GreenDay.com has changed immensely since its launch in the mid-90s, growing from a fan passion project in its earliest years to an official fan hub (along with their Idiot fan club) for the better part of the following 20 years before entering its current incarnation as a glorified link to their online store.
The reason for its present state can be attributed to the rise of social media sites like Twitter and Instagram which offer more convenient ways to disseminate news to the masses, but thanks to the Wayback Machine, we can take a look back at how the site has changed and evolved over the past 27 years. This article will continue to be updated in the years to come with each new coat of paint that the site receives.
1996 – Insomniac era
In the fall of 1995, my family computer was equipped with a 14.4 kbps modem and the first thing I did once online was look for a Green Day website; this fan site at greenday.com popped up. It doesn’t look like much now, but it was amazing to have access to information and pictures you’d only previously been able to piece together from scattered magazine interviews. It took about 10 minutes to actually load the picture page (forget about trying to load any videos), but it blew my mind to see my favourite band come to life in photos and articles along with being able to connect with other fans from around the world.
This site not only inspired me to start my own Green Day website in the fall of 1996 but soon, with the rise of the Geocities free website hosting service, there would also be fans from all over the world creating them.
1997 – Pre Nimrod
Things started falling apart on the fansite in late 1996 and it was plagued with frequent downtime due to not paying their hosting bills. Shortly after this redesign was put up, ownership of the greenday.com domain was transferred to the band and its days as a fan site were over.
1998 – Nimrod era
Green Day’s first official site was launched for the release of Nimrod, but it wasn’t actually hosted at greenday.com. The previously fan-owned domain, which had been down for almost a year, was taken over by the band in the latter part of 1998 and re-directed to a new homepage on the band’s label website at repriserec.com/greenday.
A popular site feature at the time was the chance to be showcased as the “Idiot of the Month”. Each month a fan who had mailed in a photo and their answers to questions like “Why are you such an idiot” and “Why would an alien want to abduct you” would have the chance to be displayed on the site. On a personal note, this site was huge for me as their links page listed only one Green Day site and it was this one – they called it “a really cool fan site” which was pretty awesome.
2000 – Warning era
Green Day’s first official website at greenday.com finally launched prior to the release of Warning in 2000. It was a step up in design and actually included fairly regular news updates. If you look closely at the band members’ names in the top middle of the picture, you can see Billie’s name is incorrectly spelled as “Billy”.
Early 2002 – International Superhits! era
This period for the official website was what I would consider its peak era. The new International Superhits! inspired design not only had frequent news updates, event listings, a message forum, and a healthy photo section – it also featured phone messages sent in directly by the band members. Several unreleased songs were shared in the messages along with other fun updates on what the band and the members were up to. Unlike later designs that we’ll get to shortly, this one felt like a fan site and was actually worth visiting on a daily basis.
Late 2002 – Shenanigans era
Continuing with the same great site as earlier in the year, it was given a bit of a fresh look for the release of Shenanigans. However, having your curser turned into a Green Day spray paint bottle was an annoyingly cheezy step too far in trying to tie into the album art theme and it got old fast.
2004 – American Idiot era
Green Day’s website designer jumped head over heels into the Adobe Flash era with this American Idiot inspired design. It was a well-done website visually with elements disappearing, re-arranging, resizing, and then popping back in to fit each new page you clicked to. But using the site got old pretty fast with an annoying swishing sound effect as the screen rearranged with every click and a ticking noise when hovering links. It looked great – but as for usability, it was probably the worst design in the site’s history.
2009 – 21st Century Breakdown era
A welcomed back-to-basics design was introduced with the arrival of 21st Century Breakdown. While there wasn’t anything that really stood out about this design, one unique aspect of the site was the lyrics section. Each song on the album had a domain purchased for it (ie. “know-your-enemy.com”, “murdercity.org”), and clicking the song name would bring you to its website with a relevant background image and the lyrics overlayed.
2011 – Awesome As Fuck era
The redesign for Awesome As Fuck brings some life back to the website by returning a regularly updated news section to the homepage along with upcoming events and a Twitter feed of Billie Joe’s tweets. The design reminds me of the 2002 versions of the website where it felt more like a fan site you’d wanna keep tabs on daily rather than just a corporate site directing you to buy merch and tour tickets.
2012 – Trilogy promotion
2012 – Uno/Dos/Tre era
The Uno/Dos/Tre version of the website matches the aesthetic of the era pretty well but it’s a little too busy for my taste. The carousel of Instagram posts from each band member was a solid addition combined with the regularly updated news section and tweets from Billie on the homepage which again gave you a reason to actually visit the site on a regular basis.
2016 – Revolution Radio era
The redesign for the release of Revolution Radio started the official site’s transition to a dull corporate one-page design they’d fully embrace the following year. All social aspects of the site have now been fully removed with only the news and photos sections remaining to give you any reason to visit the site more than once.
2017 – God’s Favorite Band era
The 2017 revamp of the website wants you in and out as quickly as possible. Buy a God’s Favorite Band merch bundle, watch the Back In The USA music video and be on your way.
2019 – Father Of All era
There’s a menu of links again! Ignoring the fact that half of them lead away from the site (music, videos, store), at least we have a news section again – although you’d be kept better updated by just following the band’s official social media feeds. Continuing the trend since the 2016 redesign, there’s no reason to visit this site more than once, it’s built to get you in and out as quickly as possible (don’t forget your Father Of All… merch).
2023 – Nimrod XXV era
The site received a small graphic update for the release of the Nimrod XXV anniversary set and a new outbound link to their Oakland Coffee store but otherwise remains the same one-and-done visit website it has been for the previous decade.
As you can see, Green Day’s official website has changed a great deal since its early days, and not really for the better in recent years. We can blame social media for that but it’s still fun to track the progression of the site over time and see the changing designs for each new album or compilation the band releases. Hopefully, fan sites like this one can help fill the void for everything else that it lacks.