Punk’s New Pack
Joey Armstrong talks Emily's Army and working with his dad, Billie Joe Armstrong.
Courtesy of Emily’s ARMY
Rock ’n’ roll was never supposed to be your father’s music. But for Joey Armstrong, it’s fair to make an exception: His dad is Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day fame.
The younger Armstrong is the drummer in Emily’s Army, a quartet of Oakland high schoolers whose pop-punk debut, Don’t Be a Dick, suggests the kids have been studying the classics: The Clash, Social Distortion, Operation Ivy, and so on.
They also have a pretty good mentor: Billie Joe produced the record’s 14 tracks and signed the band to his Adeline Records label. (Meanwhile, Green Day was recording a trilogy of albums, Uno, Dos, and Tré, the first of which drops September 25.)
“It was great to work with my dad because he didn’t try to make us change our sound,” says Joey, 17. “Instead, he was always able to give us tips and influences about how to make the songs sound best. He’d play me a drum track by Ringo Starr and say, ‘Listen to how simple it is, and that’s why it works so well.’ ”
Emily’s Army is made up of Armstrong, Travis Neumann on guitar, and brothers Max and Cole Becker on bass, guitar, and vocals. Named after a nonprofit foundation created for the Becker brothers’ cousin, who is battling cystic fibrosis, the band just finished a series of dates on the Vans Warped Tour. Not a bad way to spend a summer vacation.
“It was incredible to play on a stage with all these reggae bands and hip-hop acts,” says Joey. “Our band was able to stand out, and we got along great with all the other musicians. There were no cliques—unlike in high school.”
Hear tracks and find concert dates at emilysarmyband.com.