The three misfits from California which make up the band Green Day came into my life when I was around seven years old. It seems like an entire lifetime ago now, maybe because I found them in a completely different life than the one I’m in now. I still remember the first time I heard them as if it were only yesterday.
My family and I were on our way to visit my grandparents for Sunday dinner. As usual when riding in the car, Magic 105.4 Radio was on, something which still is a bit of a custom today. The opening notes of Good Riddance seeped through the speakers, haunting my younger eardrums. As I didn’t have the massive appreciation of music that I do now, I simply liked it because the violins sounded pretty, and Billie Joe’s voice was incredibly soothing.
When we arrived as my grandparents’ house, my uncle Roger was already there. There’s always one aunt or uncle in your family who is a real music nut - Roger was that for me. He was a massive fan of Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, and Iggy Pop. So, I told him about the song that I had heard on the radio, and he said; “Oh, that’s Green Day. Come with me and I’ll play you some more of their music.” Now, I’m aware of how sketchy that sounds, but it was all legitimate. He had the Dookie album on vinyl, and starting with Welcome to Paradise, he played me the whole thing.
You know when you have those moments which shape the person you’re going to be as you move from one stage of your life into another? That first play of Dookie was one of mine. From my growing infatuation with Green Day over the years, I discovered bands such as Blink 182 and Simple Plan, which led me on to bands like Rancid and The Sex Pistols. While I may not listen to all of those bands, and others I found during the time after that, I still enjoy them if they come up on shuffle.
Seven years later, I hit the lowest trough of my depression, having no other way of dealing with things than self-harm and attempting to take my own life. One night, I wrote a note to my parents, intending to end my life that night. While I was writing it, Boulevard of Broken Dreams had been playing on my iPod. It wasn’t the first time that I’d heard that song, but it was the first time that I paid attention to the lyrics and what I thought they meant. That was the point that I established with myself that I wasn’t the only person to be dealing with depression, even though it would feel like it for several years to come. If other people could have felt the same way that I did, and sometimes still do, and come through it, why shouldn’t I have been able to do the same?
Green Day is the one band that gave me the determination to get through my depression, because their music was there to pick me up after a fall. They gave me the notion that I wasn’t alone in my plight to rid myself of the black cloud which is only now starting to lift. They helped me grow up, grow into an adult, grow more as a person. There’s so much that this band’s music has done for me, so much so that I tell Billie Joe I love him every time I see Green Day live. To reach out to so many people like that through their music, is something that not a lot of bands can pull off to such a massive effect… but I’m glad that I found this band when I did. They gave me my life back, and I’ll always owe them for that.