Emily’s Army, Swimmers, Fame, and Billie Joe.

Alright, for the past five years I have been following this band called Emily’s Army. I never really wanted to be that creepy fangirl who would follow a band, because that was just a creepy thought. I went to a lot of their shows because it was a way to meet friends and get to know a different world from my own. When I first heard of them, I only heard the music. I had no clue who the band members were. I just knew they sounded good and that I wanted to see a show at Gilman. When I turned 18, before I graduated from high school, I wanted to see a show. My parents were kind of … helicopter parents. Honestly, I could not do a lot of things before I was 18. So when I finally turned of age, I decided to go to Gilman. I had my cousin take me and ever since then, I’ve been hooked. I still remember sitting on the stage at Gilman and seeing Joey (Billie Joe Armstrong’s kid) for the first time. He started setting up right next to me and I seriously could not believe it. There was a rumor that Emily’s Army was associated with Green Day in some way, but who can trust the internet anymore? *wink wink*

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This was a photo that has been floating around the internet for years. I took this photo from the first Emily’s Army show I went to.

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This was my first picture with Max and Joey. Seriously, what is up with Joey’s face???

So eventually I would start going to their shows in the Bay Area. I live in Pacifica, which is ten minutes from San Francisco. So it is basically a Bart ride away to Oakland. I remember all the shows I went to. I even got to meet Mike Dirnt twice. Once at Gilman, and another time at the Uptown in Oakland. I am a very shy person, so when it came to saying hi to the band, I would just muster up a small hello. It wasn’t till later, when I started making some friends at the shows, that I became braver and started talking to them.

They are not mean spirited guys. I’ve always had this weird complex of thinking that anyone who has more money than I do is somehow an arrogant prick. I used to think that Emily’s Army was only popular because of who the drummer’s dad is. But they are so much more than that. They have an amazing stage presence, and each show feels like the party of a lifetime. I’ve been there when they’ve had little to almost no turnout. And I’ve been there when the place was dead packed. Each show had a different memory for me. I know I can escape in the world of Emily’s Army and feel better. I’ve always felt way better after attending a show.

Getting noticed like a celebrity

I’m going to be honest with you guys. I have never really felt that important. I would always feel as if the world was this huge place that I could hide in. I was the best player at “hide-and-seek” in my mind. So when I started going to more Emily’s Army shows, I started doing videos to talk about the experience. At first I didn’t have that big of a following, but as the band gained popularity, more people started watching my channel. I wasn’t really aware of this until I went to an Emily’s Army show at Gilman. I was just standing in line when these two girls exclaimed, “OMG! You’re Jillian, right?” They seriously looked like they could not believe it. Apparently they were fans of my videos. Later on in the night, I had about four other people come up to me and ask me if I was Jillian. It was the craziest moment of my life when I realized that there were people out there that noticed me.

Meeting Billie Joe Armstrong (more than once in my  lifetime.)

I know I have written a post about this, but I wanted to clarify some things. Actually, the whole point for this post was to talk about meeting him. So now that I have covered sort of the background of how into Emily’s Army I am, I guess I can talk to you about the most amazing thing I’ve ever done in my life.

The first time I saw Billie Joe in person was at Gilman. He was watching his son play. I was totally surprised when he wasn’t kicked out the door, since people at Gilman think he’s a sellout. I only got a glimpse of him, but that was enough to make me jump up and down with joy. I later saw him again at Emily’s Army’s first release party for “Don’t Be a Dick.” I couldn’t get a picture with him because he had promised Joey he wouldn’t. Actually, I didn’t even talk to him. I was too scared. The next time I saw him was at 1-2-3-4 Go! Records in Oakland. The second guitarist, Travis, had surgery and couldn’t play that day. So Billie Joe took his place for the show. I was right in front of him for the entire show!

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Here’s a photo I took from that day. He seriously looks like a bum! I thought I was going to fall on him the entire time. I later saw him at the same place a few months later. It was a week before his breakdown at the iHeart Radio thing. I saw him at Homeroom, the mac n cheese place next to the venue. I was so scared that I had my roommate interrupt him so we can get a photo. He kindly said that he was busy eating, but asked our names. I remember saying, “Hi, I’m Jillian. Nice to meet you.” Then he shook my hand! It was hard not to stare into his eyes. I kind of felt like he was giving me a warm hug with just his eyes. I do not mean that in any sexual form. I just mean that he was a very warm and welcoming person. When we had gotten into the show, I started in the front. But later on I ended up being pushed towards the back. Billie Joe was actually the one to kind of catch me when I almost fell. He stayed by my side the entire time. Even when he went to go put his jacket away, he stayed by me. It was an amazing moment.

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This was my one photo that night with him. I would later see him again at the premier of his movie, “Like Sunday Like Rain” which I have told you guys about. Here’s the picture from that night.

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I did not say anything besides, “I want a picture too” (I totally sounded like a squeaky midget girl) and “thank you.” He also smiled at me as he passed me, when I was dancing my little butt off. I think he was perfectly amused. I also saw him again last December, at 1-2-3-4 Go! again, when he went to see his son play again. He was literally a few people behind me the whole time.

This brings us to last week. I saw Swimmers (Emily’s Army changed their name to Swimmers btw) at Thee Parkside in SF. I never go to a show assuming Billie Joe would be there. So when he did, I flipped out. I saw Adrienne walk in with him and I seriously dashed into the stage area. I saw Billie Joe in the back watching the band on stage at the time. There was a girl next to him, but space so that I could squeeze in. I stood in the middle of them and basically randomly said hi. I’m short enough that Billie Joe looks taller in comparison to me. So he looked down and smiled at me. Later on, after the band was done playing, I made sure to stand next to him so I could finally say something to him. There were already people crowding around him, but I managed to squeeze in. He was talking to us a group and I felt like I belonged there. So when I heard a pause in the conversation, I tapped him on the shoulder and spoke up. I “I want to thank you so much for your music. Your music has gotten me through some rough times. Thank you.” He smiled the whole time and said that we all go through rough times and he’s glad his music helped. I dashed out because I was scared I would say something stupid. When Swimmers went on, Billie Joe stayed on stage right. But  when the last song played, he stood next to me so he could get photos of his boys. Both of his sons were playing that night, since Jakob was taking Seb’s spot on bass for that night. At one point I had to make sure Billie Joe didn’t fall and break his neck. So I put my arms out to catch him. It felt good man… just saying.

I know that I have met Billie Joe more times than most other people, but each time feels like the first… and I did not mean for that to sound dirty at all. He will always be my inspiration and I’m honored to have met him. I have finally talked to him, which is the best accomplishment I could have asked for. I’m being serious when I say that I’m always shy when it comes to people who intimidate me.

I have definitely gotten out of my shell thanks to Emily’s Army/Swimmers and I would not change it for the world. Some people may only listen to them because of who Joey’s dad is, but believe me when I tell you that their music is amazing. I absolutely love their EP “Swim.” Joey, Max, Cole, and Seb are all nice people. I am happy to consider them friends. I only see them when they do shows, but that is true for a lot of my different friends.

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This is a photo of Joey and me. The left is from last week, and the right is from 2011. Both were taken at Thee Parkside. I love both photos so much!

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This photo was taken by Joey Armstrong, who basically is the nicest person ever. I have to say that he has changed since I first met him. He was more shy in the beginning. I feel like now  he is more willing to hang out and get to know the fans. We even got to have a small conversation about Supernatural. He is amazing.

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Totally made it on the Swimmers’ Snapchat!!! Woohoo!!!

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And here’s a photo I took at 1-2-3-4 Go! in December. Max was like, “Jillian, you should take a picture with us.” I was like, “No, I have too many with you guys.” But Max said, “It could be of us all grown up.” So here is a photo of us all “grown up.”

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