Green Day's Dookie turned 20 this month. With more than 20 million copies sold, it's the best-selling punk-rock album of all time. It's also probably the best-selling record illustrated entirely with colored pencil, and definitely the best-selling album with a cover featuring poop-throwing dogs, an American Gladiator or a Chia Pet.
The cover features a scene of shit-covered chaos on Berkeley's Telegraph Avenue drawn by East Bay punk Richie Bucher. Bucher—who plays bass in a band called Courtney and the Crushers fronted by his girlfriend, Portland native Courtney Castleman—was connected to Green Day through its pre-Tré drummer and his work for the zine Absolutely Zippo.
"Their first drummer was John Kiffmeyer," Bucher says. "My band Soup used to play with his old band a bunch. So when Green Day first came around, we said, 'Oh, John's new band! They're supposed to be really good,' and they were. Right away you could tell."
The rest was left to Bucher.
"All I had to work with was that it was Green Day and the album was called Dookie," he says. "I used to listen to the Kerplunk! album all the time, and the first two songs especially just sounded to me like a fighter plane swooping down. That was the way in for me, the anchor for building the rest of the drawing. They didn't give me a lot of guidance, which was nice, and I just sketched out the basic design and brought it to them. Once they approved the sketch, I went back and fleshed it out with the crazy stuff in my head."
Here, for the first time, Bucher talks
about the illustration.
"My emblem, which I used to draw every day on my hand in high school because I was just fucking angry. A year or two later, it became part of the logo for my band Soup."
You might recall having seen a larger version of the Dookie art, a poster-sized version that expounded upon the original scene. The original album cover wasn't a cropped version of this, as it turns out. Rather, it was added by Bucher later at the request of Green Day's record label.
"They had me do the cover first and then asked me to add on for a poster. I probably would've done it a little more cohesively if I had done it the opposite way around," he says.
Here's what the posted included.
- A bottle of Mad Dog bum wine. âOccasionally, yes, we would drink Mad Dog. But in the poster it was because of the dogs. I thought it was kinda clever.â
- The Hello Kitty Kitty cat. âI was in a band for a little while called Here Kitty Kittyâit was around that time, and I use to draw flyers and stuff for that band. That cat was sort of like an icon that I used for that band. The catâs actually in a few different places on the cover. It was more throwing that in because itâs my own personal thing.â
- Lulu the snake and Keeton the cat. âThat was my pet snake LuLu. She was pretty awesome and the cat was my roommateâs cat, his name was Keeton.â
- A Mercedes and a woman yelling at a man with a car phone cord around his neck. âA lot of the stuffâmaybe halfâis really specific and others is just cartoons I dreamed up. Thereâs no real story behind that except for hating yuppies and me making idiots out of them.â
- Santa and the streaking dunce. âI drew this around Christmas timeâthe record cover itself I finished in October of â93 and then they wanted me to add on for the poster so I was doing that during the Christmas months that year.
- Rick Star. âThe guy singing âMoon River?â His name was Rick Starr, he was a street performer.â
- The pigâs head from The Lord of the Flies.
- The guy in a tutu. âBerkeley was just kinda filled with freaksâawesome freaks. That wouldnât be terribly unusual to see: some old balding white haired dude walking around in a tutu.â