The 30 Best Billie Joe Armstrong Quotes

The 50-year-old Oakland, California-born rocker Billie Joe Armstrong has fronted the punk rock band Green Day for multiple decades. In doing so, Armstrong has played for millions of fans, recorded some of the most popular albums of the past 30 years, and done more with power chords than perhaps any other guitar player.

Videos by American Songwriter

Born on February 17, 1972, Armstrong co-founded what would become Green Day with Mike Dirnt when he was just 14 years old. The two met in elementary school originally. Since then, the band has made seminal albums like Dookie and American Idiot, among many more.

[RELATED: 5 Songs You Didn’t Know Billie Joe Armstrong Wrote for Other Artists]

Here, though, we wanted to dive into what Armstrong has said over the years outside of his famous song lyrics. What are the musician’s thoughts on life and love, his craft, and the world at large?

1. “There’s nothing wrong with being a loser, it just depends on how good you are at it.”

2. “Making mistakes is a lot better than not doing anything.”

3. “Punk is not just the sound, the music. Punk is a lifestyle.”

4. “Punk has always been about doing things your own way. What it represents for me is ultimate freedom and a sense of individuality.”

5. “I’m a father. It isn’t just my life anymore. I don’t want my kid finding bottles in the house or seeing his father completely smashed.”

6. “I never thought being obnoxious would get me where I am today.”

7. “I’d love to go to art school. I’d love to learn how to draw. I’d love to be fluent in Spanish. I’d like to be a brain surgeon.”

8. “I sort of enjoy the fact that I’m misunderstood most of the time. That’s fine.”

9. “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.”

10. “I think it’s your own choice if you turn from an angry young man to a bitter, old bastard.”

11. “I’ve been playing rock and roll since I was 16 years old, and now I have a 16-year-old.”

12. “I don’t want to limit myself musically. It would be really limiting if we’d neglect something we really want to do, like explore other styles of music.”

13. “People are so damned afraid that one day they might wake up and discover that they’ve grown old.”

14. “I don’t like LA. The majority just seem to be so artificial. Look at how they worship everything they think is fashionable. Isn’t it sick?”

15. “I don’t want to live in an ivory tower, being the songwriter who just turns inward.”

16. “Formats are constantly changing, and there are really no rules for the way you put your records out anymore.”

17. “A lot of punk rock is not going to be in the mainstream. It’s below the radar. The beauty of it is that you’re not supposed to always know. It’s subterranean.”

18. “School is practice for the future, and practice makes perfect. But nobody’s perfect, so why practice?”

19. “Our passion is our strength.”

20. “What annoys the hell out of me is the arrogance of some people. They don’t even listen to our music, they decided in advance that they don’t like it.”

21. “Set lists are tough because you come up with this structure of how the songs are going to go from one to the next, but at the same time, you have to be spontaneous and take requests and change the set list at the drop of a hat.”

22. “The first time that you escape from home or the small town that you live in—there’s a reason a small town is called a small town: It’s because not many people want to live there.”

23. “I approach playing acoustic guitar more as a percussive instrument. It’s fragile. I don’t have a lot of finesse when it comes to my guitar playing.”

24. “No one’s really happy anyway, it’s not human.”

25. “If journalists ask you again and again about the same bands, you’ll end up saying you hate them just because you’re so fed up with being asked all those stupid questions.”

26. “I love storytelling.”

27. “What is going on in America is extreme. The youth cult, they worship youth so much it’s almost paranoid. And L.A. is the Mecca of it all; they’re taking it to the hilt.”

28. “I’m not going to conform to some consumer need.”

29. “The thing about punk is that there are purists. Once you start going outside of that, they don’t think what you’re doing is punk rock.”

30. “When I signed that major-label contract when I was 20 years old. I did it because I wanted to play music for the rest of my life. That’s every 20-year-old’s dream—to do whatever the hell you want.”

Photo by Sergione Infuso/Corbis via Getty Images

Leave a Reply

KISS Reveal Final Tour Dates of Their Career