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Music Preview: Green Day vs. Blink-182

It's a battle of the bratty punk heroes on the Pop Disaster Tour

Friday, May 24, 2002

By Scott Mervis, Weekend Editor, Post-Gazette

Green Day -- Mike Dirnt, Billie Joe Armstrong and Tre Cool -- kept the critics listening even after the "Dookie" backlash.

Green Day

WITH: Saves the Day.

WHERE: Post-Gazette Pavilion, Burgettstown.

WHEN: Tomorrow at 7 p.m.

TICKETS: $32.50 advance; $34.50 at door. 412-323-1919.


Justin Stephens

Blink-182 -- Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker and Tom DeLonge -- has the support of fans and the critics are coming around.

While it's not exactly the Beatles-Stones or the Clash-Sex Pistols rivalry, the meeting of Green Day with Blink-182 is decent fodder for a pop debate.

The argument probably wouldn't last long though, seeing as how it would pit the rock critic and record store music geek (Green Day) against the dazed MTV watcher just as likely to be listening to Pink as Blink.

The common ground is that both bands are bratty, both are thrashy, both have been known to traffic in teen angst, but by most accounts, Green Day gets the upper hand, not only for leading that first wave of punk revival in the '90s, but for being less of a cartoon, if that's at all possible.

Green Day recovered from the backlash that followed the success of the amazing "Dookie" to become something of a classic rock band. It's no accident that they were the ones honored with covering for the Ramones a few months ago at the punk band's induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In the summer of 2002, however, Blink-182 is the stronger contender in the pop market. Green Day's "Warning" -- a midtempo affair that kicked off with the sound of an acoustic guitar -- limped to gold and fell off the charts after 25 weeks. Getting the bigger media push was Blink's the crunchier (and I'd say better) "Take Off Your Pants and Jacket," which dealt with some serious issues despite the prank name. Blink's record debuted at No. 1, just went double platinum and is hanging in there after 48 weeks.

The Pop Disaster Tour puts them on the same stage and, although they've played down the battle, you can bet they'll be looking to outgun each other. Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong told Rolling Stone, "I look at it as a challenge, as a sort of drag race."

Here's the tale of the tape:


 Green Day Blink-182
Formed:Berkeley, Calif., 1989.Poway, Calif, 1993.
Original name(s):Sweet Children.Duck Tape; Blink.
What’s their age again?:Billie Joe Armstrong 30; Mike Dirnt 30; Tre Cool 29. Mark Hoppus 30; Tom DeLonge 26; Travis Barker 26.
Sound like:Buzzcocks, Sex Pistols.Descendants.
Biggest indulgence:Fake British accents.Frat-boy stage chatter.
First big package tour:Lollapalooza, 1994.Warped Tour, 1996.
Biggest gig: Riotous mudfight at Woodstock II.MTV Millennium bash.
Biggest sellers:"Dookie" sold 10 million!"Enema of the State" sold 3 million.
On growing up:"We’re not gonna try and act immature for the rest of our lives. Our band is not an inside joke. We write real songs and we want to grow older with class. And with dignity." Dirnt to PG, 2001."There’s plenty of time in your life to worry about bills and to grow up and all that [stuff], and you only get one chance to be young and I’m gonna hold onto that for as long as possible." Hoppus to PG, 1998.
Bragging rights:Tre Cool called "Warning" an "instant classic."DeLonge on "Dammit" (to the Web site Launch): "It was easily more progressive than the Offspring songs, Green Day, or Rancid."
Greatest exposure:Armstrong was arrested for mooning a Milwaukee audience in 1995, setting him back $141.85.Blink: No shirts, no pants in video for "What’s My Age Again?," earning them TRL domination.
Punk credibility:Standing in for the Ramones at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.Henry Rollins told the PG, "If in 1984, Blink-182 would have opened for [Black Flag], our audience would have beat the crap out of them..." He also said of Blink’s sound, "It’s very catchy and if I was in 9th grade I’d be like all into it."
Biggest award:Best Alternative Album Grammy for "Dookie."MTV Video Music Award for "All the Small Things."
Number of records on Spin’s list of 90 best records of the ’90s:"Dookie," No. 53. 0.
Rolling Stone’s take:Best New Band, 1995."Take Off Your Pants and Jacket," four stars.
Teen angst:"I found out what it takes to be a man/ Now mom and dad will never understand/ What’s happening to me," from "Come Clean.""If we’re [bleeped] up, you’re to blame," from "Anthem Part Two."
Street fighting men:Dirnt gets skull fractured by beer bottle during fracas with guy in Third Eye Blind (1998).Barker breaks finger confronting some "big, jock-looking types" harassing his girlfriend (2000 tour).
Playing with fire:Flaming drum kit.Flaming f-word.
Current stage shtick:Let three fans play Operation Ivy song.Let Travis defy gravity.
Movie/TV roles:None, but "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" was used on "Seinfeld" finale.Played garage band in "American Pie"; Jan and Dean in "Shake, Rattle and Roll."
The offspring:Armstrong has two kids; Dirnt has a daughter.Married ... without children.
Parental advisory:Two stickers.Four stickers.
Pop Disaster reviews:"Green Day’s well-rounded arsenal is a progression of talent that Blink-182 is still years away from." (Houston Chronicle)."The crowd of mostly teen-agers reacted fanatically to the Blink boys’ shenanigans and adolescent jokes ..." (Denver Post).
Final thoughts:Armstrong to Rolling Stone, 2001: "I think that we’ve stuck to what we believe in. I don’t feel like we’ve whored ourselves. Everything that we’ve achieved has come naturally to us." Hoppus to Allentown Morning Call: "I think the kids who listen to our band know that we’re a fairly serious band with our music. We just don’t take ourselves seriously at all once we get up on stage."

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