You’ve got to hand it to Good Charlotte. While most other rock acts rolled out on the label conveyor belt have vanished into chart purgatory, eight years on from releasing their debut single ‘Little Things’ the pop punkers are still releasing top selling albums, selling out venues, and sending fans into meltdown.
If selling a collective ten million copies of their albums wasn’t enough to silence their critics, then their astoundingly solid fan base that sticks with them through changes in sound, line-ups, and direction, certainly has. As much of a staple in tabloids as they are in the charts, the lads from Maryland are as popular as ever, and while their commercial fortune has been fickle in other regions, GC’s popularity shows no sign of waning here.
Currently in town for a stack of promo duties and to host the Nickelodean Kids Awards with Deltra Goodrum, Benji Madden rang up for a chin wag with MTV about fans, getting scared, and what’s so fricken’ good about the land down under.
You co-hosted the MTV Australia awards a few years back: are you looking forward to getting back to OZ for the Nick Awards?
Australia is absolutely one of my favourite places in the world. I want to live there, become a citizen, and have a house near the beach and change my name to something really Australian and make records there and never have to leave, what more what could you want?
I never got to see a lot when I was younger, so I love travelling. I really appreciate everywhere I go, but for some reason Australia has always just really ‘got’ our band. It’s like we speak the same language. They get our sense of humour, don’t take us too seriously, but at the same time every now and then they do take us seriously and are like, ok cool that’s cool what you did in that song. I think you guys just kind of get us. I like everywhere else that we go and really appreciate it, but Australia always felt so comfortable, like a second home.
You’ve got a massive fan base here that is so loyal; most have been with you from the start. Have you seen a big change in your audience since you started out?
Yeah it’s been about ten years since we released our first album there. We have an audience that just stuck with us, everywhere. We’re not the biggest band in the world, but we do really well because we have this crowd that have never left us. They let us go through our phases and have seen us through changes and that’s really cool when people give you props for it and appreciate that. We’ve been really lucky.
Are you ever surprised as what songs do well? Or do you know what’s going to be a hit when you record?
It’s a surprise, but when you record, you get excited about a particular song, but for us our rule has always been we want to make records that we love, we want to love every song on the record. So when the label says ‘this should be a single’ we’re like, great! Love that song. So because we love every song, we just let the label go crazy with it; hey, what ever you guys want because we love all the songs!
Do you think it’s fair to say you write your music with your fans in mind?
Absolutely. I mean on this record, me and Joel were thinking about what we wanted to write about. You know inside of you your like, I need to get these feelings out, so I remembered back to when I was going through some different spots in my life where music really got me through. It really put me in a good mood and made my life livable, it was just me, and my headphones and this CD that I loved from this band, so I was like, Joel, on this record I want to write it for these kids who have their iPod or their CD player and it’s just us and them, and so that’s how we went about writing this record, let those fans in and let them into our lives and let them get to know us a little better.
Have you ever found that your freedom to create the music you want was compromised as your popularity grew?
Nah, that’s one thing we’ve always been really lucky with and not had to subscribe to that way of thinking we always thought, the one thing that’s going to separate our band to all the bands we get compared to is we’re not the critics band. We’re the peoples band. So we just write our records and put it out there, what ever this record is meant to do, it will do. We can’t chase the success of the single, because that’s going to lead us down the road of not writing songs that don’t mean anything to us, and we go on and play for a year, two years after we do the record you know, and that would be a nightmare. There isn’t a song I don’t enjoy playing.
So you don’t get tired of playing your big singles?
You hear bands that get sick of playing their one hit single, but I like all of our singles. And I still remember exactly where I was when I wrote that song, and what was going through my mind and what I was pissed off at, or what I was thinking about. Our first singles of our first records I still like playing them, like lifestyle, we play that at almost all our concerts and I love it, it’s a fun song to play!
Do you remember your first big performance?
Yeah, we played a festival near where we grew up and there was like 90, 000 people there. We were scared. Once you get up there though it goes away and you’re all good.
Do you still get nervous?
Nah ‘cause I’m just excited to get out there, especially over the last year because we just fell in love with being in a band and music all over again, and now it’s like, yeah we get to go on stage in ten minutes awesome!
GC Fans listen up! Benji and Joel have just announced a one off acoustic show at The Factory Theatre in Sydney this Monday night (November 2).
Tickets on sale now through Ticketek.
The 7th Annual Australian Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards will be held at Hisense Arena in Melbourne on Friday 13th November and broadcast nationally on Nickelodeon from 7pm.
Check the boys out in action, here...