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|Also known as||Al Sobrante|
July 11, 1969 |
California, United States
|Years active||1987–1995 (musician)
|Associated acts||Green Day, Isocracy|
John Kiffmeyer (also known as Al Sobrante), (born July 11, 1969) is an American musician, best known as the original drummer of the punk rock band Green Day. He was given his nickname in reference to his hometown, El Sobrante. His work with Green Day resulted in about 961,000 albums sold, which are mostly from the compilation album 1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours.
John Kiffmeyer was born in California on July 11, 1969. His first exposure in the punk scene was as the drummer of the band Isocracy. The group was popular in the East Bay, and mainstays at the famed club, 924 Gilman Street.
However, Kiffmeyer is most well known for his time in Green Day. After the end of Isocracy, Kiffmeyer helped form Green Day. Because of his experience and knowledge of the underground community, Kiffmeyer was able to get the young band on its feet by placing calls to friends, among them prominent figure of the East Bay Larry Livermore. The first few performances took place at Contra Costa College, where Kiffmeyer was a journalism student. On the strength of an early performance, Livermore vowed to release a Green Day record on his Lookout! Records. The group's first full-length effort, 39/Smooth, would feature a Kiffmeyer original, "I Was There", which documented the band at that place in time. Being a fan of Ozzy Osbourne, it was he who inspired the mini-covers of some famous songs, such as "I Don't Know" by Ozzy Osbourne and "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd during the bridge of "Disappearing Boy," a practice that is still carried out today.
In 1990, he left the band to attend college at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. Kiffmeyer later joined the band The Ne'er Do Wells, leaving abruptly in 1994. Following a stint with punk band The Ritalins, he became manager of The Shruggs until their split. In 1998 he was the Executive Producer of "The Great Lost Trouble Makers Album" by The Troublemakers, a garage band from Sacramento, California.
He now lives in San Francisco, California and is married to experimental filmmaker and San Francisco State University professor Greta Snider. He works as a Director of Photography, specializing in green screen and producing mainly commercial work.
- Kimpel, Dan (1 May 2006). How they made it: true stories of how music's biggest stars went from start to stardom!. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-634-07642-8. Retrieved 31 July 2010.