Benji Madden on why he and his brother got the band back together. Pic: Supplied
Benji Madden on why he and his brother got the band back together. Pic: Supplied

Benji Madden loves Oz coffee

The first stop for Benji Madden when he lands in Australia with Good Charlotte next month?

A coffee shop.

Madden developed a serious love affair with local coffee when he joined his twin brother Joel as a judge on the Australian version of The Voice in 2015 and 2016.

"We were staying just outside of Bondi, we got to feel like part of the community," Benji Madden says.

"The one thing that nobody else in the world can touch is the coffee in Australia. I don't know what it is. In LA there's a few Australian coffee shops that have opened and now I go there. Coffee in Italy and some places in Europe is great, but there's just something about Australian coffee ..."

 

Good Charlotte are headed to Australia in March after a long break. Pic: Supplied
Good Charlotte are headed to Australia in March after a long break. Pic: Supplied

 

Coffee aside, there's been a strong link between the Madden brothers and Australia. In 2000 their debut single Little Things charted first in Australia, leading to a string of hits including Lifestyles Of the Rich and Famous, The Anthem, Girls & Boys, I Just Wanna Live, Keep Your Hands Off My Girl, Like It's Her Birthday and the No. 2 hit from 2007 Dance Floor Anthem (I Just Wanna Live).

After starting a hiatus in 2011, the brothers launched The Madden Brothers.

Australia was the market who fully embraced the side-project, with a No. 1 single in 2014 for We Are Done and a No. 1 album Greetings From California.

The Maddens reactivated Good Charlotte in 2015, with their comeback album Youth Authority a chart-topper in only one country - Australia.

Their Australian tour next month is their first since 2012, with Madden saying the time away from the band was healthy for all involved.

"Joel told me he was never going to do Good Charlotte again," Benji says. "Not in a negative way, he'd just moved on from it. He said the only way he could do another Good Charlotte record is if he really felt he had something to say that I can only say in Good Charlotte. The Madden Brothers record is so different to Good Charlotte.

"Good Charlotte for us comes from a place of youth for us, back when we were struggling and fighting for every inch, just trying to get by. That's kinda like making music from a different place. Joel felt it again, he felt there were songs he could only do with us, with the band.

"It's the best version of Good Charlotte we've ever been. It's almost like going back to our first couple of records. It's really inspired and really genuine. We don't tour as much as we used to, but when we're playing people can feel we genuinely want to be there. For fans, and for me, that's all you want from a band. You're not always looking for the perfect performance, you just want to know they really want to be there. That's definitely something I'll say about us right now. I love my band."

They're working on the next Good Charlotte record, which is "definitely" due this year and another Madden Brothers album is not out of the question.

The twins also now run their own management company, looking after fellow former Voice judge Jessie J as well as Australian pop/rock band Chase Atlantic - who'll join them on their Australian shows.

"They're blowing up in America, they're going to be hugely successful," Madden says.

"There's an interesting thing I've seen with Australian bands, when you put them side-by-side with bands from other parts of the world they're just more musical. They're just better. Australians have a high standard for your artists, you're tough on the artists in a way that really forces them to work hard. These guys are an example of that. Australian bands are so self-deprecating, then they go on stage and blow every other band off the stage."

Since Good Charlotte's reactivation the music industry has changed, with a reliance of streaming over sales.

 

Joel and Benji Madden during their stint on The Voice. Picture: Channel 9
Joel and Benji Madden during their stint on The Voice. Picture: Channel 9

 

Madden views streaming with both an artistic and business eye.

"The tools you have now are amazing. With Spotify you can see what songs of yours people are listening to, and in which cities. You can see little spikes in your streaming and work out where it's coming from and why. All of us who grew up in a certain era, you miss going to a record store. But there's so many amazing tools that let you really connect with your fans now, you don't need a middle man. Good Charlotte are completely independent now. I don't know if we could have done that as successfully ten years ago.

"All these tools allow you to plan your tours better, to get directly to the people who need to play for and touring business has been skyrocketing."

Likewise, Madden has seen younger fans discovering Good Charlotte's back catalogue.

"People can pull up your entire catalogue on their phone in a second. They might have heard about us through their older brother or sister. So we're finding a really interesting mix of brand new fans who'd never seen us before, who maybe hadn't even heard of us when we decided to take a break, and a bunch of people who have a lot of memories associated with our music. Some of the new songs go over just as big as some of the older songs with the younger fans, and the old songs it's a really good vibe. A lot of nostalgia, a lot of good memories, it's been really fulfilling for us over the last 18 months."

 

Cameron Diaz with husband Benji Madden at Sake in Double Bay. Pic: Dylan Robinson
Cameron Diaz with husband Benji Madden at Sake in Double Bay. Pic: Dylan Robinson

 

It's not just nostalgia, with Youth Authority duly represented in the set.

"It does feel really good when you play a new song and it's the loudest singalong of the night. It means just as much when we're playing the old songs and people are singing along to those to. I try not to fight it, it's everyone else's experience to have really. We can't try and control it. As an artist you're always going to be really into your new record though."

Madden, 38, has been married to Cameron Diaz for two years. The pair deliberately avoid media attention.

"It's a personal choice but it also comes second nature to us. We're just happy. The less outside elements or influence that there is the better for anyone. That's our vibe. But as a musician especially I just feel like your fans are really just there for the music. It's really good to focus on that. Music fans are genuinely there for the music."

Good Charlotte, Download Festival, Melbourne Showgrounds March 24, Hordern Pavilion Sydney March 26, Riverstage Brisbane March 28.


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