Tim Armstrong

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This article is about the musician. For other uses, see Tim Armstrong (disambiguation).
Tim Armstrong
Background information
Birth name Timothy Ross Armstrong [1]
Also known as Lint, Tim Timebomb
Born (1965-11-25) November 25, 1965 (age 50)
Berkeley, California, United States
Origin Albany, California, US
Genres Punk rock, ska punk, street punk, hardcore punk, reggae, ska, 2-tone, country, rapcore
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, producer
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, synthesizer, harmonica, cigar box guitar, melodica
Years active 1980–present
Labels Lookout!, Hellcat, Epitaph
Associated acts Rancid, Tim Timebomb, Transplants, Operation Ivy, Devils Brigade, Dance Hall Crashers, Downfall, Basic Radio, Shaken 69, The Silencers, The Distillers, Box Car Racer, The LJs, Generator, Danny Diablo, Jimmy Cliff, Gwen Stefani, Green Day
Website timtimebomb.com
Notable instruments
Fender acoustic 6-string
Gretsch Country Club
Hagström Viking
Gibson SG
Gibson Les Paul
Gretsch Tim Armstrong Electromatic
Hellcat Acoustic

Timothy Ross Armstrong (born November 25, 1965) is an American musician, songwriter, and producer. He is best known as the singer/guitarist for the punk rock band Rancid and hip hop/punk rock supergroup the Transplants. Prior to forming Rancid, Armstrong was in the influential ska punk band Operation Ivy. In 1997, along with Brett Gurewitz of the band Bad Religion and owner of Epitaph Records, Armstrong founded Hellcat Records. In 2012, through his website, Armstrong started releasing music that influenced him, along with stripped-down cover songs of his own work under the name Tim Timebomb. He has released at least one song per week since late 2012. Armstrong is also an accomplished and sought-after songwriter for other artists. Armstrong won a Grammy Award for his work with Jimmy Cliff and Pink and he has also worked with Gwen Stefani and Joe Walsh.

Early life[edit]

Armstrong was born November 25, 1965 and was raised primarily by his mother. He has two older brothers, Jeff and Greg.

At the age of five, he met Matt Freeman while playing Little League Baseball in Albany, California. Freeman and Armstrong formed a band many years later based on their shared love of bands such as The Clash and the Ramones. They both went to Albany Middle and High School. Armstrong married musician Brody Dalle in 1997, when she was only 18 and the couple divorced in 2003. Many of the lyrics on the album Indestructible deal with Armstrong's feelings about his divorce.

Due to their same last names, Armstrong is at times assumed to be the brother of Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong whom he once invited to join his band. Though the two are friends, they are not related.[2] Tim's cousin, Scott, was the guitarist for Canadian punk band Desperate Minds. They did not know each other until they were introduced at a show in Chicago in 1988 by John Jughead of Screeching Weasel.[3]

Armstrong's father, Don Armstrong, died in June 2012 at the age of 81, and Armstrong dedicated many songs on his latest solo album to him.

Music career[edit]

Basic Radio[edit]

Basic Radio was founded in 1985 and included Matt Freeman and Tim Armstrong. The band never released any albums or EPs, but recorded demos and were featured on local compilations. 2 years later they broke up and Operation Ivy was founded shortly after.

Operation Ivy[edit]

In 1987, along with singer Jesse Michaels, bassist Matt Freeman and drummer Dave Mello, Armstrong formed the ska punk band Operation Ivy and enjoyed modest success before the group disbanded in 1989, the same night the album was released. The band would go on to achieve worldwide cult success in the years following its break-up.


Downfall was an aftershock of Operation Ivy. Armstrong, Freeman, and Mello were joined by Mello's brother Pat, and Jason Hammon. Pat and Jason would both play guitar, while Armstrong took up duties on vocals. They lasted three months (December 1989 to March 1990), playing only at a few parties and twice at Gilman St. They released one song on Maximumrocknroll's They Don't Get Paid, They Don't Get Laid, but Boy, Do They Work Hard! compilation, one song on David Hayes' Very Small World compilation, one song on Lookout! Records' Can of Pork compilation, and recorded a demo. It disbanded when Freeman joined MDC on bass while Armstrong was a roadie for the band, while Pat and Dave went on to form Schlong.


After the demise of Operation Ivy, Armstrong (being severely depressed) began to suffer from alcoholism, and eventually became homeless.[4] During this time, Freeman suggested the two start a new band together, partially in hopes of curbing Armstrong's alcohol addiction. Armstrong began writing songs that would appear on their first album. Their new band, Rancid would eventually go on to become one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful punk rock bands of all time. Rancid has released eight studio albums since their formation.

The Transplants[edit]

In 1999, Armstrong invited roadie Rob Aston ("Skinhead Rob") to add lyrics to some solo material that Armstrong had been creating in his basement, and the two worked together writing and recording music. They formed the group Transplants with drummer Travis Barker, of Blink-182, and released their self-titled debut album on October 22, 2002. A second Transplants album, Haunted Cities, was released on June 21, 2005. The Transplants break-up was confirmed by Rob Aston on January 16, 2006, when he told a reporter that the group had split. However, Barker later announced that the trio was working on a new album. They played their first show since 2006 on Conan to promote Barker's new solo album, on which the song "Saturday Night" is featured. It was announced in November 2011 on the Transplants official Facebook page that their new album would be "finished" in December 2011. The latest album entitled "In A Warzone" was released June 25, 2013 on Epitaph Records.

Solo Albums/Tim Timebomb[edit]

In 2007, he released his first solo album entitled A Poet's Life with The Aggrolites as his backing band. The track from that album "Into Action" was reported as the number one most played and requested in 2007 on then XM Satellite Radio channel Fungus 53.[5]

In 2012, he launched a side project under the name Tim Timebomb, initially releasing a download only album, entitled "Tim Timebomb Sings Songs from RocknNRoll Theater", containing songs from his musical film series. Since October 29, 2012 he has released a series of songs via YouTube, at a rate of one track each day starting on October 29, 2012. These songs make up a series of download only singles, to date more than 200 tracks have been released, a mixture of original compositions, covers, and re-workings of his previous songs, including those of Rancid.[6]

Other projects[edit]

Armstrong produced and co-wrote eight songs with Pink for her 2003 album Try This. Her song, "Trouble", a 2003 Rancid outtake, went on to win her a Grammy Award. He has also collaborated with Gwen Stefani on her debut album Love. Angel. Music. Baby. and has contributed guest vocals on songs for such bands as Bad Religion, Time Again, The Matches, Mest, Good Charlotte, Head Automatica, The Aggrolites and Box Car Racer. He and Matt Freeman also play in a psychobilly band called Devils Brigade.

It was announced on August 12, 2011 that Tim Armstrong was working on an album with reggae artist Jimmy Cliff.[7] Their first single, a cover of The Clash song "The Guns of Brixton", was released on October 4, 2011. Sacred Fire EP was released late November 2011. Rebirth was released in July 2012 and won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album. And in 2012, Armstrong written and performed on the song "Hi-Roller Baby", with Joe Walsh and it was released on Walsh's critically acclaimed and commercially successful solo album, "Analog Man".

Armstrong in Nashville, TN on June 27, 2008

Hellcat records[edit]

Armstrong started Hellcat Records in 1997 as a sub-label of Epitaph, owned by Armstrong's friend and Bad Religion member Brett Gurewitz. Armstrong acts as a talent scout for Hellcat, and has final say concerning what groups are signed to the label. Armstrong also owns the merchandise manufacturer Machete Mfg,[8] which provides merchandise for bands on Hellcat Records.

Signature Model Guitars[edit]

In 2010, Gretsch Guitars introduced the G5191BK Tim Armstrong Electromatic guitar. The single cutaway hollowbody electric guitar featured a 17" wide body in a flat-black urethane finish, parallel tone bars and sound post, two "Black Top" Filter'Tron pickups, Grover tuners, big block fretboard inlays, a harp tailpiece and gold-plated hardware. Gretsch advertising for the model prominently features Armstrong with the guitar.[9] It is based on his 1970's-era Gretsch Country Club model which he spray-painted black and flipped to accommodate his left-handed playing.[10] The signature model is available in both right and left-handed models. Fender also put out a signature acoustic model based on Tim's favorite 60's era Fender acoustic guitar. The "Hellcat" has hellcat inlays in the 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th fret positions and two skulls in the 12th fret. It is outfitted with a tortoise shell pick guard and Fishman brand electronics. It is available in right and left handed models, as well as a 12-string version.

Personal life[edit]

Armstrong was married to Brody Dalle from 1997 to 2003. Armstrong met Dalle in her home city of Melbourne in 1995 when her band Sourpuss was playing the same music festival as Rancid. Dalle, who was 16 years old at the time (Armstrong was 29), at first lied to Armstrong about her age but in 1997 the couple were engaged. Dalle moved to Los Angeles to live with Armstrong and formed her new band, The Distillers. The Distillers' first two albums were released through Epitaph and Hellcat. Armstrong was inspired by his wife and wrote "Who Would've Thought", a song on Rancid's 1998 album, Life Won't Wait.


Operation Ivy[edit]

Guitar and backing vocals. Credited as "Lint".


  • Can of Pork – "North Berkeley"
  • Very Small World – "New Regulations"
  • They Don't Get Paid, They Don't Get Laid, But Boy Do They Work Hard! – "Long Way to Go"
  • Later That Same Year – "My City"

Special Forces[edit]

Bass Guitar. Credited as "Lint".


Guitar and vocals.

Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards[edit]


Guitar and vocals.

Solo albums[edit]

Guitar and vocals.

Devils Brigade[edit]

Guitar and backing vocals.

  • Stalingrad/Psychos All Around Me (2003)
  • Vampire Girl 12" ep (2005)
  • Devils Brigade (2010) – Lead vocals on "Bridge of Gold" and "Gentleman of the Road".

Jimmy Cliff[edit]

Guitar and Production

Travis Barker and Yelawolf[edit]

Guitar and Vocals (chorus). 6 Feet Underground (single, 2012), Vocals (chorus). Push 'Em (single, 2012)

Produced albums[edit]



  1. ^ https://www.ascap.com/Home/ace-title-search/index.aspx
  2. ^ LA People 2009: Punkissance Man – Tim Armstrong http://www.laweekly.com/2009-04-23/la-vida/punkissance-man/
  3. ^ Jughead's Basement Episode 04 – Energy http://jugheadsbasementtnh.podomatic.com/entry/2013-02-01T17_00_00-08_00
  4. ^ Duxbury, Micky. "White Punks on Warner Bros. | Feature | Oakland, Berkeley & Bay Area News & Arts Coverage". Eastbayexpress.com. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  5. ^ "Archive". LouBrutus.com. Retrieved 2012-02-27. 
  6. ^ "Rancid's Tim Armstrong to release new album as Tim Timebomb and Friends". consequenceofsound.net. Retrieved 2012-02-29. 
  7. ^ "Jimmy Cliff working on new album with Tim Armstrong". Punknews.org. Retrieved 2012-02-27. 
  8. ^ "Punk T-Shirts, Sweatshirts, Stickers, Buttons, Patches, etc". Machete Mfg. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  9. ^ Gretsch Specification Sheet Archived February 2, 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Tim Armstrong Gretsch Electromatic". The Fifth Fret. January 18, 2010. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 

External links[edit]

Tim Timebomb official website