First for music news
This Week's Issue
You’re logged in

NME Blogs - The Big Picture

Happy 40th Birthday, Billie Joe Armstrong

By Luke Lewis

Posted on 17 Feb 12

 
 

Green Day frontman and all-round pop-punk legend Billie Joe Armstrong turns 40 today. As the band head into the studio to start recording the follow-up to '21st Century Breakdown', here are twenty reasons why we love him.

Photo: Pieter M Van Hattem/NME

Photo: Pieter M Van Hattem/NME




Photo: Getty

He began his career singing to patients in hospitals, trying to make them feel better. He was only 5. Adorable. Photo: Getty.



Photo: Andy Willsher/NME

He’s faithful to the first electric guitar he ever got- a Fernandes Stratocaster that he called ‘Blue’ because of its colour. Photo: Andy Willsher/NME.



Photo: Dean Chalkley/NME

When he was 5, he also made his first ever recording- a song called ‘Look For Love’ at a studio in Berkeley. It’s on YouTube. Photo: Dean Chalkley/NME.



Photo: Retna

Funnily enough, it was in the same studio that Green Day later recorded ‘Dookie’. Photo: Retna.



Photo: PA

He wrote his first song ‘Why Do You Want Him’ aged 14 about his new stepfather. The song appears on ‘1,039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours’ - Green Day’s debut. Photo: PA.



Photo: Press

He knows a good soundbite when he hears one; “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!". Photo: Press.



Photo: Dean Chalkley/NME

“If Britney would paint her ass green, I'm sure you could spot green asses all over LA as soon as the word was out.” Photo: Dean Chalkley/NME.



Photo: Getty

“We're not a political band. We don't want to tell people what to do or what to think. We just want to tell them to think.” Photo: Getty.



Photo: Pieter M Van Hattem/NME

He wrote ‘Brain Stew’ while trying to get his youngest child Joseph to go to sleep. Photo: Pieter M Van Hattem/NME.



Photo: Dean Chalkley/NME

He and the rest of Green Day allowed indie label "Lookout Records" to keep their releases prior to "Dookie". They did this to build a fanbase for the record label- if fans wanted to hear early Green Day material, the money would help keep Lookout Records going. Photo: Dean Chalkley/NME.



Photo: Retna

He has a guitar made from 1000 parts that he calls Frankenstein. Photo: Retna.



Photo: PA

It’s a tradition that at each of his concerts, he kisses a member of the audience. Photo: PA.



Photo: PA

He can play the guitar, piano, harmonica, mandolin and the saxophone. Photo: PA.



Photo: Retna

He sometimes duets with his dog Rocky on versions of Green Day songs. It’s on Youtube. It’s amazing. Photo: Retna.



Photo: PA

After Hurricane Katrina, he volunteered for Habitat For Humanity. Photo: PA.



Photo: Dean Chalkley/NME

When Green Day first began they toured in an old bookmobile that Tre’s dad had bought. Photo: Dean Chalkley/NME.



Photo: Getty

He was in the Simpsons Movie. Photo: Getty.



Photo: James Looker/NME

His cat ‘Zero’ died in an unfortunate tumble drier incident. Photo: James Looker/NME.



Photo: Pieter M Van Hattem/NME

He once said: “To do something that you feel in your heart that's great, you need to make a lot of mistakes. Anything that's successful is a series of mistakes." Photo: Pieter M Van Hattem/NME.



 
 
 
Comments

Please login to add your comment.