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Mega Man

The Demo Rundown

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Mega Man

Recording demos is a way for artists to record rough arrangements, either for their own use or for distribution. While many bands would shop their tapes around town, Green Day never seemed to distribute their recordings, they seemed to only exist for sorting out arrangements amongst the band and recording personnel, with few exceptions. The only releases seem to come from leaks, which are then distributed via bootlegs or the internet. With this thread, let's see if we can compile all the known demo recordings.

Sweet Children Demo Tape (1989)
As far as I know, this is Green Day's first demo, recorded at 924 Gilman by Marshall Stax. This recording was made for Tim Yohannon to get the band a gig at 924 Gilman (despite his lukewarm reception to the tape) (source). Tracklisting is potentially incomplete. Audio is unreleased, with exceptions listed below.
1. Don't Leave Me
2. I Want to Be Alone
3. Sweet Children (released on the soundtrack to Turn it Around: The Story of East Bay Punk)
4. Stay (frament featured in Turn it Around: The Story of East Bay Punk)
5. Unknown Instrumental

Green Day Demo (Unknown Date)
@LiveGreenDay mentions the existence of one or more demo tapes created between 1989 and 1990, as confirmed by Larry Livermore. No audio or tracklisting is known at this point. "Why Do You Want Him?" is also a potential track, the source being a segment on MTV: The Ride. Might be from a live recording, might even be from the previous tape.

Words I Might Have Ate (1990-1991)
Single track demo, acoustic duet featuring Billie and Mike. Audio has yet to surface.

Kerplunk Demo Tape (Spring 1991)
At the behest of Larry Livermore, Green Day recorded their new songs for a follow-up album, at this point described as only half an album's worth (source). Tracklisting is unknown, but based on the chronology of writing, @Todd hypothesizes that possible tracks could include One for the Razorbacks, Christie Road, Private Ale, Dominated Love Slave, Android, Who Wrote Holden Caulfield? and Words I Might Have Ate. Audio has yet to surface.

Dookie Demos (1993)
For those out of the loop, here's the known tracks from multiple demo tapes that were made in preparation of Dookie. Someone's going to need to help me with the timeline here, because I can barely find anything on the individual tapes - only the bootlegs that compile all the tracks. Anyways, I've heard that these tapes were made to pitch themselves to a major label (ultimately resulting in them getting signed by Reprise).

Dookie Demo Tape (1992)
This tape was leaked in 2017 and received some news coverage.
1. J.A.R.
2. Having a Blast
3. Don't Wanna Fall in Love

Dancing Dog Demo Tape (1993)
This tape was pitched to various major labels after leaving Lookout. Notable for attracting the attention of Rob Cavallo, who would go on to sign the band with strength of this tape. These tracks were recorded at Art of Ears Recording Studio in late Spring of 1993. Andy Ernst began mixing it, but it was completed/partially remixed by Kevin Army at Dancing Dog Studios.
1. Having A Blast
2. When I Come Around
3. Long View
4. Burn Out

Here's where we get to a bit of a standstill in terms of demos. At this stage, no known demo tapes were made. I mean I'm certain they did record demos to track their songwriting, but they were all strictly for internal use.

American Idiot Demos (2003)
Green Day compiled a CD of demos from the American Idiot sessions, with the only known track being "American Idiot", recorded in San Francisco. This information comes from John Roecker, who has the only known copy. Also of note is a CD compilation of mastered potential B-sides, likely for internal use.

21st Century Breakdown (January 2009)
In the digital age, demos weren't distributed as bootlegs anymore but rather shared online. I'm unsure of the backstory of this particular song, but I believe it's a leak. Hackers also pose a threat to the privacy of music distributed via email at this point. Also, without a physical medium, digital demos don't necessarily belong to a set, hence why 21CB is just a lone recording.

Demolicious (April 19, 2014)
The concept of the trilogy lent itself to jamming and creating new music on the fly. With the trilogy falling below the band's expectations, their compilation of demos became a consolation prize of sorts and better demonstrated their raw and spontaneous energy. Recorded between February 14 and June 26, 2012 at Jingletown Studios.

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Maddie86

Todd how the hell do you know all that? great info!

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LiveGreenDay

The three track demo was recorded before the longer demo. I place it around fall of 1992. I received it from a contemporary of Billie Joe's in '05, and he told me it was made before they had made the decision to leave Lookout!. Warner Brothers later made copies to circulate around the label.

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Todd
1 hour ago, LiveGreenDay said:

The three track demo was recorded before the longer demo. I place it around fall of 1992. I received it from a contemporary of Billie Joe's in '05, and he told me it was made before they had made the decision to leave Lookout!. Warner Brothers later made copies to circulate around the label.

Do you still have the tape? I’d love to get proper lossless from it! :D 

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LiveGreenDay

Yeah, I have the copy from the friend, and one of the Warner Brothers tapes. I've been trying to get one of my tape trading friends to do proper transfers and see how they compare, but no one will commit to it. I made a promise not to share it when I first got it, but I don't see the harm now that it got out through someone else.

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Todd
22 minutes ago, LiveGreenDay said:

Yeah, I have the copy from the friend, and one of the Warner Brothers tapes. I've been trying to get one of my tape trading friends to do proper transfers and see how they compare, but no one will commit to it. I made a promise not to share it when I first got it, but I don't see the harm now that it got out through someone else.

I have all the right equipment, I’d be more than happy to do the transfer :D 

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Mega Man

Thanks for the info, I'll get around to updating the first post. Does anyone know if there were any other pre-Kerplunk demos, or have we zeroed in on just one?

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greendepent

Actually surprised that some new stuff information sees the light :)

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Todd
5 hours ago, LiveGreenDay said:

If you're talking proper studio sessions, yes. At least that's what Larry Livermore told me in an e-mail years ago. If you're talking tapes of them working out songs, those exist.

Just went through my tapes, and I also have the demo that they sent out to labels, which is different than the other Dookie tapes. That has Having a Blast, When I Come Around, Longview and Burnout on it. Same tape that Rob Cavallo talks about when discussing his decision to sign the band to Reprise.

Todd, I'll let you know about transferring them at some point. I've got a bunch of other stuff I'm working on, too.

I believe the tape they sent out to labels is made up of a few cuts from their 1992/11/18 secret show at Gilman. I'd love to transfer those tapes ASAP- I have lots of stuff I could trade, if that might persuade you ;) 

23 hours ago, Mega Man said:

 

Kerplunk Demo Tape (Spring 1991)
 

Dookie Demo Tape (1993)
This tape was pitched to various major labels after leaving Lookout. Notable for attracting the attention of Rob Cavallo, who would go on to sign the band with strength of this tape.
1. Having a Blast
2. When I come Around
3. Longview
4. Burnout

 

Keep in mind the Kerplunk tracklist is not confirmed, just speculation. And I would refer to this demo as a "Label Audition Tape", because if it's the same one we have online, it's actually made up of live tracks from 1992/11/18, not from a real session. 

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LiveGreenDay
9 hours ago, Todd said:

I believe the tape they sent out to labels is made up of a few cuts from their 1992/11/18 secret show at Gilman.

Correct.

PxMKgbg.jpg

9 hours ago, greendepent said:

Actually surprised that some new stuff information sees the light :)

There's a lot that isn't out there.

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greendepent
1 hour ago, LiveGreenDay said:

There's a lot that isn't out there.

I know. I just live to watch all things surface :lol:

So, if that tape comes from Gilman 92, does it include other songs besides those four? Because with the discovery of the almost full tape, I was thinking that "demo" tape was only made up for someone else not related to the band. 

And about WIP songs, can you share more information? That would be cool :)

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Mega Man
20 hours ago, Todd said:

I believe the tape they sent out to labels is made up of a few cuts from their 1992/11/18 secret show at Gilman. I'd love to transfer those tapes ASAP- I have lots of stuff I could trade, if that might persuade you ;) 

Keep in mind the Kerplunk tracklist is not confirmed, just speculation. And I would refer to this demo as a "Label Audition Tape", because if it's the same one we have online, it's actually made up of live tracks from 1992/11/18, not from a real session. 

Thanks for the clarification. Whether live or otherwise, the intent is still the same so I'll still list it with the rest of the demo tapes. I'm still trying to figure out the individual tape origins for the rest of the tracks that are known from the Dookie Demos.

11 hours ago, LiveGreenDay said:

Correct.

PxMKgbg.jpg

There's a lot that isn't out there.

I've actually never seen one of their tapes before, thanks for sharing. I actually prefer to use this kind of stuff for artwork in digital libraries. Mildly interesting that Burn Out and Long View were still two words at this point.

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Tree.

Can add the AI demos John Roecker just revealed.

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Mega Man

Whoa thanks for bringing this to my attention @Tree. Just read through the main thread and still have plenty of questions. But from what I can tell, the American Idiot CD has the demos on it (the only one I saw mentioned was the title track), and the other CD-R has all of the mastered outtakes to be used as potential B-sides.

 

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Todd
7 hours ago, Mega Man said:

 

 

The "Label Audition Tape" was actually recorded at Dancing Dog Studios after the Art of Ears Dookie demo session in spring 93. The band wanted to redo the first four songs from the AOE session. Both sessions were done after the band was pretty confident about signing to Reprise, they wanted to test out their new material to get a feel for how Dookie would sound. 

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Alf
1 hour ago, Todd said:

The "Label Audition Tape" was actually recorded at Dancing Dog Studios after the Art of Ears Dookie demo session in spring 93. The band wanted to redo the first four songs from the AOE session. Both sessions were done after the band was pretty confident about signing to Reprise, they wanted to test out their new material to get a feel for how Dookie would sound. 

Nice new information! Did you get this tape?

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Insomniac1984

Nice stuff here, I would love to listen those demo tapes!!

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Todd
7 hours ago, Alf said:

Nice new information! Did you get this tape?

No, but I talked to Kevin Army about it. Here are two of the sources I have for these two sessions

Ben Mattick: "Art of Ears, I believe, Mike's bass died during the recording, I had to take the train out to SF to loan him mine, so I got to watch most of the recording…late spring '93, after a winter tour"

Kevin Army: "[Dancing Dog Studios] That's where I helped them finish the demo that got them the Warner's deal. Andy was remodeling, or something and couldn't finish it, so they brought it to me at dancing dog to finish it and see what was good and what needed to be redone and to mix. I think we only did 4 songs for the dancing dog demo"

I sent Kevin the picture that @LiveGreenDay posted of the tape and he confirmed "That's the demo from dancing dog I helped with."

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Mega Man

Cool, I fixed the original post with that info. Is it safe to say that all the Dookie demos were done at Art of Ears prior?

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Todd
1 hour ago, Mega Man said:

Cool, I fixed the original post with that info. Is it safe to say that all the Dookie demos were done at Art of Ears prior?

Yep, the full demo at Art of Ears (most likely May 93) then Dancing Dog shortly after to refine the first four tracks. 

And just to clarify, these demos were not done to shop for labels. The band was already set on Reprise, they just hadn’t signed yet. They wanted to get a feel for how Dookie would sound. I don’t believe the band needed to give out demos to get attention from labels, the labels were already competing for the band. 

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