Before Green Day's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" was named "Record of the Year" at last Thursday's Grammy Awards, it was the only song ever to reach number one on the following Billboard charts: alternative, active rock/hard rock, Top 40/pop, and modern adult contemporary. The song is on the American Idiot CD, 4.5 million copies of which have been sold since its 2004 release.
In 2003, Encinitas-based Surfdog Records released an Agent 51 CD titled The Red and the Black. The guitar line at the beginning of the song "She's My Heroine" has a resemblance to the riff used in Green Day's "Boulevard." "She's My Heroine" was a regional hit for the now-disbanded Poway pop-punk band.
A source says that a six-figure settlement has been worked out between Green Day/Warner Bros. Records and Agent 51/Surfdog over the use of the riff. Green Day manager Pat Magnarella didn't return a phone call. Denisa Petricko, who handles licensing for Surfdog, responded, "I'm not allowed to give any information out about that."
Surfdog president Dave Kaplan said, "There is no pending settlement," though he did acknowledge that he's heard talk of the riff's similarity. When asked if there has been any communication between Surfdog and Warner Bros./Green Day over the issue, Kaplan declined to comment.
Former Agent 51 guitarist Eric Davis (now with the band 51 Guns) says, "I don't know what you're talking about." According to the source, any negotiations on behalf of Agent 51 would have been carried out by Kaplan.
An Agent 51/Green Day connection was reported in "Blurt" five years ago. In January of 2001, Agent 51 signed to Adeline Records, a Bay Area indie label launched by Green Day front man Billy Joe Armstrong. "Billy is a friend of the band," says the source.