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interview with







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good charlotte by Jay Amabile I call them damn good, but most people refer to them as Good Charlotte. For them, people have raised their fists in concert halls, in traffic, and in bars upon hearing “The Anthem” or “Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous,” In high school, they were bold enough not to try and fit into the stereotypical Breakfast Club templates. Just because they’re young, this Maryland band can’t be accused of being wet behind the ears. Now in their 20s, after several years of hardships, family turmoil, and tons of gigs, GC released

their debut in 2000, the mega successful The Young And The Hopeless in ’02, and last month, they released The Chronicles Of Life And Death as well as a live DVD. They bring their upbeat show to Starland on Nov. 15, along with Sum 41, Lola Ray, and Hazen St. Don’t pass them off as little punkers, they are kicking ass, and their future is even brighter. So lemme put on my shades for my chat with Benji Madden, guitarist and twin brother of lead singer Joel. AW: Hey Benji. Thanks for talking to me, man! Congrats on the new album!


11/11—Tom Wolfe, 11/15—Anna Netrebko, Barnes & Noble, 33 E. 17th St., New Tower Records, 1961 Broadway, York, NY, 7 p.m. New York, NY, 6 p.m.

11/15—Eddie Izzard, Virgin Megastore, 1540 Broadway, New York, NY, 6 p.m.

11/17—Andrea Bocelli, Barnes & Noble, 675 6th Ave., New York, NY, 6:30 p.m.


BM: Thanks. The Chronicles Of Life And Death is available in two versions, the Life version and the Death version.What inspired you guys to release the album like this? Well it’s the same album, we just wanted to do something special for this record. We really liked it, and thought it would be cool. Each one has a different bonus track, and kids get what they want. If you get the Life album, you could put it in your computer and get the bonus track from the Death record too, that way you don’t have to buy both. This is your most mature record—looking back at making your first album, how have things changed in the recording process? We always have been hands on but for us now, we’ve grown up some.We know how to do more.We’ve been in the studio more, we just have more experience. That definitely makes a difference and I think you could tell by listening to this record. You taught yourself to play guitar.What was your favorite song to play when you were first learning? Probably a couple of Green Day songs.There was— umm—‘She,’ I liked that one, and there was a couple of Weezer songs, and some Rage Against The Machine too. You ever think of going back to your high school reunion, and just being like,‘Yo what’s up now?’ That was never really my thing, ’cause I ain’t mad at nobody. I’m happy with my life, and everything I went through was what taught me the lessons I’ve learned and I never really wanted to rub it in anybody’s faces or anything. I want to go back to my high school reunion just to see people from my past that I haven’t seen in so long. But I’m almost embarrassed to ’cause I kinda feel like everyone will be thinkin’ that we’re there with that attitude like, ‘Oh look at us’ and that’s not the attitude I’ll have at all. Good Charlotte have urged their fans to vote. If you had the chance to be president, what are the first three things you would impose on the country? Umm—well let’s see, if I was president, the first three things I would change would definitely be the national anthem— Would it be one of your songs? Sure! Our colors would be all black, umm—and everyone would have to wear eyeliner. Ha, awesome—You guys are all real dudes.There’s a notion that all guys are macho with no feelings, so thanks for reppin’ the mysterious sensitive guys, and is there ever a time when you just want to lash out and do something that is totally not your bands’ image, not ‘predictable?’

All the time.You never want to be held to something. We definitely have kind of assumed certain characteristics and certain perceptions people have but I think we have done some things that aren’t characteristic, like if you listen to our new record you hear a song like ‘I Just Wanna Live.’ We made that song really out of just wanting to surprise people, we wanted to stir things up a little, and that song in particular is one way we kind of stepped out of our own characters. I think we’re all very happy with the way we’re perceived. At this point, we’re starting to really represent who we are. How is the tour going with Sum 41? Awesome! I wouldn’t change a thing about it. It’s great, we’re having a great time, all the bands get along really well and everything’s good. Glad to hear it isn’t like a Roth/Hagar tour! If you guys had your pre-teen female fans back into the tourbus, you’d all be put in jail, so how do you curb the urges? We’re not interested in doing anything inappropriate and to be honest, all of us feel the same way. To hook up with a fan, you feel like you’re taking advantage of someone. I’ve never heard a band say that! It’s not something you really do, it’s just weird to have that kind of interaction with someone who kinda really like, worships you, is kinda weird. A fan interaction is meant for you to hang out and talk about music and shows and stuff like that—that’s cool, ya know, but to be making out with one of your fans is a little weird. You guys always seem appreciative of what you have and you still seem awestruck at all of your success.What makes you guys stay so grounded, and unbrainwashed? I think we just really are appreciative, and we’re really happy and at the same time—we’re just guys. We know this isn’t gonna last forever, even if it was gonna last forever, what’s the point of walking around, treating people like shit? I don’t get it. I’ve even seen some young bands that have been coming up lately, like some of these newer pop-punk bands out on tour, and they’re just on their own trip, treating people like shit, acting like assholes. We certainly don’t know what our future is, we just know we want to keep making records but nothing’s guaranteed. But it’s like you got this little bit of time to have a good time, make friends with people, enjoy playing music, but instead you’re letting things get away from you and getting on your own trip and believing you’re the next U2 or the next Green Day. There’s only one Green Day, PERIOD. So don’t act like you’re Green Day, nobody can replace them. I’ve seen some of these pop punk bands even younger than us out on tour, acting the way they’re acting. It’s kinda crazy but maybe they’ll wake up. They should know their role. Kinda, ’cause we’ve definitely learned ours, and you have to have respect. What challenges have you faced running your own record label DC Flag? So far, it’s been a learning process, and the challenge is just the knowledge of learning how to do it. You always hope you make the right decisions but it’s really been kinda fun. It’s been almost like—I’d hate to say like a school project, but it’s cool.We just decided to start it and it’s kinda like learning as you go. I’m really having a good time and so far, it’s going really well. Is it cool to be on your tour with two of your signings (Lola Ray and Hazen St.)? Absolutely, it’s awesome! I love those bands and I get to watch them every night. Benji, great talking to you. Good luck with the new album! Thanks a lot. Take it easy.

Performing Saturday, November 13, 2004 GOOD CHARLOTTE, Sum 41 plus Hazen St. and Lola Ray at STARLAND BALLROOM, Sayerville, NJ

Good Charlotte Interview by Jay Amabile  

Interview with Good Charlotte's Benji Madden by Jay Amabile published in The Aquarian, East Coast Rocker

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