Billie Joe Armstrong: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Billie Joe Armstrong

Background information
Birth name Billie Joe Armstrong
Also known as Wilhelm Fink
Reverend Strychnine Twitch
Born February 17, 1972 (1972-02-17) (age 38)
Oakland, California, U.S.
Genres Rock
Punk rock
Pop punk
Alternative rock
Heavy metal (early years)
Occupations Singer, Musician, songwriter, guitarist
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano, bass, drums, harmonica, mandolin, saxophone, banjo
Years active 1986–present
Labels Reprise, Lookout!, Adeline
Associated acts Green Day, The Network, Pinhead Gunpowder, Foxboro Hot Tubs
Notable instruments
Billie Joe Armstrong
Signature Gibson Les Paul Junior

Fernandes Stratocaster (Blue)

Billie Joe Armstrong (born February 17, 1972) is the lead vocalist, chief songwriter and guitarist for the rock band Green Day. He is also a guitarist and vocalist for the rock band Pinhead Gunpowder and sings for garage rock band Foxboro Hot Tubs.


Early life

Billie Joe Armstrong was born in Oakland, California, and was raised in Rodeo, California, as the youngest of six children to Andrew "Andy" Armstrong[1] and Ollie Jackson.[1] His father worked as a jazz musician and truck driver for Safeway Inc. to support his family. He died of esophageal cancer on September 10, 1982, when his son Billie was ten years old.[1] The song "Wake Me Up When September Ends" is a memorial to his father. He has five older siblings: David, Alan, Marci, Hollie, and Anna. His mother worked at Rod's Hickory Pit.[1] Armstrong and Mike Dirnt got their first gig at Rod's Hickory Pit during their early years.

Armstrong's interest in music started at a young age. He attended Hillcrest Elementary School in Rodeo, where a teacher encouraged him to record a song titled "Look For Love" at the age of five on the Bay Area label "Fiat Records".[1][2] After his father died, his mother married a man whom her children disliked, which made Armstrong retreat further into music. Armstrong dedicated a song to him called "Why Do You Want Him".[1] At age 12 while attending Carquinez Middle School in nearby Crockett, California, he met Mike Dirnt, and they immediately bonded over their love of music.[1] As a teenager he originally was into Heavy metal music, but became interested into punk rock after hearing the Sex Pistols song "Holidays in the Sun".[3] Armstrong has also cited Minneapolis-based bands The Replacements and Hüsker Dü as major musical influences. Armstrong attended John Swett High School, also in Crockett, and later Pinole Valley High School, in Pinole, California, dropping out on February 16, 1989, one day before his 17th birthday, to pursue his musical career.


In 1987, Armstrong formed a band called Sweet Children with childhood friend Mike Dirnt at the age of 15. In the beginning, Dirnt and Armstrong were both on guitar, with John Kiffmeyer, also known as Al Sobrante, on drums[4], and Sean Hughes on bass. After a few gigs and a demo recording (later featured at the end of Green Day's Kerplunk!) Hughes left the band in 1988. At the same time Dirnt switched to bass and they became a 3-piece band. They changed their name to Green Day in April 1989, allegedly choosing the name for their fondness of marijuana.[4] That same year they recorded the EPs 39/Smooth, 1,000 Hours, and Slappy, later combined into the LP 1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours, on Lookout! Records. Tré Cool eventually replaced Sobrante in late 1990 when he left Green Day in order to go to college. California Punk band Rancid's lead singer Tim Armstrong asked Billie Joe to join Rancid, but he refused due to the progress with Green Day. Tré Cool made his debut on Green Day's second album, Kerplunk!. With their next album, Dookie (1994), the band broke through into the mainstream, and have remained one of the most popular rock bands of the 1990s and 2000s with over 60 million records sold worldwide.[5]

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-Go's ("Unforgiven") and former Avengers singer Penelope Houston ("The Angel and The Jerk" and "New Day"), co-written a song with Rancid ("Radio"), and sung backing vocals with Melissa Auf der Maur on Ryan Adams' "Do Miss America" (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 has also been confirmed to be part of a side project called The Network. The Network released an album called Money Money 2020. Many Green Day fans who listened to the record remarked the similarity between the two bands.[citation needed] Money Money 2020 was released on Adeline Records, a record label co-owned by Armstrong. He also worked with the band U2 with The Saints Are Coming.


Armstrong's first guitar was a Cherry Red Hohner acoustic, which his father bought for him. He then received his first electric guitar, a Fernandes Stratocaster copy that he named "Blue", when he was ten. His mother got "Blue" from George Cole who taught Armstrong electric guitar for ten years. Armstrong says in a 1995 MTV interview, "Basically, it wasn't like guitar lessons because I never really learned how to read music. So he just taught me how to put my hands on the thing". George Cole bought the guitar new from David Margen of the band Santana. Cole gave Armstrong a Bill Lawrence Humbucking pickup and told him to install the pickup in the bridge position. After the pickup was destroyed at Woodstock '94, Armstrong then switched to the Duncan JB model. "Armstrong fetishized his teacher's guitar, partly because the blue instrument had a sound quality and Van Halen - worthy fluidity he couldn't get from his little red Hohner. He prized it mostly, however, because of his relationship with Cole, another father figure after the death of Andy."[6] He toured with this guitar from the band's early days and still uses it to this day.[7] "Blue" also appears in several of their music videos starting with "Longview", "Basket Case", "Brain Stew/Jaded", and appearing most recently in "Minority".

Today Armstrong mainly uses Gibson and Fender guitars. Twenty of his Gibson guitars are Les Paul Junior models from the mid- to late-1950s.[8] His Fender collection includes: Stratocaster, Jazzmaster, Telecaster, a Gretsch hollowbody and his copies of "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.[9]

Armstrong also has his own line of Les Paul Junior guitars from Gibson. He also often uses his signature line in more of his recent tours. Armstrong also uses Gretsch guitars.

Personal life

In 1990, Armstrong met Adrienne Nesser at one of Green Day's early shows in Fredericksburg, Texas. They married on July 2, 1994, and the day after their wedding, Adrienne discovered she was pregnant. Their first child, Joseph 'Joey' Marciano Armstrong, was born on February 28, 1995 and was named after Joey Ramone. Their second child, Jakob Danger Armstrong, was born on September 12, 1998. Adrienne is the co-owner of Adeline Records, along with Armstrong.

Armstrong has identified himself as bisexual, saying in a 1995 interview with The Advocate, "I think I've always been bisexual. I mean, it's something that I've always been interested in. 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."[10][11] In a more recent interview with Out magazine, Armstrong stated: 'There were a lot of people who didn't accept it, who were homophobic." (Fans still fill message board threads with fights about just how gay Armstrong actually is.) "The fact that it's an issue is kind of phobic within itself. At some point, you gotta think, this should be something that's just accepted.' Armstrong also added: 'I don't really classify myself as anything. And when it comes to sex, there are parts of me that are very shy and conservative. I want to respect my wife.'[12]

Problems listening to this file? See media help.

Armstrong was arrested by Berkeley police in January 2003 for drinking and driving after being pulled over for speeding.[13] He received a breathalyzer reading of 0.17%, more than twice the nation-wide legal limit of 0.08%.[14]

In April 2007, Armstrong and his wife Adrienne sent photos of their spring break working with Habitat For Humanity and a diary to[15]

Armstrong supported Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential election.[16]



Green Day

Pinhead Gunpowder

Vocals and Guitar on all

The Network

Foxboro Hot Tubs


External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Billie Joe Armstrong (born February 17, 1972) is the lead singer and guitarist of Green Day.


  • A guy walks up to me and asks 'What's Punk?'. So I kick over a garbage can and say 'That's punk!'. So he kicks over the garbage can and says 'That's Punk?', and I say 'No that's trendy!'
    • Reported in Matt Doeden, Green Day: Keeping Their Edge‎ (2006), p. 23.
  • “School is practice for future life, practice makes perfect and nobodys perfect, so why practice?”
  • “We've been a band for 16 years. This is what you dream about.”
  • “Just seeing the things on TV and the things in front of you, the amount of information coming in, and the lack of information not coming in, how could you not help but write songs about it.”
  • “Some times I need to apologize, sometimes I need to admit that I ain't right, sometimes I should just keep my mouth shut, or only say hello, sometimes I still feel I'm walking alone.”
  • "Do you think I have time to care about what all the other ass holes care? If they don't like us fine. We don't play for the people, we play because we have fun doing it.” **[5]
  • “We've been together as a group for a long time so this means a lot… we've done everything ourselves until this point, so thank you to everybody … do everything you f---n' believe in, because this is what it's all about,” [6]
  • "Adrienne is the only woman I will ever love." [7]
  • “Having children is a big responsibility and I don't want to make a mess out of it. I don't want my son thinking that I care more for booze than I care for him. If you have children, you don't want to have drugs and drinks in the house. You know they might reach it. It's just not good.” [8]
  • “We don't really have a fair system, our social system doesn't work if you're poor in the US you're dirt poor and the distribution of wealth is more than uneven. If you're poor and you get sick you have no health insurance, no financial security, nothing. if that could be changed I wouldn't mind paying more tax, but I mind my taxes being spent on wars!” [9]
  • "I approach playing acoustic guitar more of as a percussive instrument. It's fragile. I don't have a lot of finesse when it comes to my guitar playing." [10]
  • "I don't like LA. The majority just seem to be so artificial. Look at how they worship everything they think is fashionable. Isn't it sick?" [11]
  • "I don't want to limit myself musically. It would be really limiting if we'd neglect something we really want to do, like explore other styles of music." [12]
  • "I'd love to go to art school. I'd love to learn how to draw. I'd love to be fluent in Spanish. I'd like to be a brain surgeon." [13]
  • "I'm a father. It isn't just my life any more. I don't want my kid finding bottles in the house or seeing his father completely smashed." [14]
  • "I'm very monogamous." [15]
  • "If I look at my old lyrics, they seem to be full of rage, but empty. There was an emptiness in my life." [16]
  • "What annoys the hell out of me is the arrogance of some people. They don't even listen to our music, they decided in advance that they don't like it." [17]
  • "One thing I want to teach my son is sensitivity to other people. I want to teach him not to be this macho freak." [18]
  • "There`s nothing wrong with being a loser, it just depends on how good you are at it." [19]

See also

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

Billie Joe Armstrong
File:Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day (199862242).jpg
Background information
Birth name Billie Joe Armstrong
Born February 17, 1972 (1972-02-17) (age 39)
Oakland, CA, U.S.
Genres punk rock
Occupations Musician, songwriter, guitarist
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano, bass, drums, harmonica, mandolin, saxophone, banjo
Years active 1986–present
Labels Reprise, Lookout!, Adeline
Associated acts Green Day, The Network, Pinhead Gunpowder, Foxboro Hot Tubs
Notable instruments
Billie Joe Armstrong
Signature Gibson Les Paul Junior

Billie Joe Armstrong is the lead singer and guitarist for the punk rock band Green Day. Also, he is a singer and a guitarist in Foxboro Hot Tubs, Pinhead Gunpowder and The Network. He was born in Oakland, California, on February 17, 1972, and was given his first guitar "Blue" at the age of 11 by his father, Andy. He started Green Day in 1987 with his friend Mike Dirnt and later added Al Sobrante as a drummer. When Sobrante left the band to go to college, Tre Cool replaced him as a drummer. The band gained a following in the punk scene before becoming extremely popular after releasing Dookie in 1994. The band has been very popular ever since, and Armstrong is considered by many to be one of the best punk frontmen and guitarrist of all time. He smoked a lot of Marijuana, which is the reason for the name "Green Day", which is a slang term for a day spent doing nothing but smoking 'pot'.[needs proof] Billie Joe did not finish school because of the music. He married Adrienne Nesser, a girl from Minnesota, who was a fan of his. They are very close and have two children together. One is 11 and one is 15. Both of them are boys.

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address