Back In Action: Benji Madden, Good Charlotte On ‘Youth Authority’ And Regaining Control

Good Charlotte, the band that has not released an album since 2010’s flop Cardiology, is back in action! And if frontman Benji Madden’s recent conversation with Daily Star Online is to be believed, the band, back in the music biz after taking a long but much-needed hiatus, is revitalized and ready to make music for the love of the artform rather than as a means to obtain a paycheck.

“We couldn’t really lose on this record because we just wanted to make something we love and would love to share with people no matter what the outcome. Regardless of how it’s received or how much it sells, you kind of can’t lose,” Madden said in his correspondence, stating that he and the rest of the band finally felt ready to resume the legacy they began back in Good Charlotte’s glory days.

Madden was referring, of course, to the era that began in 2002 with Good Charlotte’s album The Young and The Hopeless, which put them in the action-packed punk-pop spotlight. The band kept going strong with 2004’s The Chronicles of Life and Death and even captured a good amount of success with 2007’s Good Morning Revival. Good Charlotte’s popularity faltered after that, though, and their 2010 effort was a bust.

Looking back, Benji says that the band members had just been too young to handle the immense amount of success with which they were met, and it actually got to the point where they felt like the band became its own entity that they could not control.

“You’re just these kids from a small town, you get a record deal and everything just goes so fast. In the span of five albums… in a way, the band that you started in your bedroom, or your basement, or your garage, kind of becomes not your band anymore. It becomes something bigger than you could have known. No-one really prepares you.”

The decision to take a few years to step back, gather themselves, and mature a bit was one that Madden and the other band members made unanimously.

“We were kids that didn’t have any education,” Benji explained. “None of our parents were in the music business or even college graduates. We didn’t have someone guiding us. We were just uneducated kids from the middle of nowhere that suddenly had a band going around the world. You just want to make everyone happy, but that was why we needed to step away.”

Good Charlotte’s members may have been young and without guidance, but at least they were smart enough to recognize it when the entity they had created was growing too rapidly for them to keep a handle on.

Now that they’ve stepped back from the action for over half a decade, though, they have given themselves time to grow up while the band’s status has shrunk. Madden says that was precisely the idea of the hiatus.

Benji and the other members of Good Charlotte are already loving being back in action, and Madden says they are amazed at how thoroughly their popularity has persisted. The band is especially surprised that many of their fans are teenagers who must have discovered Good Charlotte during their hiatus.

“We’ve been blown away by the amount of shows we’ve done where 90% are, like, kids. We thought it would be people our age. Since they’ve been going to shows, we haven’t been playing. So by the time we stopped playing shows, they were 10, 11, and now they’re 16,” Madden said.

He continued that music streaming services are largely to thank for the influx of new fans, as it makes it easy to discover bands even when they are not coming out with new content.

“It’s been a really interesting experience to go away during the boom of Spotify and to come back, and they know every word to every song off the old records.”

Of course, many of the fans that got in on the Good Charlotte action back in the “good old days” are back as well.

Benji Madden has kept himself headline-relevant during the past few years because of his marriage to Cameron Diaz, but he is now back in action to capture the spotlight by virtue of his own work, and so is his old crew… and it sounds like they’re more than ready.

Keep an eye out for Good Charlotte’s new album, Youth Authority, which drops on July 15.

[Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images]