Billie Joe Armstrong grew up in Rodeo, California where he met his friend and future bandmate Mike Dirnt, who helped him form their first band at the age of 14. By the time they were 17, they renamed their band Green Day and the pair recorded for their first time with the label Lookout. The following year, they recorded their first full-length album, “39/Smooth”, in one day. After establishing a solid fan base, the band signed with Reprise in 1993, releasing their album “Dookie” the following year, which became the next generation of punk selling over 10 million copies worldwide, and earning the band the 1994 Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Performance.
Before Green Day became who they are now, Armstrong and Dirnt formed their duo which they named Sweet Children. Then, when it came time to change their name, marijuana influenced their new identity, “Oh, it was absolutely about pot. I mean, I think at first we were trying to be like the Cheech and Chong of punk rock for awhile. And some of us still are the Cheech and Chong of punk rock.” This was a difficult lifestyle for Armstrong because he couldn’t be the Cheech and Chong of punk rock with his children around, “I had children and it was like there was these little people that looked like me that were around, so being high, it was like ‘OH.’” Still, it was tough for Armstrong to stop smoking marijuana because there was always something new to smoke out of, “It was like, hey try a gravity bong, or try this thing with a motor on it that comes out of here. And I’m like, well, I haven’t tried that yet.” During the interview Armstrong proceeded to kindly describe what a gravity bong is, “You take like a two liter bottle, and then you fill this bucket up full of water, and then you put a bowl at the top of it… You light it, and then you push down, and then the entire two liter bottle… fills up with smoke… and it shoots it straight into your lungs.”