Distillers Deal With Rancid Shadow

Three and a half years ago, punk rocker Brody Armstrong moved from her native Australia to the United States to be with her boyfriend — and now husband — who happened to be Tim Armstrong, frontman of popular punk rocker outfit Rancid.

The two met on New Year's Eve 1996, when Brody's old band played on the same bill at a festival that included Rancid. "We met early in the day," she recalls. "It was love at first sight. I think I knew I was getting married when I first saw him."

Those feelings haven't changed, but after moving to the U.S. and starting another band, the Distillers, Armstrong acknowledges that she can't help but feel the strong shadow of her husband and his band — especially since the Distillers' self-titled debut album was released by her husband's Hellcat Records label and since the Distillers recently toured opening for Rancid.

"It is hard," says Armstrong, 21, who fell in love with music when she was 7 years old and an uncle took her to a Cyndi Lauper concert. "There's been a lot of name calling, a lot of accusing me of being a gold digger or whatever — comparisons to Yoko Ono and John Lennon, Kurt [Cobain] and Courtney [Love]. We're not part of that. I've been playing music since I was a little girl; it's what I've always known I wanted to do. I think it's unfair for people to judge me because I married a man who's kind of the same mind as me. We do the same thing, but I don't care. It's not anybody else's business."

As you might imagine, Armstrong describes the couple's household as something of a music Mecca, with song ideas flowing almost constantly. "He'll play me his stuff; I'll play him mine," she says. "We bounce it off each other. That's always good." Armstrong says she and Tim have also worked on some material together, none of which has been made public yet — and, by her account, probably won't be for some time. "It's just home stuff, like a lover's tape," she says.

"Maybe in the future we'll put out something together. Right now we both have separate things going on; he allows me that space. My band is pretty much just starting. Maybe after we have a 10-year career and put five records out, [Tim] and I can do something."