In the beginning, there was a trio of young Northern California rockers who released a neo-punk record titled Kerplunk (1992), and it was good (especially their cover of the Who's "My Generation"). The trio went by the name Green Day, and Kerplunk served notice that this band would not rest, even after the sixth day of moshing. Green Day was destined to be the light of the world -- much to the chagrin of its hard-core fans -- and that fate came to pass in 1994 with the release of Dookie.

Biblical overtones aside, Green did indeed coast into the disaffected hearts of teens everywhere, thanks to the meaty bass line of "Longview," that beloved ode to masturbation, and to Billie Joe Armstrong's affected British accent. Green Day became a sort of whitewashed Sid Vicious and company for the healthy, wealthy '90s.

Then came Insomniac (1995), which proved to be a cure for the affliction. Boasting a grand total of one good song ("Geek Stink Breath"), Insomniac filled the shelves of used-CD stores faster than you could say sellout. Same with Nimrod (1997). You know you've been stripped of all your punk vitamins and minerals when your song "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" is used in the farewell episode of Seinfeld.

So why even bother with Green Day's latest, Warning (more of the same watered-down power-pop, with a few novelty songs, like "Misery"), and its tour? Well, maybe you'll get to see Billie Joe naked again. More likely, you'll get to see what happens when a snarly trio of young men marry, breed and switch to decaf. If anything, show up early to catch openers, the Get Up Kids, for an interesting contrast in corporate punk versus ground-floor emo/punk sensibilities. A hundred bucks says Kansas City's Get Up Kids are happy to give interviews, unlike the headliners they're supporting.

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Melanie Haupt