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Love Letter To A Record: Clowns On Green Day’s ‘Dookie’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become. 

In this Love Letter To A Record series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Jake, Clowns – Green Day, Dookie(1994)

I never thought I’d fall so deeply in love with a record that is named after a literal piece of shit, but here we are…

Dear Dookie,

When I was 14 years old I was pretty accustomed to being banned from listening to many 90’s/00’s albums that I liked… Limp Bizkit’s Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavored Water, Afroman’s ‘Because I Got High’ single and Eminem’s The Eminem Show all come to mind. A juvenile’s mind runs wild and I remember a burning desire for extreme forms of music, something to make me laugh or sing along, something with themes that a young, immature and small-attention-spanned teenage mind can relate to.

My soul searching So Fresh – Summer of 2003 days were over and I was leaning more and more into a guitar-playing, rock and roll obsession. One fateful night, sleeping over at a buddy’s house circa 2005, Green Day found a place in my heart that I didn’t know existed. School holidays, late at night, deep in a YouTube hole, stoned, sipping from a month-old goon bag that we’d be stashing, I first saw the video for Green Day’s ‘Basket Case’.

What can I say? Do you believe in love at first sight? Hindsight is 20-20 and it just had to be love, because who could have predicted just HOW MUCH that fateful moment would have changed my life forever. I hit Limewire and downloaded the album the very next day and to my surprise, I had discovered an album that I was actually allowed to listen to. My parents approved. In fact, my Dad was the first to tell me that he loved the song ‘Longview’ (yes, the one about jerking off. Safer than drug and murder references I guess!)

Because of Dookie (still sounds funny to say) I had suddenly grown an appreciation for the musicianship of each member of Green Day. It’s easy to love Billie Joe Armstrong for the bratty punk sing-alongs and crunchy guitar tones, but the drums and bass stand so proud and prominent in the mix of the record. Mike Dirnt is crucially the glue of the band playing such solid grooves and vocal harmonies and Tre Cool, to this day, is easily one of the most influential drummers for my drumming. I remember so vividly listening to the speed of the hi-hat on the opening verse of the track ‘Burnout’ and just thinking to myself that it was IMPOSSIBLY fast.

Here I am, a now pushing 30 man, trying to break the sound barrier with that same speed and intensity that Tre so effortlessly played.

Perhaps without even knowing it, Green Day introduced a pop sensibility to me. Hidden away within the raw intensity of these songs are some melodies that sink their hooks deep. ‘Welcome To Paradise’ – clearly an angry song with intense lyrics about running away from home and living on the street -is laced with clever melodies. Same with ‘Chump’ and ‘Sassafras Roots’, songs of love, loss and hate which are still superglued to my brain some 15 years later.

I owe a lot to Dookie. There are probably so many of my favourite bands, albums and songs that wouldn’t exist without it. Hell, I don’t even know if Clowns would exist without it. Thanks for giving my life some direction and turning me onto punk music, because I would probably be

working some dumb office job without it.

Love you always, Dookie and Green Day. Let’s share the stage someday? Cool.

Jake,

Clowns

Listen to ‘Does It Matter’, the new single from Clowns, here.

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