The D, G and A chords are really all you need - to start. A combination of the root, major 4th and 5th chords allows a guitarist to play most Blues songs and nearly every Rocker of merit. There's power is those chords. When Good Charlotte had their first rehearsal they were the only chords guitarist Benji Madden knew. After all, he'd only been playing a couple of weeks.
It took a life-altering event to prod Benji and his identical twin brother Joel down the Rock road - a Beastie Boys' concert. The "hey, we can do that" mentality ruled as the Waldorf, MD, natives, who'd relocated to Annapolis, developed their chops. Benji picked up the guitar learning those three magic chords (and more) and wrote songs while Joel worked on vocals. With high school buddies, drummer Aaron Escolopio and bassist Paul Thomas, Good Charlotte was rolling. Hearing Joel and Benji perform as a duo for a one-off show, guitarist Billy Martin was impressed and eventually signed on.
A demo of "The Little Things" landed at a Philadelphia modern Rock station where it beat out everything else on the playlist. That, and a hard-driving live reputation, got Good Charlotte signed by Epic with their self-titled debut arriving in '00. The Madden brothers became MTV VJ's and soon were featured on the network's late night show All Things Rock. Sophomore album, "Young & Hopeless" made its appearance in '02. Along the way, Aaron bailed but Good Charlotte kept at it spending a good chunk of the year on the Warped Tour.
With the addition of drummer Chris Wilson, Good Charlotte attempted to expand its boundaries with '04 release, "The Chronicles Of Life & Death."
Following the "The Chronicles" Wilson, who had joined in '02, left citing personal health reasons. Actually, it was a combination of Wilson's drug use and inability to tour that led to his departure. Benji was quoted in Kerrang! magazine saying that, for him, Chris leaving the band was the worst part of '05.
Dean Butterworth became the group's third drummer. But even that had a back story. Butterworth, who had backed Morrissey (that sounds fun), was initially a temporary replacement but after his work on "Good Morning Revival" he became a permanent member.
In March of '07, Good Charlotte finally issued "Good Morning Revival." The set was originally scheduled for a June '06 release but the date kept getting pushed back. In the meantime, the first single, "The River," featuring Avenged Sevenfold's lead singer, M. Shadows and guitarist Synyster Gates, was available for downloads.
Stating that the group's fifth full-length album "Cardiology" was so named because the lyrics were "all connected to the heart," Joel went on to add that the album sounded a lot like Blink-182 and that it "there's nothing dance-y on the record, though, at all, which is different from our last one ("Good Morning Revival").
Work on "Cardiology" began with producer Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, All-American Rejects) but those tracks were scraped, an album's worth, and the group started from scratch with Don Gilmore, who had produced both Good Charlotte's debut and "Good Morning Revival."
To promote "Cardiology" the group posted lead single "Like It's Her Birthday" on YouTube saying that if the track received over 100,000 views they would post another song. It did, so they did. The album's second single "Counting The Days" also landed on YouTube.
Joel and Benji, started the The Madden Brothers in '11 with a mixtape, done for fun. The following year, they worked with producer Pharrell Williams and though that project stalled the brothers subsequently released '14's "Greetings From California," featuring "We Are Done."
"Youth Authority" arrived two years later on Benji and Joel's own MDDN label. According to a band statement the album was written for "people who love music and are constantly motivated and trying to live a rad life."
2000 Good Charlotte
2002 The Young And The Hopeless
2004 The Chronicles of Life and Death
2007 Good Morning Revival
2016 Youth Authority
The Madden Brothers:
2014 Greetings From California
Good Charlotte's debut and the "Young And The Hopeless" are exciting speed Punk adventures with all the snotty exuberance that took Blink 182 to the top. "Young & Hopeless" is a great album from the hot guitar riff on opening track "New Beginning" to the title track and beyond. It's the reason Good Charlotte posters occupied a favored spot on fan's bedroom walls.