It has been over twenty years since brothers Joel and Benji Madden formed the Maryland band Good Charlotte. In 2000, the group, which also includes guitarist Billy Martin, bassist Paul Thomas and drummer Dean Butterworth, released its major label debut, which yielded the hits “Little Things,” “The Motivation Proclamation” and “Festival Song.” 2002’s The Young & The Hopeless pumped out more hits, including “The Anthem,” “Lifestyles Of The Rich & Famous” and “Girls & Boys.” More hit singles would follow from 2004’s The Chronicles Of Life & Death, 2007’s Good Morning Revival, 2010’s Cardiology and 2016’s Youth Authority.
Fast forwarding to 2018, Good Charlotte released its seventh studio album last month, on September 14th. Put out through MDDN, a company started by the Maddens, and BMG, Generation Rx was produced by Zakk Cervini and Benji Madden. Last month, Good Charlotte performed Generation Rx single “Prayers” on The Late Show with James Corden, which led to a very creative collaboration with Dr. Phil. Touring in support of Generation Rx kicks off on October 12th in Mexico City, and is scheduled to run through November 24th in Las Vegas. Sleeping With Sirens, Knuckle Puck and The Dose will act as support.
I had the pleasure of doing a Q&A with Good Charlotte guitarist Billy Martin about Generation Rx and more. For tour dates and other band info, click on over to www.goodcharlotte.com.
Check out “Prayers” from the new album Generation Rx.
Generation Rx is your new album. How long did you spend writing it?
Billy Martin: We probably spent a few months working on the album. We are in a nice position where the band has a studio attached to the MDDN office, Benji and Joel’s management company. So we can usually work on music at our own pace versus renting out a space and trying to work as fast as possible.
Was any of the album written in the studio?
Martin: All of the album was done in the studio. We used to tour so often that a large portion of the albums would be written on the road. Nowadays, we have slowed down our touring a little bit and take enough of a break to work on the whole album off the road.
Will you be playing a lot of Generation Rx on your upcoming tour?
Martin: I really hope so! We love playing new songs, but it’s always the classic songs that have the biggest impact at the shows. So, I’d say we will likely do three or four new songs mixed with a “best of” from all our previous albums.
Do you have a favorite song on Generation Rx?
Martin: I really love “Shadowboxer” and “Leech.” Both songs hit really hard and I love the way they came out!
What do you remember about the first gig you ever played in New York City? Was it opening for Lit and 22 Jacks at Irving Plaza? If so, I was there. (laughs)
Martin: What a great show to be at! We consider that show to be THE ONE! That was the show when Good Charlotte was starting to build a buzz and a bunch of labels came out to see us and we ended up signing our first record deal as a result of that show. We had played in New York a few times before that, but that show was very important to us!
I remember that Good Charlotte had a record label called DC Flag a decade or so ago. Do you still have an interest in developing new talent?
Martin: Benji and Joel have a management company called MDDN. They manage a bunch of great artists, Architects, Sleeping With Sirens, Chase Atlantic, Waterparks and more, and the roster is getting bigger and bigger. I’m very proud of them, they both have a very smart outlook on the music industry and bring a unique vantage point to managing bands.
Having been on the cover of Rolling Stone so early into your career, on virtually every major TV show, and played arenas everywhere, is there anything you’re still hoping to accomplish as a musician?
Martin: I’m very grateful for all the accomplishments we’ve done. I’d say longevity is something we are always striving for. It’s one thing to have a hit or to be popular in music, but being able to do it for a long time is really hard these days. I’m really proud that we are able to continue to do it at the level we get to do it.
How about some classic Good Charlotte? Let’s throw you back to the video for “The Anthem.”
Do you have any projects going on outside of Good Charlotte? Any chance of a Billy Martin solo album?
Martin: I’m really into producing and making beats. I love the current hip-hop scene and like working in genres outside of what Good Charlotte does. I produced for Lil Xan’s last project and have a few more songs coming out with other artists soon!
When not busy with music, how do you like to spend your free time?
Martin: Aside from music I also work as a freelance illustrator. I draw for Marvel, Nickelodeon, Disney and other comic publishers. I have a wife and two sons, and the kids keep my free time nice and busy! We like basketball, video games and travel a lot together.
How often do you experience name confusion and/or references with regards to former New York Yankees manager Billy Martin?
Martin: My whole life! (laughs) Mostly older people who were into baseball when he was the manager, they always say something!
Finally, Billy, any last words for the kids?
Martin: As always, thanks! We couldn’t do this without the fans who support us. I’m looking forward to getting on the road and playing some new songs for them!
Check out the video for “Shadowboxer,” one of the singles from Generation Rx.