ten singles sprang, has always been around, like the Rolling Stones or Pat Sajak. It was like one day there was no Dookie and then the next day nobody didn't have a copy, poring over the mysterious in-jokes buried in the cover.

And that cover! Dogs burying the world in shit! It was like a deliberately half-assed Where's Waldo drawing done by a Garbage Pail Kid. I still think the cover of NOFX's The Longest Line is better and funnier, but Dookie's CD liner is the one I more accurately recreate in my brain.

Did you have a CD with the Ernie doll on the back? Did you wonder if bringing a plush toy to a mosh pit was a regular thing to do at Berkeley punk shows? Because I did, though I never asked any of these older kids I hung out with at lunch who'd actually seen Green Day ("like a bunch of times"), at the Gilman Theater, the Vatican of East Bay punk. These know-it-all kids insisted that Kerplunk! was way better than Dookie, preaching an anti-sellout gospel I'd later learn came from the cult of Tim Yohannon, founder of Maximumrocknroll.

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Steve Steward
Contact: Steve Steward