Wednesday, December 15, marked the 30th anniversary of Green Day‘s sophomore album, Kerplunk! In celebration of the milestone, frontman Billie Joe Armstrong shared a series of photos from the Kerplunk! days, as well as a retrospective essay written by Larry Livermore, co-founder of the punk label Lookout Records, which first released the album.
The photos, which Armstrong shared in an Instagram post, is about par for the course for what you might expect from the then-teenage punk trio in 1991, including a shot of Billie smoking a makeshift bong.
The essay, meanwhile, finds Livermore reflecting on Kerplunk!‘s unusual week-before-Christmas release date, and recalling how his “idiotically large” order of 10,000 copies sold out in a single day. Livermore also wrote about his inspiration for the infamous “Laurie L” character, whose letter declaring she’d killed her parents so they couldn’t stop her from touring with Green Day.
Mostly, though, the essay paints the picture of a band on the precipice of becoming world rock stars.
“People typically assume Dookie, which came out in 1994, was Green Day’s breakthrough, but it was with Kerplunk!, more than two years earlier, that the band reached escape velocity,” Livermore wrote. “We who had known them since the beginning could only watch in awe as they headed for the stars.”
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