Book Review: Green Day Photographs By Bob Gruen

Release Date: August 27th, 2019

For nearly 50 years, Bob Gruen has photographed some of music’s biggest icons: John Lennon, The Clash, The Ramones, Blondie, and Sex Pistols to name a few. He’s been invited into the lives of several rock icons, including Green Day. Gruen has captured the band on and off the stage for the past 25 years. Now, fans can follow his adventures with the band in his latest photo book Green Day Photographs by Bob Gruen.

Gruen’s stunning work captures different aspects of Green Day like playing hard on stage to goofing off behind the scenes. Gruen’s talent and keen eye for capturing both huge and intimate moments are on full display.  While there are some well-known images here, there’s plenty of unseen photos for fans to obsess over. Gruen gives us rare access to the band in the studio and backstage before and after a show. He also includes photos of Billie Joe Armstrong as St. Jimmy in the American Idiot Broadway show, shots from the intimate (and sweaty) Foxboro Hot Tubs shows, and the band’s 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction.

The book is also packed with exciting shots of the band on stage. Gruen manages to channel the essence of a Green Day concert in his live photos. Pictures of Mike Dirnt jumping in the air, Billie firing the t-shirt cannon, and thousands of sweaty fans shouting their lungs out show the energy, passion, and fun that is a Green Day show. He even highlights the lucky few who have joined the band on stage. You can hear the roar of the crowd and Armstrong wailing “Hey oh!” when flipping through these pages. If you’ve seen Green Day live, you’ll relive your own concert memories. If you haven’t, these pictures make you want to have that experience.

As an added bonus, the book includes a handwritten introduction by Armstrong reminiscing first meeting Gruen and their long-lasting relationship. The band also provides funny and insightful commentary throughout. The book matches Green Day’s punk aesthetic thanks in part to Avi Spivak’s charming illustrations. They look like what you’d see on the back of a spiral-bound notebook. Doodles of the band, Gruen, and other designs pop off the page, yet they’re small and simple enough where they don’t overshadow the main focus of the book.

Green Day Photographs by Bob Gruen is a must-have for your collection. A band as big as Green Day deserves to be photographed by the best and this book shows Gruen is more than worthy. He has a knack for capturing the band in their element whether it’s on stage or in the studio. The mix of familiar pictures and rare photos along with the band’s commentary and Spivak’s charming doodles makes this a book you won’t want to put down.

Green Day Photographs by Bob Gruen is out now via Abrams Image.

Related Images:

Bob Gruen - Green Day Photographs
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Ashley Perez Hollingsworth

Ashley Perez is a freelance music journalist based in Chicago. Her work has appeared on AXS, Chicago Innerview, New City, The Millions, and Illinois Entertainer. She also runs her own music blog at Radio Not Found. Some of her favorite bands include Nirvana, The Cure, Muse, Creeper, and Green Day.

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