The Alternative Music Foundation with its location at 924 Gilman Street, in California, became a veritable Arcadia of 90s punk rock. The club’s mission was twofold. On the one hand, the West Berkeley located club offered the chance for new bands to play their original music in front of an audience eager to hear punk rock. Just as important, the bands and audience adhered to a strict code that discouraged violence and the use of narcotics.
Today we look at five of the most influential punk rock bands that graduated from the notorious 924 Gillman Street venue.
The band rarely courted mainstream success. But, Jawbreaker delivered a string of critically acclaimed albums until the band’s dissolution in 1996. The band’s influence could be felt in the sound, look
4. The Offspring
The Offspring story told before their 90s platinum success was a vastly different one from the tale most of their current biographies tell. The group was viewed as a
It’s likely a fair assessment that few of their contemporaries saw it coming either. The band already had already released two albums by the time of 1994’s Smash. The album spawned a number of hit singles that turned the Offspring, seemingly overnight, into one of the biggest bands in the U.S.
The band would enjoy consistent sales in the subsequent years. Their latest album appeared in 2012. Despite Gilman Street playing a large role in their formation, the association is often forgotten. This may be due to the fact that, unlike most of the other groups there, the Offspring were rarely favorably reviewed by the critical establishment.
Few punk bands have survived the 1990s as gracefully or left as big a legacy as Rancid. The band was created by Tim Armstrong, a veteran of Gilman Street. The music reflected the singer’s passion for the Clash and for classic American songwriting
Despite being less
2. Green Day
Green Day may have sold the most amount records out of any of the Gilman Street bands. But, they were also the group that many of the club’s regulars tried to consign to oblivion. The young members of Green Day were in fact known initially as one of the hardest working bands at Gilman. By 1994 they had released two albums and had gained significant underground notoriety.
As a popular vlog states,for the most part the type of music Green Day was making was miles apart from that of most other bands present at Gilman Street. The sound of the other bands tended to be faster, more aggressive. Many bands were identified as hardcore. Other groups fueled the lyrics of their songs with emotional confessions. There were also those that incorporated styles like ska into their sound.
From the very beginning, however, Green Day focused on classic rock songwriting and arrangements. While some fellow Gilman alumni would grow to hate them for it, Green Day’s songs always hinted towards something that could be played on commercial rock radio. Some might argue that this was a cynical attempt to use the resources offered by Gilman Street. Most others would agree that their songwriting chops and drive to succeed made them stronger candidates for reaching international fame.
Green Day’s 1994 album Dookie launched the band into superstardom. But, the band’s new
Before you get to our choice for the #1 spot, we thought we need to mention some of the other stellar groups to have played Gilman, or to have been involved with it. Christ on Parade has the distinction to have been the first band to headline shows at Gilman. Isocracy became something of a house band, having been formed of employees of the club. Pansy Division made a name for themselves at Gilman, before supporting Green Day on their Dookie tour and being exposed to a wider audience.
Other notable groups associated with Gilman Street include: Bad Religion, The Mr. T Experience, Corrupted Morals, Filth, Crimpshrine, Neurosis, Tilt, The Criminals, Squirtgun, AFI, Plaid Retina, 7 Seconds, Link 80, Monsula, The Lookouts, Pinhead Gunpowder.
No other band better expressed the hopeful spirit and the intensity of Gilman Street as Operation Ivy. The band’s members were teenagers when they began the band in 1987. Operation Ivy managed to forge a sound that fused the speed and aggression of hardcore punk, with the dynamics of ska. The band’s lyrics centered around themes of personal
Operation Ivy seemed destined for success. But, that would arrive only after the group had disbanded. This happened suddenly in 1989. Much like the Velvet Underground who had failed commercially, but had helped inspire a host of groups, so Operation Ivy would enjoy tremendous influence over the future wave of punk bands. Members of the group would go on to play in groups such as Rancid, Big Rig and Transplants.
The 924 Gilman Street remains a symbol of music and art created under a heavy