hometown: Waldorf, Maryland
full names: Benjamin Levi Madden / Joel Rueben Madden
Benji and Joel's original last name was Combs, but in honor of their mother and because of their bad relationship with their father, they legally changed their last name to Madden (their mother's maiden name).
Identical twins Benji(guitarist/singer) and Joel(lead singer) Madden were born March 11th, 1979. The two grew up with their mother, father, older brother Josh, and younger sister Sarah.
The twins (who are Christian) grew up in a strict house hold. Their brother had introduced them to rock music, but in the beginning, their mother was very strict about 'punk' music and had restricted her children to Christian music. Once, after finding a poster of a punk band on their bedroom wall, Benji and Joel's mom quicky tore it down.
But that didn't stop them...
At the age of 16, their father walked out on Christmas eve, leaving the family deep in financial problems and homeless for a while. The family struggled with money and housing for quite a while. Their anger against their father inspired and encouraged the twins to start writing songs and making music. Benji learned guitar, and Joel went into vocals.
After graduating from highschool, their mother presented two plane tickets to California to them as gifts. The two then set off to pursue their goals. Pretty soon, the twins were getting recognized and got
friends Paul Thomas(bassist) and Billy Martin(guitarist) to join in.
Once the band was complete, the foursome took the name 'Good Charlotte' from a children's book.
Soon after, Good Charlotte was signed and they recorded the epic and last year recorded their second cd; the young and the hopeless. They have written songs about suicide('hold on'), being yourself and not giving a shit about what others say('the anthem'), relationships('boys and girls', 'my bloody valentine', and 'say anything'), and even one about Benji's dog (cashdogg) "wondering". They've created these songs with so much talent while adding a little humor into them and their music videos.
'so it's 2 am july 27 2002 and we're driving thru the middle of nowhere on our way to a show in chicago. i haven't showered in a week, i'm running on no sleep, i miss cashdogg and some kid at the show today asked me "why i even call myself punk". these may sound like complaints but actually i'm really happy. i am listening to this record, yea I'll admit it I listen to our records and i am thinking how crazy all this is. 3 years ago i was stockin shelves at target living on ramen noodles and crashing at Billy's house. now i'm on tour. 4 kids from nowhere. we made another record and i feel just as excited as i did the first time. i say this all the time, but i mean it, if this all stopped yesterday i would still feel like the luckiest guy alive. i remember going into my room after school writing letters to record labels saying "you can sign us now for cheaper" and sending out demos. i laugh about it now but back then i was so serious. you know we dreamed about this all day every day and i gotta say it feels just like we thought it would.
our goals may have changed. i'll admit, it's not about being famous or making millions of dollar anymore. yeah, i used to day dream about that, being broke gets old quick but now i have sorta seen how it all works and i don't want to be the biggest band in the world i want to make music with paul and billy and joel. that's all. i want to tour. i want to be good to my friends. i want to take care of my family. i want to meet kids at shows. that's real to me.
i see some bands and i get frustrated for them. it's easy to get lost in the whirlwind of all of this but i realize we all have to learn on out own, we are still learning. we have made our share of mistakes. we have done some cheesy stuff. but it's good to look back and laugh at how young we were. i see a lot of bands worrying about credibility and all of that and i guess i have realized it only comes with time if we are still here in ten years maybe we will be credible. til then we just gotta do what we want to do, make music. tour. provide for our families. you know i used to fist fight every guy i cam across that told me i wasn't punk. lars asked me one night "are you gonna fight the world?' he was right, i was pretty stupid. it made me realize we are what we are and no one can change that. i guess we have done a lot of growing up since the last record. we started this when we were 16. its the only thing i ever had. its probably the only thing i ever will have.. i just feel lucky. we are four kids in a rock band from waldorf. we're no better than any other band out ther and we know it. so thanx for getting our record and being part of this. thanx for giving us a chance to do what we love. thanx for making this real.
see ya at the show
the young and the hopeless'
yOU Would think the same
They also withheld money from Good Charlotte's ex-drummer, Chris Wilson, and still haven't given him back his stuff.