When Good Charlotte wrote "Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous," the song that vaulted their last album into the mainstream, they were neither rich nor famous.
These days, after selling more than 3 million copies of 2002's The Young and the Hopeless, the guys in Good Charlotte are, to say the least, in a higher tax bracket. So their latest video — for "I Just Wanna Live," off The Chronicles of Life and Death — skewers the fact that Good Charlotte are now in the precarious position of being rich people singing a song that complains about rich people complaining, as "Lifestyles" does.
"It's a song that you kinda have to make a silly video for," guitarist Billy Martin said. "It's almost like making fun of ourselves, because everyone says, 'Oh, now that you've had a song about "Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous," now you can never complain about anything.' So we're sort of on purpose complaining about stuff in a funny way. [The song] even references 'Lifestyles.' "
In the clip, which was directed by Brett Simon (Hoobastank, the Killers), the group is seen performing in a near-empty dive bar, after which they head back to their menial day jobs. One day, a music-biz bigwig spies them from the backseat of his limo and signs them to a deal, making them rich and famous — so famous, in fact, that they find themselves at the center of ripped-from-the-headlines celebrity scandals involving night-vision sex tapes and nationally televised lip-synching disasters.
Upping the humor quotient is the fact that the band calls itself the Food Group, with members dressed as their favorite edibles. Bassist Paul Thomas is a hamburger. Drummer Chris Wilson is a carrot. Singer Joel Madden is a slice of pizza. Guitarist Benji Madden is an ear of corn. As for Martin, he's afraid his costume will dog him for the rest of his days.
"I'm a little [worried] that I will be known as the guy who was a strawberry for the rest of my life," he said. "I was the only one complaining. Everyone else was going, 'This is going to be great!' And I was like, 'Ugh, I'm dressed like a strawberry.' If it makes people laugh, then it's cool."
On Monday (November 22) Good Charlotte wrap up their tour with Sum 41 (see "Good Charlotte, Sum 41 To Embark On Co-Headlining Trek"), then they're headed back out to perform at various radio-sponsored holiday festivals. Multi-artist shows are familiar territory for these Warped Tour veterans, but playing on pop bills is something entirely new. Luckily, they have a plan to keep their cred intact.
"We've never played a show with a person like Beyoncé on the bill," Thomas said. "So I'm sure backstage will not be as fun as it normally is."
"There will probably be 70 security guards in every hallway, and you won't be able to go anywhere," Martin added.
"It's going to be a lot of fun if we go there and just f--- sh-- up," Thomas concluded. "We're going to be extremely crude backstage, invade the pop scene and f--- sh-- up. That's what it's all about."
For a full-length feature on the band, check out "Sympathy For Good Charlotte."