Benji Madden: Bill Clinton Was the 'Grunge President'

Stevie Nicks performs at private Clinton Foundation gala

October 17, 2011 6:15 PM ET
clinton foundation stevie nicks gala
Stevie Nicks arrives at The Clinton Foundation's "A Decade Of Difference" Gala at The Hollywood Palladium.
Michael Buckner/Getty Images

The night before Bono and the Edge, Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder and more rocked the Hollywood Bowl, an invite-only affair honoring President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation was held at the Hollywood Palladium featuring a performance by Stevie Nicks.

"When you’re President of the United States for eight years and then you walk away from that you can go, 'Major vacation, here I come,'" Nicks told Rolling Stone before she took the stage. "Or you can say, 'I'm going to take all that corporate knowledge and political knowledge and I’m going to make a foundation and really help people and I happen to really love rock & roll, so I’m going to contact people and I’m going to gonna bring them in.' All of the musicians have platforms and can help him, and we’re all very willing to help him."

Benji and Joel Madden said they were nostalgic for Clinton's presidency. "I think we all look back fondly on his presidency because it was a golden era for us, especially for our generation," Joel said. "I think he was a great president and obviously he’s continued to do really great work."

"I like to think back to the music that was going on during his presidency. It’s awesome," Benji said. "He's the grunge president."

Actor Zach Braff concurred. "He was the first president to introduce cool music. Remember when he was campaigning and it was like 'Don’t Stop'?" Braff says. "He was the first president that really used music to appeal to the voters in a cool way."

As obvious as Clinton's charisma and appeal remain 11 years after his presidency, this weekend was about acknolwedging all of his philanthropic work. "I really admire what he’s doing post-White House," Braff said. "He’s just someone for everyone to look up to."

Former world champion boxer and Dancing With The Stars contestant Sugar Ray Leonard says Clinton's accomplishments are the mark of someone who's made a tremendous difference. "Whenever I think of a person I think of their impact, and President Clinton’s had impact on peoples’ lives for so long," Leonard said. "And he continues to do that time and time again. There is no one word to define who he is or what he’s done. He’s just a special man."

Lady Gaga, Bono Rock for Clinton Foundation

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