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Billie Joe Armstrong

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Billie Joe Armstrong (born on February 17, 1972 in Rodeo, California) is a member of the bands Green Day, Foxboro Hot Tubs, The Network, and Pinhead Gunpowder. He is married to Adrienne Armstrong (neé Nesser) and has two children, Joseph Marciano (Febuary 28,1995) and Jakob Danger (September 12, 1998).


Early life

Billie Joe Armstrong was born and raised in Rodeo, California, a town 24 miles north of Oakland, as the youngest of six children. His father, Andy Armstrong, was a jazz drummer and truck driver for Safeway to support the family. He died of cancer on September 10, 1982 when Armstrong was 10. The song "Wake Me Up When September Ends", is a memorial to his father. He has five older siblings: David, Alan, Marci, Holly, and Anna. His mother Ollie worked at Rod's Hickory Pit. 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 Oakland's Hillcrest Elementary School, 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". After his father died, his mother married a man that her children despised, which made Armstrong retreat further into music. Armstrong dedicated a song to him called "Why Do You Want Him". At age 10 while attending Carquinez Middle School in Crockett, CA, he met Mike Dirnt, and they immediately bonded over their love of music. As a teenager he originally was into metal music, but got into punk after hearing the Sex Pistols song "Holidays in the Sun". Armstrong has also cited The Replacements and Hüsker Dü, both from Minneapolis, as major influences. He attended John Swett High School, also in Crockett, and then Pinole Valley High School, in Pinole, CA, dropping out on February 16, 1990, a day before his 18th birthday, to pursue his musical career.

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 another man on drums, and a man called Sean Hughes on bass. After a few gigs and a demo recording (later featured at the end of Green Day's Kerplunk!) He and Mike Dirnt decided to join up with drummer Al Sobrante 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. 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 lead singer Tim Armstrong asked Armstrong 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.

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 is also rumored 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. Money Money 2020 was released on Adeline Records, a record label co-owned by Armstrong

Instruments

Armstrong received his first guitar, a Cherry Red Hohner acoustic, which his father bought 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 the basics on the guitar. 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". Before the guitar belonged to George Cole it belonged to a guy from the band Big Bang Beat. 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", "Basket Case", "Brain Stew/Jaded", and appearing most recently in "Minority". There are two stickers on it saying "BJ" standing for "Billie Joe". Armstrong has made several replicas of this guitar and uses them at concerts, as the original Blue was damaged during a concert, and is too fragile to tour with today. Blue is supposedly still used for recording, but the large crack in the body makes it dangerous to use on stage; it might become too irreparably damaged to use. Copies of Blue have been in use since at least 1997 or 1998. He also owns Gibson SGs and a sonic blue Fender Jag-Stang.

Today Armstrong mainly uses Gibson and Fender guitars. Twenty of his Gibson guitars are Les Paul Junior models from the mid- to late-1950s. 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.

Armstrong also has his own line of Les Paul Junior guitars from Gibson. He also uses his signature line now in many of his tours today. Armstrong also uses Gretsch guitars.

He can also play the drums. He plays them quite a lot at live gigs.

Personal life

In 1990, Armstrong met Adrienne Nesser, at one of Green Day's early shows in Minnesota, whom he married on July 2, 1994. The day after their wedding, Adrienne discovered she was pregnant. Their first child, Joseph 'Joey' Marciano Armstrong, was born on March 15, 1995. 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."

Armstrong was arrested by Berkeley police in January 2003 for drunk driving after being pulled over for speeding. He received a Breathalyzer reading of 0.18, more than twice the California legal limit of 0.08.

In April 2007, Armstrong and his wife sent photos of their spring break working with Habitat For Humanity and a diary to GreenDay.net.

Armstrong openly supported Barack Obama for the 2008 presidential election.

Trivia

  • He has green eyes.
  • His natural hair color is reddish brown, although he often dyes it (black, blue, red, green, orange and bright yellow are regularly rotated).
  • He is really fit in the body.
  • Billie Joe used to have a nose ring, but he took it out because it kept getting caught on his guitar.
  • Billie Joe was born with a panic disorder and sometimes suffers from panic attacks and anxiety. The song Basket Case talks about Billie's struggles with anxiety.
  • Billie wears Jockey underwear.
  • It has been said that Billie Joe is a registered member of Poetry.com. His name is B. Armstrong.
  • Billie Joe has been rumored to have been romantically linked to Winona Ryder.
  • When Billie was younger he put 409 in his teacher's coffee. (409 in Your Coffeemaker)
  • Billie Joe's nickname in high school was "Two Dollar Bill" because he sold joints for two dollars.
  • Billie Joe's mother spelled his name wrong on his birth certificate. Not because she was high with illegal drugs, she was loopy because of the massive amounts of painkillers in her body to ease childbirth.
  • In the second grade two girls beat up Billie Joe so that he would date them.
  • Billie Joe and Adrienne spent their honeymoon at Berkley's Claremont Hotel, which is a short distance from their house.
  • The first time Billie Joe kissed Adrienne he went home and wrote 2,000 Light Years Away.
  • Billie Joe's birthday is on the same day as National Cabbage Day.
  • Billie likes playing guitar most out of the piano, harmonica, and the mandolin.
  • Billie occasionally wears nail polish.
  • For the video for Jaded, because the lyrics are about being stoned and how you feel when you're stoned. Billie decided to get high while shooting the video just to get the feel for the song.
  • It's an old tradition of Billie's that at every one of his concerts he kisses a guy.
  • Billie Joe thinks that Staind's lead singer sounds like Cher.
  • Billie Joe hates Slipknot. He said that the masks "Are so fucking retarded" and that they sound like "Tré chocking on a hair ball", and one time, a fan threw some screwed up mask on the stage, and when Billie Joe picked it up he looked in disgust and said, "Were not fucking slipknot, you asshole!"
  • Billie Joe played football for John Swett High School in Crockett, CA.
  • Billie uses Jermac Styling Spritz to get his hair good and crunchy.
  • Billie has a guitar made with with different parts called Frankenstein.
  • Billie Joe's brothers introduced him to "punk".
  • On the "1,000 Hours" record they spell Billie's name as "Billy".
  • Billie's had his blue 67 Ford Fairlane for ages, it's even featured in Christie Road "Standing on my beat up car". When *Billie first earned enough money with his music, he had the car primed.
  • Billie Joe when talking about future plans said he would become a soccer team coach.
  • The first album Billie Joe bought was Elvis Presley's "The Sun Sessions".
  • Billie Joe was in a documentary called "Mayor of the Sunset Strip" in 2003.
  • Billie Joe played "Ghostly Betting Man" on the show Haunted in 2002. The episode is named "Simon Redux." It has never aired in the USA.
  • Billie Joe guest starred on the Howard Stern Radio Show on December 9, 2000.
  • In the song "Sick Of Me" on Shenanigans, right before Billie Joe says "Like a dog...." you can hear a "squishy" noise.
  • Billie Joe likes to take books on tour.
  • The electricians tape on Billie Joe's large cutaway on Blue is there because some dude knocked into him at one of their first gigs and he dropped the guitar, causing it to crack from the strap lock down. He then later taped it up.
  • Billie Joe got expelled from 2 schools.
  • The BLACK FORK album ROCK FOR LOOT was produced by Billie Joe. Even though in the insert it is spelled Billy Joe.
  • In early 2001 Billie Joe was mugged at gunpoint and is now terrified of guns.
  • Billie Joe got body lice while on tour in Germany in Green Day's early days.
  • At age 15, Billie tried to go to an Operation Ivy concert, but he was refused entry. One of the members of the band heard he wasn't allowed in, so they came out and personally escorted him into the show.
  • Billie drives a blue 67 Ford Fairlane. Mike drives a BMW, and Tre sports an SUV.
  • Billie Joe's cat, Zero, died in his washing machine.
  • Billie's trademark first guitar is named Blue, and was given to him by his father before he died. Blue is now retired, but Billie has several replicas of the guitar.
  • Billie Joe said that if he could be any female celebrity, he would be Chrissie Hynde.
  • Billie Joe has kissed both Mike and Tre before.
  • Billie Joe used to be a vegetarian in the early days of Green Day but stopped due to rapid weight loss.
  • Many fans say that Billie Joe is very short in height. However Tre is shorter than Billie Joe by an inch.
  • Billie Joe's teeth are crooked at the front.
  • Billie Joe likes to say "y'know", something that the fans easily notice of him.

Famous Quotes

  • "Are you Canadian? Oh, okay, 'cause you're sure as hell acting like one right now."
  • "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!'
  • "Well, you know, I look at myself in the morning and yes, yeah I-I am a God."
  • "You're the fucking leaders, you have the power. Don't let these bastards dictate the rest of the world, or dictate your fucking life!"
  • "Do I want to change the world with music? Well, fuck yeah I want to change the world to a certain extent yeah. It needs to be changed....it needs a kick in the ass."
  • "What do you mean we walked around dressed like girls? We walked around in our own clothes they just happened to be dresses."
  • "I hate celebrities. I really hate them."
  • "Never run in the rain with your socks on."
  • "It's my life and you know what? Nobody invited you so there's the door."
  • "Ladies have a bad taste in men. I'm not that good looking."
  • "There's nothing wrong with being a loser. It just depends how good you are at it."
  • "Our passion is our strength."
  • "I dreamed that I pissed in my suitcase one time, I woke up in the morning and uh I had urine inside my suitcase."
  • "Ladies, if someone touches you and you don't want them to, feel free to punch them in the fucking face."
  • "This song is called American Idiot! It's about me."
  • "Gardening tip number 5: Get the fuck out of my fucking garden!"

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