Billie Joe Armstrong was born in Oakland, California on February 17th 1972. He was the youngest of six children in a family of wide musical talent. His mother worked as a waitress in local diner, Rod's Hickory Pitt, and his father worked as a truck driver/jazz musician.
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, 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. 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.
Billie Joe always shone above his siblings with his clear musical ability. From a young age, he was cheering people up at local hospitals with his beautiful singing. He attended singing lessons and was always destined for greatness. The first clear sign of this was when at the age of only five; he recorded his very first song at a local recording studio in Berkeley. The song was called "Look For Love" and found him an interview with a local radio station, a clip of which can be found as the introduction of one of Green Day's songs - Maria.
Billie Joe formed a very strong relationship with his father, who, at the age of ten, gave him his very first electric guitar - blue - which he still uses to this day, imaginatively named thus because of its pale blue colour. Billie Joe treasured this guitar, a Fender Stratocaster; although little did he know, it was the beginning of a lifetime career in music. Unfortunately only a year later, Billie Joe lost his father to throat cancer, leaving him lonely and broken hearted. His mother soon found herself a new husband whom none of the six children liked and caused Billie Joe to write his first song "Why Do You Want Him" which appears on Green Day's debut album, 1039 "Smoothed Out Slappy Hours". He released a lot of his anger out on his guitar playing the hardcore punk rock songs he still sings today; unfortunately, he also released a lot of his anger with physical violence, both at school and at home, with his stepfather.
1. Right arm: Adrienne's (his wife) name, a vine, and 2 angels facing each other and praying (Jesus Christ Superstar logo).2. Left arm: A baby smoking a cigar, a clown bracelet (clowns holding hands), E.B.P.M. (East Bay Punk Mafia) with a star on each side.3. Left arm: Jakob's (his son) name in block letters with a soccer ball, stars, and rockets around it.4. Right arm: All Ages written with a star on each side, the Japanese symbols for pot and pinhead, the Riverdales logo (the 27 with the circle around it), Joseph's (his son) name.5. Right arm: Looks like a photostrip of his wife, Adrienne.6. Waist/Hips: The number 80 on the left side.7. Right hand: A little cross with beams of light between his thumb and index finger, a red star on his wrist.8. Left hand: A little black heart on his middle finger.9. Right Arm: His sons name, "Joseph", surrounded by a rose.10. Left Arm: A tiger crawling, several multi-colored stars.11. Left Hand: PUNX between his index finger and thumb.12. Chest: A car, and a symbol meaning "potent male".