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Green Day - Punk Rock Sellouts or Entrepreneurial Geniuses?

Posted by Dale Berkebile on Wed, Jun 16, 2010

Green Day: Punk rock sellouts or entrepreneurial geniuses? - image

So the other Sunday I was watching Sunday Morning on CBS. The morning show, which I watch on a regular basis on Sunday mornings, was doing a special on Green Day and their rock opera American Idiot.

I was quite surprised to see an old punk rock band that I used to listen to quite a bit in the early and mid '90's. Since I have always had a fondness for punk rock music and their thoughts of DIY (do it yourself),  damn-the-man, and taking down the system, it made me think of what punk has become. It made me wonder has Green Day (and punk rock in general) sold-out?

For those of you unfamiliar with punk rock, this is a no-no. This goes against everything punks believe in. Then I take a look at myself, although I have kept some of my punk rock roots, I too am getting older, watching CBS's Sunday Morning, and have become quite the member of the business community in Cowtown (Fort Worth, TX). Although, I have built my business on the ol' DIY model, there are a lot of areas where I too may have sold-out in the eyes of a young passionate punk.

As I watch this interview with Green Day, I notice, they do not think they sold-out at all. They are loving where they have been able to take their music – to the masses. They have done a pretty good job reaching the masses by going from garage-underground bars to Broadway. 

Green Day seem to have done a good job of creating a rock opera that has a punk rock feel, but could be watched by the non-punk rock community like – 'gulp' – my mom or any lover of Broadway. Better yet, maybe they are bridging the gap and bringing punk music listeners to a Broadway musical. Talk about a big stretch for most young punks!

Anyhow, American Idiot has been open now for several months and seems to be doing quite well. Who woulda thought this young punk band could become serious business minded entrepreneurs.

So I am wondering, what do you think? 

See a before and after of Green Days career by watching the videos below. 

Green Day - Early Punk Rock Days:


Green Day - Entrepreneurial Rock Opera Days:

So although I have not listened to Green Day for sometime, I actually had to break out some of my old CD's and take a listen. I love their early stuff on 1,039/smoothed Out Slappy Hours, KERPLUNK and even Dookie. This is where I kind of stopped listening to them. Green Day however did make it into my 2007 wedding reception as the last song played. Now the song Good Riddance will forever be in my memory associated with good times in my life.

I think Green Day has done something pretty amazing! There were times when I thought they had sold-out, but I truly have to appreciate their business sense and the abilty to bring punk rock to the masses! It will be interesting to see where Green Day goes from here.

Here's one for the road - Good Riddance (time of your life):

Feel free to leave your thoughts on Green Day and your thoughts on their salesmanship and entrepreneurial skills. Or just your thoughts on how punk rock has moved into mainstream business.

Tags: Punk Rock Marketing, Punk Rock Branding

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