The timing of Alan di Perna’s bio on Oakland’s favorite pop punks is a little ill-timed. The hardcover coffee table book is well-researched, impressively chronicled and features everything from pics of programs and old tour posters to t-shirts and rare flyers. But the book leaves the Green Day story in early 2012, just as the band is going into the studio to record what would be an ambitious three-album project spread out over several months. And shortly after the release of Uno!, front man Billie Joe had a very-public meltdown at a music festival in Las Vegas, followed almost immediately by the cancellation of their world tour and admission into a treatment facility.
Quite possibly the most significant event to happen to the band in the more than two decades they’ve been around and di Perna had the bad luck to miss that chapter by just a few months.
Aside from that, Green Day: the Ultimate Unauthorized History is quite impressive as music bios go. For one, the author has actually interviewed the band, several times over the years, so is able to provide plenty of color to his writing usually missing from the quickie bios that tend to just grab quotes piecemeal from various magazine profiles. Also, by producing a large hardcover book, the author and publisher are able to better showcase the band’s history beyond just writings. The book acts as a portable, personal museum of sorts for the band.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, there is no denying how highly influential the band has managed to be over their career. Despite constants criticism for selling out (first for jumping to a major label, later for taking American Idiot to Broadway), the band’s sound still sounds remarkably similar to the original singles they put out on Look Out Records. There’s no telling what lies ahead for the band at this point, but fans at least have a stellar new collectable to hang on to thanks to di Perna.
Green Day: The Ultimate Unauthorized History by Alan di Perna/Hardcover, 193 pages/Voyageur Press/2012