In the fall of 2004, I and a bunch of other people were trooped into a boardroom at Warner Music Canada’s headquarters for an album listening session. The record in question was Green Day’s American Idiot. We were confused. Wasn’t this band like, you know, done? Why was he label making such a big deal about their new record?
Pat, the band’s manager, was at the meeting. He calmly explained what the band had been doing over the last 18 months or so and stated his belief that the record was destined to be a giant hit. He’d convinced Warner and now he was on a mission to convince radio people. Fifty-seven minutes later, it mission accomplished.
The album was released on September 20, 2004. Four days later, I went to see Green Day at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto where the audience already knew ever work and sang along for the entire show.
American Idiot has sold somewhere north of 15 million copies, spawned several tours, a live album and even a Broadway musical. It also breathed new life into concept albums, an artform that had long been considered highly uncool. Five singles came from the album, including “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” a song that was used on countless news stories about Hurricane Katrina.
It is easily one of the biggest and most important alt-rock albums of the 21st century so far. Kerrang has this great story called “12 Reasons American Idiot is F**king Awesome.”