Just so you know, reports of Good Charlotte going the way of Tiffany or T’Pau are greatly exaggerated.
Earlier this month, GC’s Benji Madden told MTV News that he was drawing a lot of inspiration for the band’s new album from the dregs of 1980s pop, a comment that raised more than a few eyebrows amongst Good Charlotte’s fans (see “Good Charlotte Bring ’80s Vibe To New LP; Hope To Work With Justin, Nine Inch Nails” ).
Now, Benji’s brother Joel is trying to set the record straight.
“I think people misunderstood. What Benji was talking about was the production stuff we did with Hilary [Duff],” Madden said. “We were thinking about what we were writing for her. We envisioned a really cool, ’80s-girl-pop thing. And I think people kind of misunderstood that as us saying, ’The new Good Charlotte album is going to be totally ’80s.’ ”
The Madden brothers — working under the name Dead Executives — did produce three new songs on Duff’s Most Wanted album (see “Cheaper By The Duo? Hilary Duff Teams Up With Madden Brothers For New LP” ), and while they did lend a bit of ’80s-pop sheen to the project, Joel has decidedly different plans for Good Charlotte’s new album.
“I’ve been going back to a lot of things I used to love, like Oasis, the Police and the Clash. To me, the Police and the Clash were pretty fearless about being melodic. They had these great melodies and they didn’t apologize for them. And they wrote some of the greatest songs of all time,” he said. “So that’s what we’re trying to do. I mean, our new stuff is really different. It’s not artsy or weird — it’s melodic and poppy, but it’s really Good Charlotte. There’s definitely a lot of keyboards all over the record. [Guitarist] Billy [Martin] has been playing a lot of keyboards.”
Madden said that Good Charlotte have “about a dozen” new songs written, and that they plan on starting pre-production on the new album in November, after they wrap the year-plus world tour in support of 2004’s The Chronicles of Life and Death.
“We’re writing songs all the time. We’re always working, we’re always touring, because it’s our work ethic. It’s just in our mindset. Like, all our families worked, so it’s work to us,” Madden said. “We just punch the time clock and get to work. And we’re starting to feel like it’s time to get off the road. We did the whole world two or three times on this last tour, and we’re ready to get back and make a new record.”
Good Charlotte will once again work with producer Eric Valentine (who helmed the sessions for both Chronicles and 2002’s breakout Young and the Hopeless), but for the first time, it won’t be Valentine’s project alone. Madden’s got big plans for the new album, including reaching out to some fairly famous friends for production help.
“We want to see about working with different people on this album, so we’re going to put calls out to Dave Grohl and Trent Reznor and see if they want to get involved. And we’re going to open the door to a whole bunch of people and see what they bring to the album,” he said. “It’s kind of a new way of doing things for Good Charlotte. I mean, up to this point, me and Benj had written everything. On the new album, it’ll be more collaborative. Billy has a studio, [bassist] Paul Thomas has a studio, so we’ve basically been going to each other’s houses and working on stuff.”
In addition to Martin and Thomas, Madden said that new drummer Dean Butterworth, brought on after in May when longtime drummer Chris Wilson abruptly left the band (see “Good Charlotte Drummer Leaves Band Over ’Health Problems’ “ ), will also be contributing to the album as a full-fledged member. And what about any other collaborations? Perhaps with somewhat higher-profile stars? Like, say, Joel’s girlfriend Duff — any chance of that happening?
“We haven’t even thought about that. Who knows? I’ve been thinking about that Postal Service album — the way that chick sings on there? I’d love to do something like that. If any girl will sing on our record, it’ll be Hilary,” Madden laughed. “I mean, Hilary’s my favorite female singer. I love her voice. And I think she’s the greatest singer today. But, of course, I’m a bit biased on that one.”