Tim Armstrong

Last updated

Tim Armstrong
Armstrong performing in 2009
Background information
Birth nameTimothy Ross Armstrong
Also known as
  • Lint
  • Tim Timebomb
Born (1965-11-25) November 25, 1965 (age 57)
Albany, California, U.S.
  • Musician
  • singer
  • record producer
  • songwriter
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active1985–present
Website timtimebomb.com

Timothy Ross Armstrong (born November 25, 1965 [1] ) is an American musician, songwriter and record producer. Known for his distinctive voice, he is the singer/guitarist for the punk rock band Rancid and hip hop/punk rock supergroup Transplants. Prior to forming Rancid, Armstrong was in the 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 under the name Tim Timebomb. Armstrong is also a songwriter for other artists. Armstrong won a Grammy Award for his work with Jimmy Cliff and Pink, and has also worked with Joe Walsh and The Interrupters.

Personal life

At the age of five, Armstrong met Matt Freeman while playing Little League Baseball. [2] They grew up a few blocks apart in Albany, California, where Armstrong lived with his mother, police officer father, and older brother Jeff. [3] Freeman and Armstrong formed bands many years later based on their shared love of bands such as The Clash and the Ramones. They both went to Albany High School. [3]

Armstrong's relationship with Bikini Kill drummer Tobi Vail inspired the Rancid song "Olympia, WA" from ...And Out Come the Wolves . [4]

He was married to musician Brody Dalle from 1997 to 2003. They met in 1995, when Dalle was 16 and Armstrong was 30, after Rancid and Dalle's band Sourpuss both played Summersault Festival in Australia. [5] In 1997, when Dalle was 18, she moved to Los Angeles to live with Armstrong, and she formed the band The Distillers. [5] The couple separated in 2003, after Armstrong saw a picture of Dalle kissing Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme in an issue of Rolling Stone magazine; she and Homme would later marry. [5] [6] Homme claimed he received death threats from Armstrong's fans. [7] Dalle claimed Armstrong was very controlling of her and it took her three years to leave him. [8] Some of Rancid's songs on 1998's Life Won't Wait ("Who Would've Thought", "Corazón de Oro") detail Armstrong and Dalle's relationship, and songs on 2003's Indestructible ("Fall Back Down", "Ghost Band", "Tropical London") deal with Armstrong's feelings about his divorce. [9] [10]

Armstrong's cousin, Scott, was the guitarist for Canadian punk band Desperate Minds, but they did not know each other until they were introduced at a show in Chicago in 1988 by John Jughead of Screeching Weasel. [11]

Music career

Armstrong in 1987 Lint.jpg
Armstrong in 1987

Basic Radio

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. Two years later they broke up, and Operation Ivy was founded shortly after.

Operation Ivy

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. [12] [13]

Dance Hall Crashers

Dance Hall Crashers (named after the Alton Ellis song "Dance Crasher") was formed in 1989 by Armstrong and Matt Freeman [14] after both musicians expressed an interest in starting a band rooted in more traditional ska and rocksteady than what they had been playing with Operation Ivy. The first line-up featured Armstrong on vocals and Freeman on guitar, as well as drummer Erik Larsen, keyboardist Joey Schaaf, vocalist Andrew Champion, guitarist Grant McIntire, and bassist Joel Wing. The band played their first show at 924 Gilman Street in Berkeley in 1989. Shortly after their debut, Freeman and Armstrong left to pursue other interests. [15]


Downfall featured Armstrong, Freeman, and Mello, as well as Mello's brother Pat, and Jason Hammon (also a later member of Dance Hall Crashers). 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.


As time went on, Armstrong suffered from depression and alcoholism, and eventually became homeless. [16] 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 in 1991 that would appear on their first album which was released in 1993. 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 ten studio albums since their formation with their latest, Tomorrow Never Comes , being released in 2023.

The Transplants

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. Their latest album, entitled " Take Cover ", was released October 13, 2017, on Epitaph Records.[ citation needed ]

Solo albums/Tim Timebomb

Armstrong in 2017 20170617-261-Nova Rock 2017-Rancid-Tim Armstrong.jpg
Armstrong in 2017

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. [17]

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. [18]

DOOM Regulator

In March 2023, Armstrong announced the formation of a new band called Bad Optix that featured his former Operation Ivy bandmate Jesse Michaels, Circle Jerks drummer Joey Castillo and Trash Talk bassist Spencer Pollard. The group released their first single called "Raid" and Armstrong promised tons more songs to come. "I always felt a little sadness that Jesse and I stopped making music together. But we never lost touch. And then it happened. A few years ago we started writing songs again! A couple of the songs ended up on Grade 2’s record. Jesse and I just started writing again a lot. It came back. Just like that. Like when we were kids. There is a special chemistry between us and I don’t take it for granted" Armstrong said. [19] [20] Less than a week after announcing the formation of the band, the band changed their name to DOOM Regulator due to a band from Seattle already being called Bad Optics. [21] [22]

Other projects

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 contributed guest vocals on songs for such bands as Bad Religion, 7 Seconds (band), Time Again, The Matches, Mest, Good Charlotte, Head Automatica, The Aggrolites, The Interrupters and Box Car Racer. He and Matt Freeman also play in a psychobilly band called Devils Brigade, and he co-produced their debut album.

It was announced on August 12, 2011, that Tim Armstrong was working on an album with reggae artist Jimmy Cliff. [23] 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 wrote and performed on Joe Walsh's song "Hi-Roller Baby" from his solo album Analog Man. Armstrong also helped with Anti-Flag's song "Brandenburg Gate".[ citation needed ]

Though they share a last name and frequently collaborate, Armstrong and Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong are not related. [24] Green Day has covered Operation Ivy songs on their past albums, Billie Joe Armstrong co-wrote and performed on Rancid's song "Radio", and was invited by Tim Armstrong to join Rancid as a second guitarist in 1993. He declined, and Lars Frederiksen got the job. Tim directed the music video for Green Day's 2016 single "Bang Bang". He also plays a punk, seen during the song's bridge. [25] In 2017, Tim Armstrong and Billie Joe Armstrong, together with Tim's nephew Rey Armstrong and Billie Joe's son Joey Armstrong, formed the band The Armstrongs and released their first single "If There Was Ever a Time". [26]

Armstrong also co-produced the EP Footprints and Broken Branches in 2019 by the Los Angeles based country musician Rosy Nolan along with Kenny Feinstein of the band Water Tower. [27]

In May 2021, Armstrong along with fellow Rancid bandmate Matt Freeman, Fletcher Dragge (Pennywise), Byron McMackin (Pennywise), and Mike Muir (Suicidal Tendencies) formed a punk rock supergroup called The Crew. [28] The band's first single, "One Voice", was released on Epitaph Records. [28]

Hellcat Records

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 was one of the owners the merchandise manufacturer Machete Mfg, [29] which provides merchandise for bands on Hellcat Records.

Signature model guitars

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. [30] Armstrong's signature model is based on his 1971 Baldwin-era Gretsch Country Club which he spray-painted black and flipped to accommodate his left-handed playing. [31]

The signature model is available in both right and left-handed models. Fender also put out a signature acoustic model based on Armstrong's favorite 1960s 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.[ citation needed ]



with Operation Ivy

with Downfall

with Special Forces

with Rancid

with Shaken 69

with The Silencers

with Nocturnal

with Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards

with Transplants

with Devils Brigade

with Armstrongs

with DOOM Regulator

Guest appearances

Production discography


Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rancid (band)</span> American punk rock band

Rancid is an American punk rock band formed in Berkeley, California in 1991. Founded by Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman, former members of the band Operation Ivy, Rancid is often credited as being among the wave of bands that revived mainstream interest in punk rock in the United States during the mid-1990s. Over its 32-year career, Rancid has retained much of its original fan-base, most of which was connected to its underground musical roots.

<i>Lets Go</i> (Rancid album) 1994 studio album by Rancid

Let's Go is the second studio album by the American punk rock band Rancid. It was released on June 21, 1994, through Epitaph Records and was the band's first album to feature Lars Frederiksen on guitar and vocals. The album initially achieved little mainstream success, though it appealed to the band's fanbase. However, the surprise success of punk rock bands such as The Offspring, Green Day and Bad Religion in the mid-1990s brought forth more mainstream interest in Let's Go, and it peaked at number 97 on the Billboard 200. "Salvation" was released to alternative radio on February 3, 1995.

<i>Indestructible</i> (Rancid album) 2003 studio album by Rancid

Indestructible is the sixth studio album by the American punk rock band Rancid. It was produced by Brett Gurewitz and released by Hellcat Records with distribution through Warner Bros. Records on August 19, 2003. Despite critical acclaim, the band was criticized by some of its fans for Indestructible's "poppier" sound on some of its tracks. It debuted at number 15 on the charts, selling 51,000 copies in its first week. It was Rancid's highest debut at the time, which was surpassed six years later with their 2009 album, Let the Dominoes Fall. Indestructible marks the last recording by drummer Brett Reed, who left the band in 2006 and was replaced by current drummer Branden Steineckert. Additionally, it is the only album that features songwriting contributions from Reed.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hellcat Records</span> American record label

Hellcat Records is an independent record label based in Los Angeles, California. The label, an offshoot of Epitaph Records, was started as a partnership between Brett Gurewitz of Bad Religion, the owner of Epitaph, and Tim Armstrong of Rancid, who was generally responsible for signing bands.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Matt Freeman</span> American bassist

Matthew "McCall" Freeman is an American musician. He is best known for his bass work with the punk rock bands Operation Ivy, Rancid and as the frontman of Devil's Brigade.

<i>Life Wont Wait</i> 1998 studio album by Rancid

Life Won't Wait is the fourth studio album by the American punk rock band Rancid. It was released on June 30, 1998, through Epitaph Records. It was released as the follow-up to ...And Out Come the Wolves (1995).

<i>Rancid</i> (1993 album) 1993 studio album by Rancid

Rancid is the debut studio album by the American punk rock band Rancid. It was released on May 10, 1993, through Epitaph Records.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Operation Ivy (band)</span> American punk rock band

Operation Ivy was an American punk rock band from Berkeley, California, formed in May 1987. They were critical to the emergence of Lookout Records and the so-called "East Bay Sound."

<i>Transplants</i> (album) 2002 studio album by Transplants

Transplants is the debut studio album by the American punk rock/hip hop band Transplants. It was released on October 22, 2002 via Hellcat Records. Audio production of the twelve-track record was handled by Tim Armstrong and Dave Carlock. Rancid's Matt Freeman and Lars Frederiksen, The Slackers' Vic Ruggiero, The Distillers' Brody Dalle, AFI's Davey Havok, Funkdoobiest's Son Doobie, The Nerve Agents' Eric Ozenne, and Skarhead's Danny Diablo made their appearances on the album as additional musicians and vocalists.

<i>Radio Radio Radio</i> 1993 extended play by Rancid

Radio Radio Radio is an EP by the American punk rock band Rancid. The EP was released on August 26, 1993, through Fat Wreck Chords with the catalog number FAT 509. It was also their only release on Fat Wreck Chords.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Transplants (band)</span> American rap/rock group

The Transplants are an American punk rock/rap rock supergroup. They formed in 1999 when Tim Armstrong played his friend and roadie Rob Aston some beats he had made using Pro Tools and asked Aston if he would consider contributing lyrics. Initially, Armstrong played all the instruments himself, but as the project grew, he invited musician friends such as Matt Freeman, Lars Frederiksen (Rancid), and Vic Ruggiero to add to the sound. Before long, Armstrong and Aston decided to officially form a band, but to make things complete, they wanted a drummer, so Travis Barker from Blink-182 was asked to join in 2002.

Devils Brigade is an American rock band formed as a side project by Rancid bassist Matt Freeman in 2000. In Devils Brigade Freeman performs a mix of punk rock and psychobilly styles, singing lead vocals and playing a double bass in contrast to the backing vocals and bass guitar he performs in Rancid. He was backed by his Rancid bandmates for singles released in 2003 and 2005, and recruited X drummer DJ Bonebrake to play on Devils Brigade's eponymous debut album in 2010.

<i>Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards</i> (album) 0000 studio album by Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards

Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards is the eponymous debut studio album by the American punk rock band Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards. It was released on March 20, 2001 via Hellcat Records. The album peaked at #26 on the Independent Albums and #49 on the Heatseekers Albums.

One Nine Nine Four is a documentary film written and directed by Jai Al-Attas, "exploring the birth, growth and eventual tipping point of punk rock during the 90s" and produced by the independent Australian company Robot Academy Films. The bulk of the film's content consists of band interviews and archive footage. The film was screened once at the Calgary International Film Festival on September, 29th.

This is a discography of Transplants, a punk rock hip hop supergroup. Formed in 1999, the project consists of Tim Armstrong (Rancid) on guitar and vocals, "Skinhead Rob" Aston on vocals, Travis Barker on drums and Kevin "Sweatshop" Bivona on bass. As of 2017, the band has released three studio albums, one EP, one remix album, and five singles. Their latest release was October 13, 2017.

<i>Devils Brigade</i> (album) 2010 studio album by Devils Brigade

Devils Brigade is the debut album by the rock band Devils Brigade, a side project by Matt Freeman of Rancid. The band, which performs a mix of punk rock and psychobilly, features Freeman on lead vocals and double bass in contrast to the backing vocals and bass guitar he typically performs in Rancid. Originally envisioned as a concept album about the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, Devils Brigade was co-written by Freeman and his longtime bandmate Tim Armstrong, who also played guitar on the album and served as record producer alongside Ryan Foltz. The album also features X drummer DJ Bonebrake and contributions from Rancid's Lars Frederiksen, and was released August 31, 2010 through Armstrong's label Hellcat Records.

Tim Timebomb is a music project by Tim Armstrong, best known as a member of the punk rock band Rancid. Armstrong has recorded a large number of songs – a mixture of cover versions, including Rancid covers, and original songs, including some tracks from his musical film project RocknNRoll Theater – with a variety of supporting musicians.

Kevin Bivona is an American multi-instrumentalist and audio engineer best known for his work with Tim Armstrong's various musical projects, particularly the Transplants and Rancid. He is currently the guitarist for the ska punk band the Interrupters.

<i>Honor Is All We Know</i> 2014 studio album by Rancid

...Honor Is All We Know is the eighth studio album by the American punk rock band Rancid, released on October 27, 2014. It is the band's first studio album since Let the Dominoes Fall (2009), and their second one to be recorded under its current incarnation. Work on ...Honor Is All We Know began in 2011 and it was originally planned for a 2012 release, but was repeatedly delayed while the band continued touring and writing new material, and its members were busy with their own projects. After three years of writing and recording, the album was finished in 2014.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Interrupters (band)</span> American ska punk band

The Interrupters are an American ska punk band formed in Los Angeles, California, in 2011. The band comprises lead vocalist Aimee Interrupter, drummer Jesse Bivona, bassist Justin Bivona, and guitarist Kevin Bivona. They have released four studio albums. The latest, In the Wild, was released in 2022, along with the album's lead single, "Raised by Wolves".


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