Here we go, a list of the best punk rock bands from the modern era (taken from 1990s and early 2000s). Will your favourites be on the list? Will they top the list? Scroll down and enjoy some of the best bands to grace our planet over the past 20 years.
AFI (A Fire Inside) are an American punk rock band from California who formed in 1991, but have consisted of the same lineup since 1998. Over AFI’s 20 years together, they have released eight studio albums and received mass acclaim through their music. Their mainstream success came in 2003 with album Sing the Sorrow.
Formed back in 1983, NOFX are known for their skate punk style with a ska twist. They are in a league of their own when it comes to their style, just listen to Kill All The White Man to see what we mean.
They’ve released 11 studio albums and sold over 6 million records worldwide, making NOFX one of the most successful independent bands of all time.
13/ Bad Religion
One of the oldest bands on this list forming back in 1979, however after years of albums with Epitaph their mainstream success came in 1993 via Atlantic Records with Recipe for Hate, reaching number 14 on the US album charts. After which they released Stranger Than Fiction, which is one of Bad Religion’s best known albums. It includes songs such as 21st Century (Digital Boy) and Infected.
12/ Less Than Jake
Formed in 1992 they have recorded 8 full length albums, including perhaps their best known being Losing Streak and Hello Rockview (which included All My Friends Are Metalheads). They are well known for their ska punk sound which includes trombones and saxophones mixed with crunchy fast guitar riffs, insanely speedy drums, and unique vocals.
Anti Flag were formed in 1988 and are well known for their left wing view on politics, focusing on anti-war, human rights and the class divide. It is believed they helped influence Green Day’s political stance that they took up with American Idiot.
Anti-Flag’s first album wasn’t released until 1997 under the name of Die For the Government, followed by Their System Doesn’t Work For You (1998) and A New Kind of Army (1999). A New Kind Of Army dealt with a lot of issues including abortion, racism, fascism and really set Anti-Flag up as a strong left wing political band.
California based Sublime formed in 1988 with a unique blend of ska, reggae, punk, surf rock, and hip hop influences. Sublime only released 3 studio albums but had a huge following in California and still sold over 17 million albums worldwide.
Sublime hit fame with their self titled album in 1996 which included perhaps their most recognised songs in What I Got (reaching number 1) and Santeria. However they could have sold many more, it was just when they were reaching mainstream success as the lead singer Brad died of a heroin overdose.
9/ Jimmy Eat World
The year 2001 is synonymous with the song ‘The Middle’ by Jimmy Eat World; nearly everyone knows “Just do your best, do everything you can, and don’t worry what the bitter hearts are gonna say”. The band was well known throughout the 2000’s but failed to stay at the top for long enough to be considered higher on the list. Jimmy Eat World could be seen as a bit of a one hit wonder in terms of the popularity of The Middle, but they do have some other great tracks to back it up.
MXPX hail from Washington, have 8 studio albums and released 20 singles. What perhaps sets MXPX apart is their religion, and whilst not technically a Christian band, all members are of the Christian faith. They started in 1992, inspired by Black Flag and NOFX – originally called Magnified Plaid.
Their well known songs include: everything sucks, responsibility, and a well known cover of “summer of 69”.
Massive hits from Goldfinger include Superman: probably remembered by many of the youths as being on Tony Hawks Skateboarding (and making the game f’king legendary), 99 Red Balloons (featured everywhere), and Open Your Eyes which was one of their biggest hits of the 2000s along with Spokesman.
6/ Reel Big Fish
Unsure as to whether they definitively fall under punk rock, but definitely in need of a mention on this list, the ska-punk band Reel Big Fish are unbelievable. Another California based band, they hit the big time with their album “turn the radio off”, which contained arguably their most famous song Sell Out. They are also very well known for the song Beer and their version of Take On Me, which was featured on BASEketball.
Yet another band from California, perhaps its the sunshine and the sea that helps the happy-go-lucky punk sounds, maybe there’s a surfing to music link… Anyhow Rancid have been going since 1991 founded by Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman. One of the things that separates Rancid to its punk rock counterparts is that they remained signed on an Indie label, yet kept their large fan base. A massive thumbs up to rancid.
4/ Sum 41
Sum 41 had it all in the early 2000s when they hit it big with two massive albums by the name of All Killer No Filler and Does This Look Infected? The song Fat Lip was released in 2001 and the band never looked back. Probably still their biggest hit to date Fat Lip reached number 8 on the UK singles chart. Their other well known tracks include In Too Deep, Still Waiting and No Reason.
They won the Group of the year award in 2002 and Rock album of the year in 2005 (The Juno awards).
3/ Green Day
Green Day established themselves in the early 1994 with the album Dookie, one of their most famous albums to date with songs including When I Come Around and Basket Case. Following which they released Insomniac in 1995 and then Nimrod in 1997 which included Good Riddance – one of the most played guitar tracks in recent years I’m sure. After a brief period away from album making they released Warning in 2000, which included Minority and Warning.
After which Green Day moved in to a more poppy area, perhaps developing their sound with age for the mainstream masses to enjoy. American Idiot was released in 2003 and the band hasn’t looked back. Sell out tour after sell out tour, the band became more than just punk rock music, they became a political statement.
Green Day are still going strong today, one of the only bands on this list to still be as popular now (if not more so) than they were during the 90s.
2/ Blink 182
Just pipping Green Day to the number 2 spot are Blink 182, one of the most recognised bands of the 1990s and 2000s from any genre. They have sold over 28 million copies world wide since forming in 1992. 1999 is when Blink really hit the big time – their album Enema of the State was a mass success and included songs such as What’s My Age Again and the sensational track All The Small Things.
The use of humour in songs and videos really set them apart from others in a similar genre at the same time and when Blink released Take Off Your Pants And Jacket in 2001 with it reaching number 1 in the USA.
Blink split up in 2005 with due to spats about control. During time off they formed two bands separately +44 and Angels and Airwaves (as well as Box Car Racer for one album). Angels did the better out of the two entities, but due to the drummer Travis’ plane crash the band re-united and are currently gigging as we speak.
1/ The Offspring
Widely credited along with Blink 182, Green Day and Rancid for popularising punk rock in the 90s, The Offspring have sold over 34 million albums worldwide. Formed in 1984 they released their first self titled album in 1989, and Ignition in 1992.
The breakthrough came in 1994 when they released Smash, still probably one of the most heralded punk rock album of the 1990s, featuring Come Out And Play and Self Esteem. Smash set the all-time record for most units sold by an indie label band at 16 million records.
Ixnay came next in 1997, which included All I Want and Gone Away, and whilst it wasn’t as sucessful as Smash, it still did fairly well. However the album could be seen as a lull as it was released in-between Smash and Americana. Americana is when The Offspring really connected with a large mainstream audience with songs such as Pretty Fly (for A White Guy) and Why Don’t You Get A Job, but still maintaining the punk rock sound with The Kids Aren’t Alright.
Conspiracy of One reared its head in 2000 continuing the success with Original Prankster and Want You Bad. Following which the band took a slight hiatus from recording, re-entering the scene with Splinter in 2003. The album didn’t do as well as previous albums and was followed by their Greatest Hits in 2005.
The Offspring are still going now after nearly 30 years together, their most recent album is called Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace in 2007 and they’re currently working on a new album as we speak, hopefully it will revert back to the Smash/Americana era that so many Offspring fans adore.
We leave you with one of the best punk rock song/video combinations of all time: The Offspring – The Kids Aren’t Alright: