Tre Cool was the 1990s version of Keith Moon: wild behind the drum kit, unpredictable in live shows and promotional appearances, and dexterous to a fault. While his bandmates grounded Green Day’s output with steady hands, Cool was always the one ready to fly off the handle at a moments notice. No time was ever the wrong time for a crazy fill or a double-time ass-kicker.
Even as Green Day progressed past the point of simply being a snotty punk rock band, Cool’s drums were always the way back to the band’s roots. While Cool has occasionally shown off his restraint, you’d be hard-pressed to find a consistent set of examples chronicling his gentle, Charlie Watts-like dedication to the backbeat. More often than not, the results are explosive. When the band wants to get really soft and introspective, like on ‘Good Riddance’ or ‘Amy’, they have little choice but to remove Cool from the equation entirely. That’s how powerful even his quietest performances are.
The list of Cool’s noteworthy drum parts are too numerous to count: the fluctuating drive of ‘One of My Lies’, the iconic floor tom shuffle of ‘Longview’, the relentless pounding of ‘American Idiot’, the skank-worthy bounce of ‘King for a Day’, and the lightning fast fills of ‘Basket Case’. Even when Cool keeps it simple, like on ‘Warning’, ‘Macy’s Day Parade’, or ’21 Guns’, his drums still sound like canons fired at just the right time.
To wit: the way that Cool enters one of his most iconic performances ever, on the Green Day classic ‘Welcome to Paradise’, can only be described as explosive. Utilising all of his toms, Cool is a blur of drumsticks and stamina as he fills in every gap with a perfectly timed response to Billie Joe Armstrong’s debaucherous ode to freedom and uncertainty about adult responsibilities. Cool and the gang originally recorded the song for their previous album Kerplunk, but when they were given the major label upgrade, they took advantage of the new high-quality recording equipment at their disposal to make ‘Welcome to Paradise’ sound absolutely massive.
The biggest difference can be heard in Cool’s drums because between both versions he plays almost identical fills and beats. Where’s the guitar tones, harmonies, and vocal delivery have been polished for Dookie, Cool’s choices behind the kit remain the same. The difference comes in the sound – on Kerplunk, Cool sounds like he’s being recorded through the wall in another room; On Dookie, he’s playing right in your face as the entire room shakes. The band took plenty of heat for “selling out”, but the jump to a major label was worth it for no other reason than to hear Cool’s drums recorded in all their dynamic glory.
Check out the isolated drums for ‘Welcome to Paradise’ down below.