Good Charlotte might be touring overseas to support one album, The Chronicles of Life and Death, but they already have another album in the works, and they're writing songs for it out on the road. Singer Joel Madden says that this time around, he'd like the band to become the punk-rock Outkast.
"That's what I want," he said. "The one thing I really want to model myself after as an artist is Outkast, because they grow so much on each record. They always set themselves apart and do things so differently than any other hip-hop artist. I would love to be like them."
That doesn't mean Good Charlotte will be getting stanky. But Madden does want the band to evolve beyond traditional three-chord song structures, as he thinks they did on Chronicles (on which the group advanced even further, adding piano and strings on some tracks). Guitarist Billy Martin is bearing this in mind while writing the bulk of the new material. There are also a few collaborations with bassist Paul Thomas, and even Benji Madden has been banging around on an acoustic guitar in his hotel room, coming up with a couple of tunes on his own. At this rate, Joel estimates, they could have anywhere from a fourth to half of the album written by the time they're slated to go back in the studio in 2006. And this on-the-road songwriting is pretty casual, he says — they're hardly even trying.
"We haven't really full on said, 'OK, let's write a bunch of songs because we got to get ready,' " Martin said. "But ideas come, so we write. We kind of just got those needs to just want to write all the time."
Don't expect any sappy love songs about Hilary Duff, though. Joel says he was only joking when he said that one of his New Year's resolutions was to "get married, make a baby" (see "This I Promise You: Rock Star Resolutions '05"), and he certainly didn't have the blond actress on the brain, in case that's what people assumed (see "Good Charlotte Singer Heats Up Duff/ Lohan Beef").
"It's weird, because we're not going to deny being friends," he told MTV Asia recently. "And it's kind of hard because we don't want to not hang out because of the press. But I say something like that, and the press automatically take it and use it against me, and say things that damage our friendship even more. But I kind of feel that I won't be a very good friend if I deny it altogether and say that I don't know her and that we've only hung out once or twice. It's kind of a tough thing, but it's one of those things that come [with the territory]. You got to expect that they want something interesting to write about."
A girl like Hilary — that is, someone from another side of the music spectrum — wouldn't be totally out of bounds, though. "I've been around [punk] so much," he said, "that it's actually refreshing to hear something else!"