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Smash!: Green Day, The Offspring, Bad Religion, NOFX, and the '90s Punk Explosion

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  229 ratings  ·  36 reviews
A group biography of '90s punk rock told through the prism of Green Day, The Offspring, NOFX, Rancid, Bad Religion, Social Distortion, and more

Two decades after the Sex Pistols and the Ramones birthed punk music into the world, their artistic heirs burst onto the scene and changed the genre forever. While the punk originators remained underground favorites and were slow
Kindle Edition, 312 pages
Published November 20th 2018 by Da Capo Press
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  229 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Dr. Detroit
Feh... Well written, but I have no real affinity for any of the bands covered here other than Social Distortion, who only merit a handful of pages. Now if Ian Winwood could flesh that out into an entire book, that would really be something!

"...prior to Green Day and The Offspring, the idea that in the United States a band could become famous by playing punk rock music was unthinkable."

Er, Ramones?
Jennifer Ozawa
Comprehensive, entertaining, but a bit full of itself. Winwood loves telling us that “this author” hung out with all the bands and heard all the music. Somehow, I feel like a lot more of the story of the nineties could be told, since this book is so short.
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Required reading. An essential survey of some of the greatest music ever made and a thorough telling of a watershed moment in music history. What’s more, the author gives credit where credit is due to the greatest band in the universe: “…most of these events, and perhaps all of them, would not have happened without Bad Religion.” You’re goddamn right!
Ben Baker
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exhaustive and opinionated, this tracks the second wave punk scene from grubby dives to stadiums with a passion and knowledge that makes me want to hear all those albums and bands I'd missed. My only gripe is how the book just suddenly cuts out at 1995 with an epitaph (no pun intended) of "AND THEN WE ALL LOVED AMERICAN IDIOT. THE END." If you want me, I'll be shouting "I preferred Nimrod and Warning" into the traffic from 5pm til late.
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
The prologue of this book seemed a bit jumbled. It was difficult to read at first, and had me worried that the entire work would not have a flow. Once you get past that part it became much easier to follow, and get into. If you are a fan of any of the bands included it is definitely a worth while read. A large focus is played to just a few of the bands, and it would have been nice to get a bit more about the others, but when some of the largest bands of the decade are included I guess it's hard ...more
Christopher Shawn
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hey-ay, come out and play! This first-of-its-kind look into the pop/punk explosion of the early 1990s is a head-banging read. In the midst of Nirvana's slaughter of the hair metal bands of the 80s, punk music inspired by the innovators of the 70s and 80s rose up through the alternative rock lens of bands like Green Day and the Offspring. It was never a smooth ride to the top though, as the successful bands in the scene were often accused of being sellouts and worse. A must read for fans of the ...more
Mark Rzeszutek
I was eager to read this because its subject is due for comprehensive revisiting. I have not read any other Ian Winwood books, and unfortunately I am not eager to after this. In terms of content, information and detail, it is a great idea. But the author refuses to get out of his own way. His writing is overstuffed with metaphors and analogies that are too self-consciously clever by half. Sentences bog down under the weight of their own self-importance. The book is just a clunky read. Instead of ...more
Steve Varrier
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting, for a fan

For a fan of Punk, especially mid-90's US Punk, it's a very entertaining read. Most of the stories are already well known but it's nice to read a chronological story, pulling it all together. Having said that...

Whilst it's understandable that the book should focus on Green Day and The Offspring (whom are my favourite band), I think there is a little too much written about Green Day, not quite enough about The Offspring, NOFX or Ramcid, it's severely lacking in
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was so fun! I don't know much about Bad Religion, I picked this up for Green Day but it's presented really well in an easy to read style. I kept reading choice bits out loud, because goodness punk had a rough go in the 1980s and early 90s. It was also really fun to see references to loads of other bands I have listened to here and there - and opening with a Frank Turner lyric is always A+ too.
Bastard Travel
Turns out, I don't care about Green Day. Shame they're the bulk of the book.

Lots of forbidden Bad Religion lore, though. Winwood's kind of fawning, but he swears artfully enough to remain credible as both a journalist and a grown-up punk kid. The afterword about playing pool with the Offspring was dumb, though.
Daniel A.
You would think that a book with the name of Offspring's album would have more Offspring but this is 90% Green Day, 1% Offspring, and 9% the author talking about himself. It really is one giant defense of why Green Day is punk. Who cares? The author even contradicts himself when he says that Offspring do not get the credit they deserve and at times, they were bigger then Green Day, yet after saying this, the next 5 pages are devoted to Green Day.
Furthermore, I am not a Blink 182 fan, but they
Pieter V
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This could have been a great book if it wasn’t so extremely focused on Green Day. The Offspring gets the second spot but there is so little mention of all the other bands from the “90’s punk explosion”.

And then to make things worse it just skips a decade and goes into a “American Idiot is the best album in the world” rant.
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As somewhat of a note to myself, I listened to this as an audiobook.

When I was in middle school, I wasn't really into music at all. When day when I was riding the bus, I saw the band name "Green Day" vandalized into the bus. I had heard of the band before, but had no idea what they sounded like. A couple of weeks later, some kids were making fun of me, and asked me what my favorite band was, so I said it was Green Day. They didn't believe me, and rightfully so. When my birthday came around that
Nov 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
This book had me thinking deeply - about my past involvement with Punk music, what bands I considered Punk and bit of confusion regarding it all. My review isn't going to be necessarily about the book itself, but my response to what I felt was lacking from this book and why the title is misleading.

The title of this book is, well, wrong. It appears this book is about the 90's Punk scene as a whole, highlighting a few bands across the board. This book is actually about West Coast Punk Bands. East
Nestor Rychtyckyj
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As Ian Winwood states in the Intro to this fine history of the time “when punk broke” – there are many books dealing with the birth of punk in the 1970s but not many of the time when punk actually became popular in the USA. This book rectifies the situation by focusing on some of the most important players of that era: Bad Religion, Green Day, The Offspring and NOFX. He deftly removes Nirvana from the conversation by not considering them as a punk band. (The argument about who is and isn’t punk ...more
Dan Eisenberg
Nov 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
I'm of two minds about this book. On the one hand, it's great for learning facts about the California punk scene that evolved in the late 80s and early 90s. On the other hand, the writing itself is a bit disappointing. Winwood doesn't let the story play out without some unnecessary rhetorical flourish or linguistic jumble that ends up detracting from the story playing out.

The book promises at the start that it's more about depth than breadth, and that is incredibly true. This is a book that
Mirko Liang
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very fun ride for those who love the genre and grew up listening to certain bands.
The author unleashes names, places, and facts in a way similar to an epic journey and gives a chronological perspective to the events.
There is a lot of Green Day, the entire origin story of Epitaph is right there, with a lot of room given to Brett Gurewitz. There is plenty of Bad Religion, The Offspring, and Lookout, too.
As the author states, this is not an encyclopedia of the punk rock bands of the 90s - so
Tom Gase
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book on punk music getting a huge comeback in 1994 thanks to big albums by Green Day (Dookie), The Offspring (Smash) and Bad Religion (Stranger than Fiction). Those three bands are talked about a lot, as well as NOFX, Rancid, Social Distortion and Operation Ivy to name a few. The author does a great job of taking the reader inside that year and a few years before it. You'll get the full history of Bad Religion, Green Day, The Offspring and NOFX in this one. Even though I love ...more
Chris Wedman
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting read from start to finish, and definitely one of the best punk rock books I’ve read. What I thought would be a thorough examination of the 90’s punk boom was predominantly the highlights of that era. The story of Lookout Records, the rise of Epitaph and the dominance and continued success of Green Day occupy most of the book. I was mostly interested in the story of Epitaph/Bad Religion which could have been a book all to itself.

If I have a complaint, it’s that it highlights the
Nicole Woolaston
A friend recommended this book to me, because I'm a huge Green Day fan. I have to say, this book did not disappoint me at all. I gained a greater appreciation for the Offspring, Nofx and Bad Religion, who I will admit, I didn't know very much about. I also learned the truth behind Green Day's expulsion from Gilman Street. Honestly, if I had been in their shoes, I would have made the same decision. Their fallout with Gilman Street, led to one of the greatest punk albums ever recorded: American ...more
Timothy Minneci
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're looking for an encyclopedia entry explaining how punk went mainstream in the 90s, this is not the book for you. This distills down the era to the core bands - Green Day, The Offspring, Operation Ivy/Rancid, NOFX and Bad Religion, along with the key players and labels, namely Epitaph and Lookout. In revisiting, the most interesting aspect to me was The Offspring, who managed to be wildly successful yet, without a second act like Green Day's "American Idiot," have fallen down the musical ...more
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great detailed book. How he writes the history and time frame of the band’s forming in California and how they are all interconnected was fascinating.
The only reason for a 4 star is that is harshly jumps from 2004 and largely focuses on American Idiot, while the other bands sis’s was had a few pages or paragraphs. It felt rushed and as a means to an end Once last all the Green Day 2004 stuff.
Emily Von Spears
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Ahh...a trip down memory lane is always as nice as a walk in the park. I suddenly remember the gods who gave me one hell of a childhood and whose influence would carry on to adulthood. This book was so well written, it really allowed me to reconnect with memories as a 90's kid witnessing the revival of the punk rock movement; something I never thought I'd see in my lifetime.
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book moves along at a steady pace, flicking between bands and is interspersed with old interview content which really keeps it interesting. I thought it was the right length and my only criticism is that I wanted more Rancid but hey, the author stated at the outset that they were elusive. Do recommend if this genre of music floats your boat!
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story itself was interesting and had spots of humor. Winwood had a mix of formal and informal writing styles, which I generally liked because it made it more readable, but which sometimes seemed jarring when it jumped between the two, sometimes within the same sentence. Overall, an interesting take on 90s punk.
Benjamin Van Buren
This was pretty well written, even though I’m not really invested in any of theses bands at all. This did make me realize how much I need a book on Operation Ivy/Rancid though. But really, a book focused on Bay Area punk and 924 Gilman and not even a passing mention of Jawbreaker? Come on.
Nicholas Facca
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Good read and no shortage of detail

Very good read and great detail of the punk resurgence and mainstream marketability. Interviews are well done and author put it together. The authors opinion comes through but is not overbearing.
theGraveyard Librarian
Meh, 1/3 interesting early years stuff 1/3 justifying the bands not selling out 1/3 rise to fame. I think there's too many stories to be told here resulting in everything not quite being enough.
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fucking awesome.
Ricardo Motti
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Made me listen to so much early 90s pop-punk that my Spotify's Discover Weekly is now forever ruined.
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