Billie Joe Armstrong (born February 17, 1972, in Oakland, California) is best known for his role as the main songwriter, lead vocalist, and guitarist for the punk rock band Green Day.
Early life[edit | edit source]
Armstrong grew up in Rodeo, California, the youngest of six children. His father, Andy, was a retired Minor League Baseball catcher, who worked as a jazz musician and truck driver for Safeway to support the family. He died from esophageal cancer on September 15, 1982 when Billie Joe was ten. His mother Ollie worked as a waitress at Rod's Hickory Pit, where Billie Joe and Mike Dirnt got their first gig during their teen years.
Billie Joe's interest in music started at a young age. He recorded a song titled "Look For Love" at the age of 5 on the Bay Area label "Fiat Records". As a teenager he originally was into metal music, but got into punk after hearing the Sex Pistols song Holidays in the Sun. He attended high school at John Swett High School, later attended Pinole Valley High School, and dropped out on February 16, 1990, to pursue his musical career. While in high school he was nicknamed "Two Dollar Bill", because he was supplying the school with marijuana joints for two dollars.
Sweet Children and Green Day[edit | edit source]
In 1987, Armstrong formed a band called Sweet Children with childhood friend Mike Dirnt. In 1989 they joined up with drummer Al Sobrante and became known as Green Day, allegedly choosing the name for their fondness of marijuana.. That same year they recorded the EP 1,000 Hours, on Lookout! Records. Sobrante eventually left Green Day in order to go to college, and was eventually replaced by Tré Cool, who made his debut on Green Day's second album, Kerplunk!. With their next album, Dookie, the band broke through into the mainstream, and have remained one of the most popular rock bands of the 1990s and 2000s with over 85 million records sold worldwide.
Apart from working with Green Day, and side-band Pinhead Gunpowder, Armstrong has proved himself busy in the music world, collaborating with many artists over the years. He has co-written for The Go-Gos ("Unforgiven"), former Avengers singer Penelope Houston ("The Angel and The Jerk" and "New Day"), co-wrote a song with Rancid ("Radio"), sung backing vocals with Melissa Auf Der Maur on Ryan Adams' "Do Miss America" and recorded lead guitar with Green Day for two tracks, where they acted as the backing band for Iggy Pop on his "Skull Ring" album ("Private Hell" and "Supermarket"). Armstrong has produced an album for The Riverdales, and is also rumored to be part of a side project, The Network. The Network released an album called Money Money 2020. Many long-time Green Day fans who listened to the record remarked that it sounds just like a Green Day album, also Money Money 2020 was released on Adeline Records, the record label Armstrong co-owns with his wife Adrienne Armstrong.
Guitars[edit | edit source]
Billie Joe received his first guitar, a Fernandes Stratocaster copy that he named "Blue", when he was eleven. He modified the guitar to have a humbucking pickup in the bridge position. He initially installed a Bill Lawrence pickup but later switched to the Duncan JB model. He toured with this guitar from the band's early days and into their first few major-label tours. "Blue" also appears in several of their music videos starting with, Longview, and appearing most recently in Minority. Billie has made several replicas of this guitar and uses them at concerts.
Today Armstrong mainly uses Gibson and Fender Guitars. Twenty of his Gibson guitars are Les Paul Junior models from the mid to late 1950's. His Fender collection includes: Stratocaster, Jazzmaster, Gretsch, Telecaster, and his Fernandes, "Blue". He states that his favorite guitar is a 1956 Gibson Les Paul Junior he calls "Floyd". He bought this guitar in 2000 just before recording their album Warning:.
Armstrong also has his own line of Les Paul Junior guitars from Gibson.
Personal life[edit | edit source]
In Minneapolis, in 1990, Billie first met his wife, Adrienne Nesser. They dated for a while and were married on July 2, 1994 in a 5 minute ceremony. The day after their wedding, Adrienne found out she was pregnant. Their son, Joseph Marciano Armstrong, was born in February 1995. Three years later on September 12, 1998, another boy, Jakob Danger Armstrong, was born.
Armstrong has stated that he is bisexual, which is the subject of Dookie track "Coming Clean". In his 1995 interview, he explained his sexual attraction to men and women but explained that he had not been in a relationship with a man. He has however, kissed men in concert.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- In 2003, he was arrested for drunk driving with a blood alcohol level of .18, more than twice the state's legal limit of .08.
- He is of English, Scottish, Irish, Italian, Dutch, and Cherokee descent.
- Provided the voice for Charlie Manson in the movie Live Freaky! Die Freaky! and sang "Mechanical Man" for the film.
- Armstrong is registered as a Libertarian to vote in California.
- He suffers from panic attacks which have been the source of many Green Day songs such as: "Basket Case" and "Armatage Shanks".
- He is 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) tall. 
- Just Billie and his acoustic guitar appeared on the "Short Music For Short People" Compilation with a song entitled "The Ballad of Wilhelm Fink." 
Awards[edit | edit source]
- Esquire (magazine) awarded him an "Esky" for Best Frontman in the Esky Music Awards in the April 2006 issue.
- Kerrang! magazine awarded him the Worst Dressed Star and Hero of the Year in 2005
- The California Music Awards awarded him Outstanding Male Vocalist in 2001 and 2004
- Nickelodeon's Kid's Choice Awards awarded him the best band trophy and best song trophy for Wake Me Up When September Ends in 2005.
Discography[edit | edit source]
Green Day[edit | edit source]
- Father of All Motherfuckers (2020)
- Greatest Hits: God's Favorite Band (2017)
- Revolution Radio (2016)
- ¡Tré! (2012)
- ¡Dos! (2012)
- ¡Uno! (2012)
- Awesome as Fuck (2011)
- 21st Century Breakdown (2009)
- Bullet in a Bible (2005)
- American Idiot (2004) -- Lead Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
- Shenanigans (2002)
- International Superhits (2001)
- Warning: (2000) -- Lead Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin
- nimrod. (1997) -- Lead Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica
- Insomniac (1995) -- Lead Vocals, Guitar
- Dookie (1994) -- Lead Vocals, Guitar, Percussion on "All By Myself (hidden track)"
- Kerplunk! (1992) -- Lead Vocals, Guitar, Drums on "Dominated Love Slave"
- 39/Smooth (1990) -- Lead Vocals, Guitar
Pinhead Gunpowder[edit | edit source]
- Compulsive Disclosure (2003) -- Vocals, Guitar
- 8 Chords, 328 Words EP (2000) -- Vocals, Guitar
- Shoot The Moon EP (1999) -- Vocals, Guitar
- Goodbye Ellston Avenue (1997) -- Vocals, Guitar
- Carry The Banner (1995) -- Vocals, Guitar
- Jump Salty (1995) -- Vocals, Guitar
- Fahiza EP (1992) -- Vocals, Guitar
The Network[edit | edit source]
- Money Money 2020 Part II: We Told Ya So! (2020) -- Lead Vocals, Guitar
- Money Money 2020 (2003) -- Lead Vocals, Guitar
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Armstrong, Billie Joe (2005). "The Sex Pistols". Rolling Stone. Retrieved on October 28, 2006.
- "Rock's Rude Boy"
- "Coming Clean", The Advocate interview with Billie Joe Armstrong (24th January, 1995)
"I think I've always been bisexual. I mean, it's something that I've always been interested in. I think everybody kind of fantasizes about the same sex. I think people are born bisexual, and it's just that our parents and society kind of veer us off into this feeling of Oh, I can't. They say it's taboo. It's ingrained in our heads that it's bad, when it's not bad at all. It's a very beautiful thing."
- Seen here kissing bassist, Mike Dirnt
- Green Day Authority - Didja Know
"It's an old tradition of Billie's that at every one of his concerts he kisses a guy."
- Blender Article By Jonah Weiner
- celebsheights.com site
[edit | edit source]
- Green Day.com
- Billie Joe Biography, as well as information on his stint in Common Rider
- Billie Joe Armstrong at the Internet Movie Database
- Green Day Australia
- Green Quick Site
- Billie Joe Armstrong Signature Les Paul Junior
- Billie Joe's Mugshot and arrest details after his arrest in 2003 for drunk driving.
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