Growing up in Waldorf, Maryland, Benji and Joel Madden worshiped Minor Threat and the Washington, D.C., hardcore scene. The twins didn't exactly fit in when they formed Good Charlotte, but years later they've found another way to pay tribute to their roots.
When Benji and Joel's record label officially launches with the release of Hazen Street in February, it will be called D.C. Flag.
"We're just proud to be from D.C.," Joel said recently, in Los Angeles to shoot the "Hold On" video (see "Good Charlotte Shoot Heavy Clip For Anti-Suicide Song 'Hold On' "). "So D.C. Flag is kind of us waving the flag for D.C. and just representing our hometown."
For the Maddens, the launch of D.C. Flag is just as exciting as when Good Charlotte took off. After all, former Minor Threat singer Ian MacKaye, who runs Dischord Records, is a hero to the Maddens for his work onstage and off.
"We've always had a dream of having a label," Benji said. "We weren't ever really sure if we wanted to do an indie label, if we wanted to do an imprint ... but it's always what we wanted to do since we were younger ... and we finally had the resources to do it."
Rather than decide between imprint or indie, the Maddens set up D.C. Flag to work as both. Bands signed by the label will have the option of being released on D.C. Flag/Epic Records (Good Charlotte's label) or simply D.C. Flag.
Hazen Street, which features the all-star lineup of singers Freddy Cricien (Madball) and Toby Morse (H2O), guitarists Chad Gilbert (New Found Glory) and David Kennedy (Box Car Racer), bassist Hoya (Madball) and drummer Mackie Jayson (Bad Brains), will be released via the imprint route, while D.C. Flag's second act, New York band Lola Ray, will likely be an indie.
"We're really excited to be able to give bands the option," Benji said. "The bands that we hang out with, the bands that we love, everyone's got their own opinion about where they wanna be."
That's not to say D.C. Flag will be an outlet for all the bands Benji and Joel hang with. The brothers are going to be picky about who they sign.
"We love our friends and we'll always support them, but it's our dream to have a successful label, and it's our dream to put out music that we believe in," Joel said. "When I hear bands that I love that I think everyone should hear, I wanna put that band out."
"I know a lot of bands that if they really got the chance, most of the bands that are popular, they would just make [those popular bands] look horrible, because they're so good," Benji said.
D.C. Flag will concentrate on exposing new or relatively unknown bands, although there is one major act Joel is desperate to sign. "My dream is to put out a Morrissey album," he said. "Morrissey, if you wanna ever put out a record, one record, with us, man, we will love it!"