Over the past five years, twin brothers Joel and Benji Madden have been relatively quiet when it came to their multi-platinum selling band Good Charlotte. In 2015, the timing finally felt right to breathe new life into the band. They called up bassist Paul Thomas, guitarist/keyboardist Billy Martin, and drummer Dean Butterworth to get the band back together, at least for a limited run. Good Charlotte, after all, hasn’t put out an album since 2010’s Cardiology. The Madden brothers were busy with their MDDN company and The Madden Brothers side project while the other guys were off pursuing other creative endeavors.
“We had grown up inside the band,” Benji says. “We felt we needed to take a step away to find out who we were outside of the band, and do some growing personally.”
Good Charlotte has always been their baby. Founded in Waldorf, Maryland circa 1996, it took them to a level of fame they never could have predicted. The group’s 2000 self-titled debut laid the foundation with the singles “Little Things” and “Festival Song,” but 2002’s The Young and the Hopeless catapulted their brand of pop-punk into the stratosphere, making them one of the biggest bands of the new millennium. Highlighted by the single “Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous,” that album sold almost 5 million copies and set them on a path to superstardom. After Cardiology, however, they realized they needed to take a step away. They shut down the website, and the merch store, and virtually vanished.
“We wanted to make Good Charlotte special again, just to ourselves,” he says. “We knew how special it was to our fans and we wanted to feel that way about it again, too.”
In 2011, Joel was invited to appear as a coach on the highly rated Australian version of The Voice, and this year, Benji joins Joel as a coach on the upcoming season. The brothers also own and operate a fully functional recording studio in Hollywood where they write, record, and produce music for other artists.
“We got the bug again,” he says. “We worked on a few records that kind of made us realize it would be fun to make a record. There’s a certain record that only we can make; those Good Charlotte records. We got a little nostalgic.”
The Madden brothers credit 5 Seconds of Summer for igniting the spark. The young Australian pop-punk group had been working with them since 2014 and reminded the brothers how much fun they had with Good Charlotte. In November 2015, with the band officially back together, Good Charlotte released a video for “Makeshift Love,” a classic pop-punk anthem that screams early 2000s. Recorded with longtime writer/producer John Feldmann or “Feldy,” the song captures the vibe that made them so revered during their heyday, but with a freshness unparalleled by any other group. With a May 2016 released date on the horizon, Good Charlotte is ecstatic to be back. The warm welcome they’ve received from their fans has been overwhelmingly positive.
“This record already feels like a success,” he says. “Just with the announcement we’re coming back, people have been so supportive. We’ve never felt more loved and appreciated and that’s a great feeling.”