NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Billie Joe Armstrong has a future in sales if the music thing doesn’t work out. Just ask Norah Jones, who had every intention of turning down an interesting but odd pitch from the Green Day frontman because of tour exhaustion when she got on the phone with him.
Twenty minutes later, she’d agreed to an unlikely partnership that produced “Foreverly,” a loving recreation of an all-but-forgotten Everly Brothers album out this week that is one of the year’s more left-field releases.
“He just seemed so excited about the project and just kind of open to making music,” Jones, 34, said in a phone interview. “He didn’t really have an agenda other than he wanted to sing these songs with someone, so it sounded really fun. We kind of made an agreement to try a few days in the studio and see how it went without any big commitments or anything. So that was nice for me to not feel a lot of pressure. We kind of eased in. Honestly, it happened so fast. All of a sudden we were making the record, and five days later we had most of the songs.”
The project is the first for Armstrong since he entered rehab for substance abuse last year during the release of an ambitious trilogy of albums. Talking by phone from Oakland, Calif., the singer-guitarist said he’s feeling great: “It’s a very cloudy and rainy day right now, but for me the sun is still shining.”
The “Foreverly” project taps into those sunny feelings and is a rare venture away from his Green Day bandmates. A fan of early rock ‘n’ roll — the first record he bought was a compilation of Elvis Presley’s Sun Records work — Armstrong stumbled upon an old scratchy copy of The Everly Brothers’ “Songs Our Daddy Taught Us.”
Armstrong’s wife suggested Jones. The two had met briefly 10 years earlier at the Grammy Awards and were struck by how nice each seemed. Once she signed on, Jones says she took over a little bit. She uses the word “bossy.”
Armstrong didn’t mind.
Armstrong said. “It was nice because I was able to kind of sit shotgun.”