Ten years ago Benji and Joel Madden burst onto the scene with Good Charlotte. The single “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” put the band on heavy radio rotation and the two scrappy kids with a bunch of tattoos and a boatload of charisma into the spotlight. The Maddens, in location and mind-set a long way from their bedroom community of Waldorf, MD, became pop-punk princes in Hollywood. The twins even dated the duo atop the celebutante pecking order: Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie (Joel is now engaged to Richie, with whom he has two children). In between coverage in Us Weekly, the Maddens created the clothing line DCMA Collective (with their brother, Josh, and friend Tal Cooperman), were tapped by Macy’s to vet a women’s fashion collection, and put out two more albums that climbed the Billboard charts. Now rock’s royalty is back and poised to please Good Charlotte fans with their fifth studio album, Cardiology.
INKED: Good Charlotte has been around for 10 years now—seems like a good time to drop an album.
Joel Madden: It doesn’t feel like it’s been 10 years. I don’t feel we’ve been doing this that long. I still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing yet.
Benji Madden: It flew by. I definitely appreciate the last 10 years because a lot of times when you’re young you’re kind of naive and excited—and it’s good to be that way—but there’s also a lot of valuable things you learn along the way that you really appreciate.
Joel: Yeah, our band’s been through a lot of shit. A lot of people don’t see all the things that we’ve been through. Sometimes the time feels longer and sometimes it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long between albums. There have been sacrifices you make for the band—you miss people’s weddings and birthdays because of it.
Benji: I appreciate the lessons we learned and appreciate that we are still here. Now it feels right too. We’re definitely having more fun than ever.
Benji, you were quoted last January saying you didn’t feel comfortable about the initial stages of recording this new album.
Benji: Yeah, I think sometimes when you get a feeling and your gut tells you something you’ve got to listen to it. We were with the wrong producer and I could just feel it. The record didn’t have the vibe that I was kind of wanting it to have, and it wasn’t really about the songs—I liked the songs—it was just the vibe of the record. And so it was kind of a hard decision because we had worked for a long time on it, and I definitely punched a couple walls. Then we were like, yeah, we need to start over. So once we did, we started the record with Don Gilmore, who did a couple other records for us. It immediately felt right. And then it was like, okay, good, we’re on the right track. And now I love the record, so I’m really happy we did that. Because it’s everything I wanted it to be.