After 16 years and five albums, Good Charlotte’s Benji and Joel Madden are pausing to record under the name the Madden Brothers. “There’s a honesty to the name that allows us to say things and do things and experiment with things,” Joel Madden tells Rolling Stone.
The album, which Joel says will hopefully be out by this summer, is being executive produced by Pharrell. “The inception of the project was me and Joel and Pharrell in a room just talking music and music now, where it’s been, where we’ve all been,” Benji says. “And then we wrote one song together.”
The seeds were planted even eariler than that, though, with the brothers’ recent mixtape, Before The Fame: The Madden Brothers, which features, among others, Wiz Khalifa, Kreyashawn and Machine Gun Kelly. “It’s been a cool break from the norm for us and the Madden Brothers record is quite different from the mixtape in a lot of ways, and similar in other ways,” Joel says. “It’s definitely left some influences on our style.”
But he clarifies: “It doesn’t mean we’re starting a career in hip-hop, by any means. We’ve always been fans and hung around in studios in the hip-hop world as guys who love it.”
The Madden Brothers’ record blends the pair’s rock influences with Pharrell’s sound. “Not only has he co-written a bunch of the songs, but there are also some jazz chords – that little Pharrell twist,” Benji says. “But because it’s a rock-based record it’s my belief that sonically we need to do a lot of the recording with guys that have been recording guitars and drums and what have you for their whole life.”
So to find the right mix of styles they wanted, the pair went to Texas to record four songs with the Butthole Surfers’ Paul Leary producing. “We like his work and he’s an awesome guy,” says Joel.
Good Charlotte fans may be in for a shock, though. “It is a completely different project – it sounds nothing like Good Charlotte other than that you’ll recognize our voices,” Benji says. “But there are a lot of acoustic guitars and we’re working with a whole different set of people. I’m definitely excited for people to hear [the new music]. It’s some of my favorite songs we’ve written so far.”
Still, they assure us this is just a temporary break from Good Charlotte, one he hopes fans will be as psyched for as they are. “We love our fans, we love the things Good Charlotte has afforded us to do and continues to afford us to do,” Joel says. “So we don’t want to alienate anyone that likes our band – we want them to enjoy this in a different way.”