From this point on this Green Day Biography was awsomely writen By Brent(Brent@toronto.crosswinds.net). When you read this you will be amazed by the awsome job he did. he's a very good writter and he gets total credit for this Green Day biography.
Everyone wants to know the story behind Green Day's fame and fortune. That's why I've put together this biography. It's not the most detailed biography you'll ever read, I'm not Billie Joe ya' know. But doing some research from the more professional sites, I've managed to write the basic idea behind the Green Day story. Enjoy!
Billie Joe Armstrong, lead singer guitarist, and otherwise known as leader of the punk band Green Day, was born William Amrstrong on the 17th of February, 1972. Born to a family of great poverty, Billie was the youngest and wildest of six children, and would also be the last child to be born. His mother was a waitress at Rod's Hickory Pit, and his father, a jazz drummer, who died of cancer just after Billie turned ten. But upon his tenth birthday, he received a gift from his dad that would live on, his very first guitar - a Fernandes RetroRockett, in a mild shade of blue. The guitar had already been through two owners before Billie. While Billie received no real lessons, he learned to play on his own, mainly be ear. Obviously a musical prodigy, he was very grateful for his guitar. Band drummer "Tre Cool" reports that Billie owns several guitars, but will only play his Fernandes, since it was a gift from his dad.
Of course, since then Billie has made modifications to "Blue." Original Blue, old and worn out, Billie has made several Blues, but today you will see him using "Blue 2." He has plastered it with stickers, and has added a Seymour Duncan humbucker in the bridge position. Billie always plays out of his custom Marshall amps... I'm not even going to get into that one. But if you'd like to learn more about Blue, and Blue 2, head on over to greenday.simplenet.com and have a look.
After his father's death, Billie's family became about as dysfunctional as they come. His mom had to work as waitress full time, and was never home to raise the kids. Billie, being the youngest, had the least disciplining as a child, which may be the cause of his potty mouth, etc., today...
Later that year, still ten, Billie met up with a guy named Mike Dirnt in the school cafeteria. Mike had been born Michael Pritchard May 4th, 1972. He had also came from a bad home. His mother was addicted to heroin, and couldn't take care of him. Mike's sister had left home at the age of thirteen. So he went to a foster home, but that didn't work out either. His adoptive mother and stepdad were getting a divorce and he was bounced between homes until the age of 17, when he moved in with Billie, but that's later on in the story.
The two became excellent friends, and when they turned fourteen, they started their own band called "Sweet Children." Of course, Mike didn't know how to play any instruments. After he met Billie, he saved and bought his own guitar. The two played together, and jammed with a lot of friends, all the while playing by ear. To this day, Billie only knows three chords, but according to him, that's all you need.
Anyway, for Sweet Children, Mike switched over to bass, so they had a pretty good two-man band. They quickly released their own self-titled EP, which was really only sold at their own gigs in their small town of of Rodeo, California. As Mike has often said, the music you'll hear around Rodeo is music you make, since there isn't even a record store in town.
Soon, John Kiffmeyer (AKA Al Sobrante) joined the band and they chnged their name to Green Day, which was basically a description of Billie's first pot-smoking experience. What? Shocked Billie smokes pot? Where the hell have you been? Have you ever listened to the lyrics to a Green Day song before? All three members are addicts.
Back to John. With him, the band created two EPs, "Slappy" and "1000 Hours." These two EPs were real hits, and got Green Day signed by Lawrence Livermore, president of Lookout! Records. In 1989 came Green Day's first professional album from Lookout!, entitled "39/Smooth." That year, Mike had graduated from high school, but Billie dropped out months short of graduation to book gigs for the coming summer. Next year (1990), a real brainwave hit Green Day, and they re-released 39/Smooth with their two EPs, 1000 Hours and Slappy calling the album: 1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours. The album did quite well, but John, being slightly older than Billie and Mike, soon left the band for college. Now, with John gone, they needed quick replacement of a drummer.
Fortunately, they didn't need to look far. Remember Lawrence (Larry) Livermore? Well, being 30, he realized that if he were going to start a band, it would have to be now. His closest neighbour, Frank Edwin Wright III, about a mile away (who was born December 9th, 1972), was happily invited. Larry, who was going to be the vocalist of this punk band, dubbed Frank with the nickname that would stick for the rest of his life - Tre Cool. Larry's band, The Lookouts, quickly broke up, however. Since Green Day had been signed to Lookout!, they quickly had connections to an available drummer. Larry introduced Tre to Mike and Billie and they decided he would be perfect.
The following year (1991), came the release of the hit album Kerplunk! Their success continued as they toured the following year. Green Day had become Lookout! Records' most popular act, and the band decided it was time to move on to a bigger label. They signed with Reprise Records, but unfortunately this caused conflict with some fans. See, some saw the band's changing record label's as making them sellouts. Personally, I think those fans are worthless, they can't call themselves true fans. In my opinion, Green Day was just peacefully trying to move up in the world, and Lawrence Livermore can kiss Billie Joe's ass. Mike Dirnt described those so-called fans as "just wanting some shit to talk about."
It was now 1993, and Green Day's most popular album to date was about to hit store shelves. Their first (but not last) Reprise album entitled "Dookie" was released. To date, it sold over 15 million copies worldwide, and When I Come Around sat at #1 on the rock charts for seven whole weeks. It was a phenomenal stroke of good luck (and talent). Billie said that the name Dookie, "Kinda' goes along with that Kerplunk thing. You have a dookie and it goes kerplunk in the toilet."
At the same time as When I Come Around's success (1994), Billie married his longtime girlfriend, Adrienne. By the way, it may intrest you to know, that both Billie and his wife are online, and Adrienne likes to spend time surfing the web visiting Green Day sites. I hope she's reading this right now... Also, Tre Cool married his girlfriend Lisea. Mike didn't marry until 1996, but both his marriage and Tre's marriage broke up in 1997. However, Billie was more fortunate it than that. He and Adrienne are still married with two sons - Joseph Mariannco (forgive me if I spelled it wrong) Armstrong and Jacob Danger Armstrong.
1995 Came Around (pardon the cheap-ass pun), and Insominac hit store shelves. The feedback on this album wasn't quite as positive as the last, in more ways than one.
First off, the overall sound was a lot different. Aside from the lyrics, the sound was more dark, of misery and depression. Dookie had a bit of a cheery upbeat sound for Green Day, and Insomniac seemed to paint a darker portrait. That was as far as tune. When it came to lyrics, they were darker as well. Sure, Dookie spoke of suicide, hate, masturbation, prostituation, and all the other good stuff. But Insomniac seemed to have more of the attitude "We're going to die, no point to life, why try?" One such letter written by an angry parent is available at Green Day Online in Billie's Corner, if you're interested in reading it. Billie's response is also included (which wasn't that positive either).
The negative of the album was reflected in its sales and popularity. There were no major hits of the album other than Brainstew, but others did well on the radio charts like Geek Stink Breath and Jaded. The sales were considerably lower than the 15 million predecessor. Critics all around called the album a failure. But as Marilyn Manson recently said, "It's not like critics pay for our albums, so their opinions don't really count."
But can you blame Green Day? Billie and Adrienne just had their first child, and they went many sleepless nights tending to little baby Joey, hence the name "Insomniac." I personally can't see why people thought it was so bad anyway... I thought that the album was better than Dookie, but that's just my opinion.
The minor setback of their fans thoughts and feelings didn't stand in their way. Green Day toured right through the rest of the year all over the world right into 1996. All of a sudden they canceled one of their tours and decided to take the rest of the year off due to "exaughstion." "We work hard just to be called 'slackers,'" says Billie.
Exaughstion was right. Many thought it was the end of a punk legend, Green Day. But they surprised us all. In October of 1997, they released what I consider their greatest album yet, "Nimrod." For those who are wondering, "What in hells a nimrod?" Well, Nimrod was a hunter in the Bible. Read Genesis Chapter 10, Verses 8 and 9. Hey, read all the Bible! It's good for you!
In the studio for 1997, the recorded forty some songs, originally intending their newest album to be a double-CD. This never happened though. Instead they released 18 of those songs onto a single-CD album, that would tear up the charts with their first hit "Hitchin' a Ride," my personal favourite. Upon the release the of Nimrod, Reprise Records re-released the first two Lookout hits, 1,039/Smoothed-Out Slappy Hours and Kerplunk! However, this is primarily irrelevant, so let's continue with the Nimrod info.
Green Day was reasonably happy with the criticism on this album. Critics did find material to bitch about, however. Prosthetic Head, a song about the crippled, The Grouch, a negative outlook on life, Take Back, a song about killing someone, and Platypus, with "innappropriate" lyrics about hate. There were more apparent "unsuitable" songs, but these mainly stuck out. In fact, Reprise Records wouldn't allow Billie to publish his lyrics to the song Platypus (I Hate You). However, he e-mailed them into Green Day Online, (toldya' he was online)! I've also got them listed in my Nimrod lyrics section.
But a lot of critics did favour the splendid emotional sounds of the acoustic hit "Time of Your Life" featured in the last show of Seinfeld. After the release of Nimrod, Green Day received a lot of credit in their favour. Between shirts and other merchandise, interviews, TV shows, and so forth their fame quickly spread worldwide making them one of the biggest bands of the year once more. I can't tell you in approximate record sales how well Nimrod did, but everyone has heard the albums fimiliar tunes like "Nice Guys Finish Last" and "Redundant" on the radio.
It's rumoured now that this will be the last album, but I don't think so. They've got too much going for them. Green Day has been touring in many distant countries, ones that I can't even pronounce their names. They're known everywhere, and for them just to stop is pointless. Every day, webmasters like myself take pride in knowing it's our job to keep the web surfers (like yourself) up-to-date on what your favourite band is doing. Popularity like this isn't something logical just to drop overnight.
The mixture of slow, instrumental, fast, and hard-rock beats really brought out the extremes of Billie, Tres, and Mike's ever-growing talent. There are so many different sounds on this CD, from the No Doubt's horns on the song King For a Day, about a messed-up cross-dressing child, to violins on Hitchin' a Ride and Last Ride In, this album is really different. I think a lot of critics sat around saying, "Shit, that's really Green Day?"
This album, the 5th, is the final chapter in the Green Day saga. No more news can be added to this biography until they make the news happen.