Billie Joe Armstrong (guitar, vocals) received slings and arrows from obstinate punk fans when his band Green Day leapt from the underground and onto MTV in 1994.
Born on February 17, 1972, in Berkeley, California, Armstrong is the youngest of six children; his father died from lung cancer when he was only ten. Armstrong formed Sweet Children in 1987 with bassist Mike Dirnt. The group's name became Green Day in 1989, and Al Sobrante (drums) joined the band, eventually replaced by Tre Cool. Green Day's first two albums, 39/Smooth and Kerplunk!, solidified their place in the Southern California punk scene of the early '90s. However, when 1994's Dookie was released on a major label and sold more than eight million copies, Green Day were accused of selling out. Armstrong married his girlfriend Adrienne Nesser in June 1994; nearly a year later their first child, Joseph Marcicano, was born. With each Green Day album, Armstrong continued to ignore the criticisms of the group's early fans as the band proceeded to strengthen its status within the mainstream, culminating in 2004's American Idiot, a rock opera that became a surprise international success, a multi-platinum Grammy winner, and the best reviewed album of the band's career. Outside of Green Day, Armstrong teamed with jazz singer and pianist Norah Jones in a project to re-create the classic 1958 Everly Brothers album Songs Our Daddy Taught Us. Recorded in nine days with bassist Tim Luntzel and drummer Dan Rieser, Foreverly was released in 2013. ~ Michael Sutton, Rovi