Dookie And Me

I was brought up on a steady diet of bubbly pop and folk music.  To find any form of music in my childhood household with Floyd, Zepplin, Hendrix or even The Beatles on the cover would be impossible.  My father grew up with an acoustic guitar in his hand listening to acts like The Byrds, The Lovin’ Spoonful and John Denver while my mother on the other hand was a top 40 kind of girl.  As the years grew on and my folks ended up together, artists like Elton John, Billy Joel and Meatloaf would be constants on the record player.

Before we continue on I have to say that there is nothing wrong with any of the acts listed above.  I still love listening to Billy Joel and would say his live show that I happened to catch in Ottawa a few years ago, is one of my favourite shows to date (hence my acceptance of being the pop guy on the site).  But with so much iconic music from their era it’s at times, mind boggling that none of it crept into my young world.

Turn the clock ahead to Christmas of 93, and there’s me opening my very first cd player along with a copy of Dance Mix 93 and Billy Joel’s The Stranger (as if any other album would be my first).  I spun those two CDs until there were holes worn in each.  My own voyage into the musical spectrum had just begun, but being only 13 the concept of money was something I was yet to grasp.  How would I expand my musical horizons if I wasn’t able to purchase other CDs?  Needless to say it didn’t happen often, so when I did have the ability to buy an album (birthday money, the odd $10 for mowing my grandparents lawn, etc) I had to make sure that it was something I’d enjoy and without youtube or iTunes the only way to figure this out was either the radio or MuchMusic.

In early 1994, three punks from California became musical icons with their second full length album, Dookie.  The first single from the multi million selling album was a track called “Longview”.  With no hidden meaning or message, the song was simple and to the point, but more importantly hit a nerve which resonated with a large group of the youth growing up at that time (little did we all know that really it was about jerking off and smoking pot, but that’s ok because you probably shouldn’t know about that stuff when your 12 and 13)

……….Just as a side note, you have to understand that the pop scene was rolling along thanks to the likes of New Kids On The Block and Boyz II Men, and the grunge scene was in full swing as Nirvana and Soundgarden rocked on, yet there was still a void out there for those of us who didn’t fit in with the two major dominant genres……..

So with a hit single and the promise of more to come, Dookie became the album that had to be purchased.  All of the cool kids were hyping it up and everyone wants to be a cool kid.  I don’t remember buying the album, but I can remember hearing it for the first time.  It was completely different from anything and everything I ever heard before.  Gone were the sunny skies and acoustic guitars, traded in for panic, boredom, sexual frustration and an over all attitude that I wasn’t use to.  It wasn’t an instant hit to my ears, but over the course of a few spins the album would grow on me.  Now when I sit back and listen to the album it’s obvious that this would be the perfect album to introduce a 13 year old me to the punk scene….or should I say the pop-punk scene.

Filled with catchy hooks and an archive filled with poppy riffs Dookie would spawn five singles, sell over 20 million albums and allow three kids from California to absolutely take over the music scene.  It was an album that allowed the idea of punk to rise from the underground scene and become something more mainstream.  Gone were the days where punks would only be found hiding out in dingy, low lit bars, now they would be found everywhere.  It also allowed for the world of pop-punk to explode into the industry (do we really have mainstays like Blink 182, No Doubt, The Offspring and Weezer if Dookie bombs?)

People argue that Green Day have not been able to capture that raw, energetic magic since Dookie hit the shelves, and maybe they’re right, but there is no denying that next to Nevermind  and OK Computer, this album has to be considered one of the most influential albums of the 90’s…..and one that most definitely left it’s musical mark on me.

About the author


Jeff is one-fourth of the group that makes up HAFILAX. His usual ramblings can be read right here on the website. If reading isn't your thing, he also hosts the Basement Tapes podcast.