Jeff Matika's pick from the 2012 Irving Plaza show
Ever since I was little, I've loved to take souvenirs away from events I've attended. If I could snag a baseball from a game, I was happy. If I could get an autograph, I was happy. I guess it was only a matter of time until this fascination with event-related mementos transferred over into the music side of me. Growing up, I didn't attend many concerts. I can remember going to a few country shows with my parents, which may have spawned my hatred for cheesy, pop-country music. I apparently saw an Eagles show when I was tiny, and was in the womb for a Joan Jett show (my mom is a fan). I saw my first Green Day show when the 21st Century Breakdown tour stopped in my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska in August 2009. At this show, I wasn't in the pit, which means I had no chance at catching a guitar pick, or anything interesting.

This all changed when I dragged my parents to New York City to see Billie Joe play the role of St. Jimmy in American Idiot: The Musical on Broadway. Somehow, we got tickets in the first row, to the far right of the stage. At the end of the show, after the cast (Billie Joe included) had come out and played "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)," one of the female cast members tossed me a red guitar pick. When I took a closer look, I saw that it was emblazoned with the musical's logo on one side, and a hand holding a heart-shaped grenade on the other. This was my first ever Green Day-related guitar pick, and it inspired me to chase after more.

So, two years later, after religiously scouring eBay and negotiating with established guitar pick collectors, I've amassed a collection of about 40 Green Day picks. You can see scans of most of these picks in the album shown below. I also have a few picks from bands like Weezer, Blink-182, Incubus, Jack White, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but the vast majority of my guitar pick collection is devoted to Green Day.

Some of the cooler Green Day picks I have were used onstage by either Billie Joe, Mike, or Jason. I learned that true, hardcore collectors want mint-condition versions of picks. So, when a collector had a used Green Day pick with the logo partially rubbed off or a shredded tip, I took it off of their hands. Some my favorite stage-used picks are actually from secret shows. For example, I've got a pick that Billie Joe used at the Mezzanine show in 2011, and a pick of Mike's from the 1234 GO! secret show. All in all, my love for these picks boils down to the fact that they are a part of Green Day's performances. I have a couple of picks from 1994. I wasn't even born yet. But, I still have a piece of whichever show they came from. That's what I really enjoy.

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