The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - NEALA JOHN­SON

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.

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