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Ghost Canyon

Good Charlotte Good Charlotte
'Charlotte, Throw Your Damn Hands Up!'

Brothers, Joel and Benji Madden (Everly) went to their first concert - the Beastie Boys' Ill Communication Tour - and were so psyched by the show, they formed a band two weeks later with their high school buddies Paul and Aaron (who's no longer in the band.)

In 1998, Good Charlotte moved to Annapolis to get in on the booming music scene. The band worked low paying jobs to make rent while they played bars, clubs and parties. Guitarist Billy joined the Good Charlotte line-up and record labels started to take notice. Good Charlotte eventually signed with Epic.

With their their second CD, Young and the Hopeless attacking the charts as we speak, I sat down with the guys for what turned out to be quite a memorable experience!

Tell me more about your hit single, 'The Anthem' "It's about superficial people and the kind of people they date. 'The Anthem' is about who we are, the way we live and the things that we believe in."

How did all of you get together? Benji: "We were dancers," he laughs sarcastically. Joel: "He was a dancer. Er, we started out in high school. We started playing with Paul then Billy came a couple of years later. Then finally Chris." [By now, Chris is fast to sleep behind them!]

How would you describe your music? Benji: "Dancey!" Billy: "Fun!", he smiles. Paul: "Expressive!" Benji: "Punky!" Billy: "Eclectic!" Joel: "Self-exploring!" Paul: "Juicy!" Benji: "Care-free!" Paul: "Sugar-free!" Benji: "Imaginative!" Billy: "Possibly decadent!" Benji: "Triumphant, buoyant, flamboyant, and finally flaming hot!"

Is it true that the Beastie Boys kicked it off for you when you were kids? Benji: "Actually we never got into the show! Joel left the tickets at home so we stood outside and sang along to the music through the building," he laughs in all sincerity! Billy: "Yeah! Then we got one of those crappy T-shirts outside. The ones where you wash it once and the writing comes off!"

Now, rumor has it that you used to play baseball. Do you still play it now? Benji: "Nah! We used to play cricket. It's a big sport in America!"

What's the weirdest thing that's happened to you at a gig?! Benji: "Paul threw up on me once! Paul throws up a lot." Billy: "It's cool!" Benji: "Last month I met this girl at the show. I woke up after the show the next day to discover it was a guy! It was weird ... Now we're going out together!" All: [Humongous laughs]

What's the most outrageous thing that you've ever done. It can be on or off the stage? Joel: "Why don't you answer this one Benji. You're the joker." Benji: "I haven't done anything outrageous. We're actually a very tame band. We're quite boring really! Come on boys, is there anything outrageous that we've done," he asks the others in turn. Joel: "Benj put poo on a $20 bill and stuck it in an ATM machine. This guy then went to pick it up and he got poo all over his hand," he laughs!

Is it true that you were shampoo boys once upon a time? Benji: In a way." Joel: "I once worked at a hair salon where I shampooed ladies hair. Somebody read it and made us out as shampoo boys. I actually enjoyed it. It was one of my favourite jobs." Benji: "I was a whipping boy for a rich family," he sniggers.

What other types of music do you like? Benji: I bought three CD's yesterday. Sinead O'Connor, Evan Dando's new album and Cave In. I like 'em all!" Joel: "I like older stuff than that. I'm into the Cure and the Smiths. I also just bought a Dean Martin record." Billy: I just bought the new Linkin Park record. I think those guys are really, really good."

Interviewed By Nick Gurney For Exclusive Magazine

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