THE MADDEN BROTHERS GET BACK TO THEIR ROOTS TO INTRODUCE THEIR NEW SOUND TO THE COAST
Soul. The Beach Boys. The ’60s. Hair, the musical. Electro pop. Americana. The ’80s. ELO. AM radio. Hotel California.
Rarely did such words come to mind when Good Charlotte were making pop-
punk kids pogo to Lifestyles
Of the Rich and Famous. But after a three-year rebuilding project, in which Joel and Benji Madden re-emerged as The Madden Brothers, these are the words that fit with the new outfit’s first album, Greetings From California.
“We started Good Charlotte when we were 1516. Then we grew up in front of the world,” says Joel.
“Then one day you wake up in your 30s … I was 31 when me and Benji were like, ‘Hey, have we ever thought about doing anything different? Or is this, like, it?’ We’re adventurous people, we’re creative, we have an appetite. So we had to ask ourselves, is there more?”
Good Charlotte went
into hiatus in late 2011 — “No bad blood”, says Joel. We’d been on this Good Charlotte train non-stop.”
So the brothers started talking about The Madden Brothers – they’d played acoustic gigs under that name and thought maybe it could house some new direction.
The result is Greetings
From California, an oldschool listening experience where Side A houses the poptastic, soulful stuff – including first single We Are
Done – while side B has a more ’70s vibe, closing with
Empty Spirits, which namedrops Jeff Buckley’s Lilac
Wine and has harmonies to tear your heart out.
“We’ve always had this real resistance to being put in a box,” says Benji. “Even if you consider the way we look to the way we sound ... but we’ve always felt like, just because I look a certain way and have certain friends, who are you to tell me I can’t play this kind of music?”
Could Greetings From California have been made by Good Charlotte? Or was that band the box the Maddens were locked in.
“That’s a good question,” replies Joel, “because I don’t know if it could or not.”
Greetings started to take shape in 2012 when the boys hung out in Pharrell Williams’ Miami studio. Yet, far from being a bunch of co-opted beats, its roots can be found further back, in the record collection of the Maddens’ parents.
“We lived in a religious house. Yet for some reason my mum and dad thought it was OK to play us this old rock and roll,” Joel recalls. “Like, that was OK but modern music wasn’t. Our dad would play The Animals, The Zombies, The Beatles, The Doors and The Beach Boys … Those records definitely made it into our musical DNA.”
The Madden Brothers, Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, Sunday.