Green Day’s pop-punk sound is infectious; it embodies everything catchy about 90’s-era punk. But who could possibly forget about Blink 182 in their heyday, either? They even headlined together in 2002 for the Pop Disaster Tour. So, let’s explore Blink 182 vs. Green Day.
Here’s what I think:
Green Day has sold 72% more records than Blink 182, and still retaining all its original members, Green Day is far more likely to remain more popular than Blink 182. And while the press exaggerated their rivalry, both bands have made genuinely negative comments about one another.
The question inevitably came up, were Blink 182 and Green Day friends? Or was their relationship something more competitive?
How could they have passed the ball of hit songs back and forth without at least a little bit of rivalry? Surely they were aware of who was selling more albums or who had more hit singles.
What kind of relationship did these two iconic bands have with each other?
I decided to do some investigating. It was great digging into the stories of these two bands that continue to produce great music 20+ years later.
On this day 19 years ago, blink-182 and Green Day kicked off the iconic Pop Disaster Tour – the grandest pop-punk spectacle in the history of music! 🤘 pic.twitter.com/WMEuS3AQEO
— blink-182 Italia (@blink182italia) April 17, 2021
Are Green Day and Blink 182 Friends?
Green Day and Blink 182 are not close friends. They had a rivalry in their heyday that was mostly friendly, but both Tre Cool and Tom DeLonge have made disparaging comments about each other’s bands in the press.
When Blink 182 and Green Day appeared as co-headliners for the Pop Disaster Tour in 2002, a lot of people were both surprised and thrilled. For some fans, it was like a dream come true. For other fans, it sounded absurd.
Blink fans and Green Day fans tend to passionately support their chosen band while simultaneously rejecting the merits of the other.
Lots of Green Day fans think that Blink 182 is a joke, and Blink fans think Green Day are pompous jerks (to put it nicely).
But were they actually friends among themselves?
It is hard to answer this question because, in the end, I can only base my conclusions on what was publicly spoken.
It seems like Blink 182 and Green Day were, for the most part, friendly with each other. If you take a look at Riding in Vans with Boys, a ridiculous mock ¨documentary¨ of the Pop Disaster Tour, you’ll notice that everyone seems to be getting along just fine.
It is interesting to note that Tre Cool (Green Day’s drummer) was never interviewed in the movie. Some fans think that he really didn’t have anything nice to say.
They take his absence as symbolic.
There is a really well-known interview where Tre Cool rather arrogantly refers to how Green Day outperformed Blink 182 on tour.
There is another where Tom DeLonge (the former frontman of Blink 182) refers to Tre Cool as ‘retarded’. He also mentions that there was natural competitiveness between the bands but that the members generally got along well.
Travis Barker (the drummer from Blink 182), referring to the time on the Pop Disaster Tour, once said,
¨We had amps set up in my dressing room because I’d play all day, but I had an actual kit in there. So Tre Cool would come in and play, Billie Joe Armstrong would come in and play, and then Tom was like, ‘Hey motherfucker, I wanna play.’ I said, ‘Come in anytime, come play.’*
It’s safe to say that when you have a group of people, not everyone will get along all of the time.
I think this is especially true when you have a group of talented artists who probably have inflated egos due to their success and popularity.
Maybe they weren’t the best of friends, but I don’t think they were the worst of enemies, either.
US Top Album Sales:
#49(-2) Green Day – Revolution Radio
6,100 (144,100 total sales). pic.twitter.com/8VmtQRdLF3
— Green Day Charts (@GreenDayCharts) November 27, 2016
Who Sold More Albums, Blink 182, or Green Day?
Green Day has sold more albums than Blink 182. Green Day has released a total of 13 studio albums and sold almost 86 million records over their whole career. Blink 182, by comparison, has sold about 50 million albums in total.
Dookie alone, Green Day’s 1994 release, sold nearly 20 million copies worldwide. That’s an impressive total for just one album, and it is considered to be the best-selling punk album of all time.
These numbers will continue to grow for both bands though.
Blink 182 released an album Nine in 2019 and reportedly has another on the way for release in 2021. Green Day released Father of all Motherf***ers in 2020.
That being said, with Tom DeLonge gone from Blink 182 (for his 2nd and likely last time), Blink 182 are unlikely to ever regain the popularity they had in the 90s and early 2000s.
Awesome picture of the original blink-182 line-up with surf legend Rob Machado in Honolulu, Hawaii, December 1995 – generously shared by Rick DeVoe! 📸 pic.twitter.com/cwQORzsmBx
— blink-182 Italia (@blink182italia) April 23, 2021
Did Blink 182 Start After Green Day?
Blink 182 got started 3 years after Green Day, with Green Day forming in 1989 and Blink 182 in 1992. Green Day had already released its first 2 albums by the time Blink 182 started.
Forming in the late 80s, by 1989, Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt were playing with the original drummer Al Sobrante (later replaced by Tre Cool) and had settled on the name Green Day.
They were definitely making a name for themselves in the underground punk scene in Northern California.
Blink 182 came out of Southern California, the suburbs of San Diego, to be exact, in 1992.
By the time Blink 182 came onto the scene in a big way, Green Day had released various LPs and was touring with their album Kerplunk, which was gaining them a lot of notoriety.
Entering into a playing field with quite a bit of competition, in 1993, Blink 182 released Fly Swatter, on their own dime, just before Green Day released the record-shattering album Dookie.
Mark Hoppus of Blink 182 has been quoted as having been inspired by Green Day.
It seems inevitable that Blink would have been inspired by Green Day. One could easily say that Green Day blazed a path into pop music for the punk genre, and Blink 182 followed.
Ever wondered what a Blink-182 version of Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’ would sound like? https://t.co/is04DrJr0G pic.twitter.com/a4DY0RU7Ab
— Rock Sound (@rocksound) September 27, 2019
Did the Press Fabricate the Rivalry Between Blink 182 and Green Day?
The negative statements that both Tre Cool of Green Day and Tom DeLonge of Blink 182 have made about one another’s bands were not fabricated. But the press did make it seem as if there was a larger rift between the bands than was really there.
Officially, according to Blink 182 and Green Day themselves, there was nothing but respect between the two bands.
So why was there so much controversy over Blink 182 vs. Green Day? Where did the story come from that they were enemies?
Mark Hoppus is on record as saying:
“For years, the press has tried to make out some kind of rivalry between Green Day and us, especially over in Europe. In every interview, they were trying to start some sort of feud between us, and it got to the point where actually I called a mutual friend and said, ‘hey, will you tell those guys we have no animosity toward them. We put this tour together to prove people wrong.”
But there was a genuine rivalry under the surface that couldn’t quite be buried.
Tre Cool’s notorious comment, ¨We set out to reclaim our throne as the most incredible live punk band there is…¨ is a genuine admission of that truth.
While I do not think the press fabricated the rivalry between Blink 182 and Green Day, I do think they latched onto it and made it a bigger deal than it was.
Reviewers were quite honest in praising Green Day’s energetic live performances and calling out Blink 182 for falling flat by comparison while on the Pop Disaster tour.
And honestly, fans of both of the groups also hold responsibility for exacerbating the Green Day vs. Blink 182 rivalry.
Green Day fans typically accuse Blink 182 of:
- being too dependent on simple formulas for their songs
- Relying too heavily on sound effects and lyrical cop-outs
- Not being good live performers
- Having really immature lyrics
Blink 182 fans typically accuse Green Day of:
- Sounding the same in all of their songs
- Using really simple chord progressions
- Being too political
If you visit any chats or forums regarding these two bands, you will inevitably find impassioned fans hating on the other band.
When it comes down to a Blink 182 vs. Green Day analysis, I think it is best to take each band for what they are and what they offer to the genre of punk-pop.
No reporter or member of the press has to fabricate or exaggerate the very real accomplishments of each band.
When it comes to the question of whether Blink 182 or Green Day were friends or enemies, it seems wise to conclude that it doesn’t really matter.
What difference does it make?
Each band created music that was unique and groundbreaking in its heyday. From the evidence I’ve seen, it seems that there was genuine respect and admiration from both sides for the other. If the fans want to nitpick and take sides, that’s their deal.
I’m just glad to know that these guys continue to create music after all these years.
Photos that require attribution:
Blink – 182 by Carl Lender and Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown Release Party by GillyBerlin are licensed under CC2.0 and were cropped, edited, merged, and had a text and graphic overlay added.