Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong’s mansion wasn’t built on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams, that’s for sure. Working with architect Mark Becker, the 1997 6,911-square-foot custom-built house was Armstrong’s home during the era of the group’s American Idiot, 21st Century Breakdown and Warning albums. While the rocker sold the house for $4.85 million in 2009 (and presumably said “Good Riddance”), the massive marvel is now on the market with an asking price of $6.5 million, according to its real estate listing with Compass. While the house has been kept up-to-date by its interim owners, the extensive home studio and its eye-popping adjoining bathroom remain largely as Armstrong left them.
The house itself was constructed on a notable half-acre lot—the former site of the 1911 Red Gate Mansion on Manchester Drive in the Upper Rockridge section of Oakland, CA. That mansion burned down during the 1991 Oakland Hills fire, though some of the original brickwork can be spotted in the front yard stairs and side porch. The mansion sports 5 bedrooms, 5 ½ bathrooms, a pool and jaw-dropping views of the entire bay—but for those who prefer staying indoors and working on their studio tan, the home recording facility is equally spectacular.
Located on the first floor and accessible through a separate outside entrance, the studio sports a control room, sizable live room and three soundproofed isolation booths for recording hellaciously loud guitar cabinets (mistakenly referred to in the real estate listing as “practice booths”). While all the gear in the control room is long gone, replaced by a pool table, the extensive acoustic treatments and diffusion panels remain in place along with numerous specialized air ducts, and you can spot soffit panels in the wood floor that show where recessed wiring for a console and outboard racks or tape machines would go.
Next to the studio is a guest bedroom and a media/living room, making the first floor a potential stand-alone guest suite for crashing guest musicians or an in-house studio engineer kept under lock and key.
Of course, a guest suite needs a bathroom and this one is a sight to behold, wallpapered in vintage gig flyers from the San Francisco punk scene that would today be a worthy addition to the historical archives of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Visitors using the facilities for an extended constitutional can discover all the amazing bills they missed out on back in the day, when acts like The Offspring, the Vagrants, Pennywise, the Mr. T Experience, Rancid, All, Operation Ivy, Flipper, Husker Du, GBH, Screeching Weasel, Bikini Kill, Pansy Division, Everclear, Neurosis, MDC and of course Green Day stormed the rickety stages of the region. No doubt the fully tiled shower stall doubled as a reverb chamber for the studio at some point, too.
Anyone who can tackle the price tag on the mansion can no doubt afford to appoint this studio with the latest and greatest in gear—and if that person is you, invite us over to do a story on it. We won’t even peel and pocket that Untouchables flyer from the bathroom wall.
For a closer look at the entire mansion, including a cool virtual walk-through, visit http://www.manchestermasterpiece.com/