Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong on Balancing Music and Family: 'Like Living Two Different Lives'

A new interview lays bare the punk singer's career ethos

In a new wide-ranging interview with Kerrang!, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong dove into his 48 year balancing act between career influence and family life.

Billie tells the rock magazine his introduction to music began in California when the artist was “this little angelic kid” with “a big head of blond, curly hair.” He traveled with his father Andrew, a jazz drummer, to performances all around the state. The bond was short lived. When Armstrong was 10 years old, his father died of esophageal cancer. Andrew would be a lasting influence for the artist.

“I think my dad being a drummer was a good influence on me. Our parents were just trying to get us involved. I guess they recommended this music school which was in Pinole [in California], and then my sisters went and learned to play the clarinet and the flute and s*** like that, and they would do this stuff for school,” he said. “I was like a sponge for all of it.”

Fast forward 12 years later to Armstrong forming Green Day and releasing the landmark post-punk album Dookie. It was during that time he got married and had kids. The confluence of events was more than he could handle. “My life was just going so crazy, so why not make it even crazier by adding marriage and kids into it. It was a lot of reckless behavior, and then reality kind of kicked in,” Billie said.

“It was definitely like living two different lives, in a lot of ways. I would go from being completely grounded to then trying to be an artist at the same time, and I’d get caught up in my own head a lot, and maybe sometimes not quite be always available.”

Like many bands, Green Day shut down their tour due to the coronavirus pandemic. That hasn’t stopped Armstrong from making new music. The artist tells NME he’s written six new songs during the lock down, and hopes to put the material out there as soon as possible.

The Group is also celebrating their recent MTV Music Award Nomination for Best Rock Video.

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