Some Facts You May Or May Not Know about Tim Armstrong
Turns out, Tim Armstrong is a pretty interesting dude who has kept punk rock alive for many, many years. Where several bands have “sold out” or given up, Armstrong continues to contribute to the punk rock community. Here’s a list of facts about Armstrong that many may or may not know. Feel free to add your own when you repost this:
- Tim isn’t related to Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day. Despite the fact that the two share the same last name and love for music, they are only friends. At one point, Tim did invite Billie Joe to join Rancid.
- In 1985, Armstrong started a band with Matt Freeman called Basic Radio. The band were essentially a tribute to the tunes of The Clash and The Ramones. 2 years later, they broke up and formed Operation Ivy.
- Operation Ivy are cited for helping create the ska-punk genre. The band toured extensively for 2 years and finally released an album (Energy) in March of 1989, and broke up two months later.
- Without the lead singer of Operation Ivy (Jesse Michaels), the remaining members started a band called Downfall. The band broke up, and two members went on to form the band Schlong.
- After the break ups of Operation Ivy and Downfall, Armstrong became severely depressed and delved into alcoholism. At one point, he became homeless, and his friend and fellow bandmate Matt Freeman proposed that they start a new band, in hopes that it would help Armstrong’s alcoholism. That band came to be known as Rancid.
- Rancid’s first album didn’t feature Lars Frederiksen.
- In 1995, Armstrong produced AFI’s album “Answer That And Stay Fashionable”.
- The same year, he met Brody Dalle, lead singer of Sourpuss and eventual singer of The Distillers. Initially, she lied about her age. Two years later, they were married. Armstrong produced the first two Distillers albums. The two split after Armstrong saw a magazine cover that featured Dalle kissing Queens Of The Stone Age singer Josh Homme. Their divorce inspired several songs on the 2003 album Indestructible.
- In 1997, Armstrong began a friendship with his idol, Joe Strummer (singer of The Clash). The two remained close until Strummer’s untimely 2002 death. Armstrong pays tribute to Strummer in the Rancid song “Indestructible”.
- In late 1997, Armstrong started up his own record label, Hellcat Records. A subsidiary of Epitaph Records, Hellcat helps with the distribution and publicity of bands that Armstrong seeks out and supports.
- The Rancid song “Brad Logan” is based on an actual person.
- In 1999, Armstrong invited one of Rancid’s roadies, Rob Aston, to help throw some lyrics together for a solo project. The two went on to form Transplants with noted Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker. The trio have released three albums.
- In 2001, Armstrong aided Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman in putting together the line-up. To date, in many people’s opinions, it’s the best line-up the tour has ever had.
- Matt Freeman started a side project in 2003 called Devil’s Brigade, a psychobilly band. Armstrong is also in this band.
- In 2003, Armstrong co-wrote 8 songs for Pink’s album “Try This”. Her song “Trouble” went on to win a Grammy Award. It was originally going to be a Rancid song, and is written in full by Tim Armstrong.
- Mid-2004 saw the release of Give ‘Em The Boot, a DVD documentary about Hellcat Records bands.
- In 2005, Armstrong became a chief editor for a magazine called Punk Rock Confidential. The goal of the magazine was to influence punk fashion while also raising awareness of bands that were touring and putting out new music.
- In 2007, Armstrong produced his first solo album, “A Poet’s Life”. It blends punk rock with reggae and ska.
- In 2010, Gretsch Guitars introduced the G5191BK Tim Armstrong Electromatic guitar, which is the model Tim plays onstage with Rancid and on their albums. Originally a right-handed guitar, Tim modified it himself to make it a lefty guitar, since he’s left-handed. The guitar is available in left and right hand models.
- As of October 29th, 2012, Armstrong has released a song a day on a YouTube channel, available for download. These songs are demos from all of his previous works, covers, re-compositions, and more.
- Armstrong has supplied guest vocals for numerous bands, including (but far from limited to) Good Charlotte, Mest, Box Car Racer, Bad Religion, The Matches, Gwen Stefani, Lars Frederiksen And The Bastards, and more.
- Armstrong’s music has been featured in such film as Fun With Dick And Jane (“Time Bomb”), Ramona And Beezus (“Into Action”), White Chicks (“Trouble”), and Idle Hands (“Bloodclot”), among many others.