A fun summer vacation with Emily’s Army 

It’s a button-pushing title for a debut disc, “Don’t Be a Dick,” from teen Oakland proto-punkers Emily’s Army. But what else would you expect from Joey Armstrong, the drumming son of original snot-nosed upstart Billie Joe Armstrong, who dubbed his breakthrough with Green Day “Dookie”? The songs — Chixdiggit-y power-chorders such as “Asslete,” “Statutory Brainrape” and “Broadcast This” — are playfully snarky, produced by Billie Joe and performed by Joey, 15; guitarist Travis Neumann, 16; and Becker brothers Max, 17, and Cole, 15, on bass and guitar, respectively. The band name honors the Beckers’ older cystic-fibrosis-diagnosed sister, Emily, for whom they started a fundraising organization, www.emilysarmy.com.

How did you guys meet?

Joey:
Max and Cole’s dad designed our house, and then we started hanging out when we were around 3 or 4 years old. And I started playing drums around that same time, and then we saw “School of Rock” and Cole learned how to play guitar, Max learned how to play bass and then Travis joined later.

The album has a slightly British feel, right?

Max:
Yeah. When we were first starting out, we were listening to The Clash and The Beatles. A lot. And AC/DC too.

Joey: We have a friend from Greece who taught us a lot about Greek music and rhythms. So we have the London scene, the Greek scene and the U.S. pop-punk scene. All those influences produced our album.

Why did you choose drums?

Joey:
I’ve seen baby videos, and it’s footage of my dad playing some festival on TV, and I’d just pick up things and start hitting them for different sounds. Then I got my own drum kit and started playing that. I was just a wild little kid who liked to make noise.

What did you learn from Billie Joe — uh, I mean dad?

Max:
People think that because we have this connection to Green Day that we were bred by them. But really, he was just a dad teaching us how to play a sport.

Joey: Some kids go hunting with their dads, some kids play catch. But it’s just awesome that we can play music with my dad. And drummingwise, he’d say, “There are these great drummers that I love, like Keith Moon and John Bonham. But you’ll never get sick of a simple Ringo Starr beat in a Beatles song. So keep everything simple and it will always turn out good.”

This will make a great “how I spent my summer vacation report,” right?

Joey:
Yeah! Most of our friends are hanging out in L.A. or going to the beach. But we’re in a band. On tour. Playing shows every day!

IF YOU GO

Emily’s Army


Where:
Thee Parkside, 1600 17th St., San Francisco

When: 9 p.m. today

Tickets: $8

Contact: (415) 252-1330, www.theeparkside.com

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Tom Lanham

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