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Sweet Children Are Born
Billie Joe Armstrong was born on 17 February 1972 in the town of Rodeo in the San Francisco Bay Area. The town was dominated by a vast oil refinery and referred to as ‘Bordeo’ by the local youth. He was the youngest of six children and recorded ‘Look For Love’ aged five, released in a limited run of 800 by a local music store owner. Billie Joe’s father died of cancer when he was 10, forcing his mother to work full time, and the children had to grow up fast. Music education continued at the hands of local musician George Cole on a Fernandes Stratocaster Billie loved so much he nicknamed it ‘Blue’ and later acquired it.
Michael Ryan Pritchard (Mike Dirnt) was born on 4 May 1972 and given up for adoption by his mother when he was six weeks old. He grew up in El Sobrante, near Rodeo, and became Billie Joe’s best friend. By their teens Dirnt and Billie Joe had formed a jamming band with another friend Sean Hughes, rotating drummers. They eventually settled on the name Sweet Children, inspired by one of Armstrong’s early songs. Musically, they leant towards punk and grew tighter through rehearsal. They were joined by former Isocracy drummer John Kiffmeyer, a.k.a. Al Sobrante (born 11 July 1969), whose drive and local musical connections gave them focus.
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