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Very different , they’re married must have kids , but they are still speaking to the moment with a new album titled generation are ex , we’re joined now by Joel and Benji Madden twin brothers that started the band together back in high school and they’re with us now from NPR West in Culver City , California. Joel Madden Benji Madden . Thank you so much for talking with us .
Thank you for having us you we are glad to be here. Thank you .
Right. Who wants to start should waste which will , which one of you is older and by how many minutes . So this is binge and I am older by 5 minutes . Oh , okay , so you’re the Big Brother . So although we start . Why did you take the first women . So let me start by asking you about the name of the album Generation are X , I’m told . At least I think I read that this actually started when you played at a memorial for a rapper little peep in a memorial concert for him is that right .
Yeah. Peep was was a fan of the band . We had gotten very friendly and we really appreciative of the new sound that he was pushing and just kind of overall . He was just genuinely kind of just a really sweet guy and his mother actually had reached out and asked if we could try to do something special for the memorial . So we got together and tried to think of an idea of something that would that would be special for for him and his family and his friends and his fans and we came up with the idea of covering his song awful things and it was a really special experience for us .
It was really heartbreaking. The whole experience and we started looking around it . A lot of young people and even just kind of where culture is gone , and all the things that we kind of , I think , as a society distract ourselves with or medicate ourselves with , whether it’s social media , whether it’s actual prescription drugs , whether it’s you know there’s all kinds of different ways for us to look in other directions . Other than inward to what we’re going through and what we’re dealing with and it sparked an entire conversation between me and Joel and and are banned in why are we here and what are we contributing and what can we do .
Perhaps it isn’t clear to people from what I just said that little people died from an overdose. Yes . Can I ask about the , how you approach this . I mean , and whoever wants it . Just tell me who wants to answer . Did you approach the saying I want to say something about this , or how did this , how did it come about .
Well , I think this is Joel it really started in a conversation with why where’s the pain and where does it come from and why are we medicating and outwardly and at first glance. Someone could say armed just having a good time . This is just , that’s my drug of choice , but really what I feel from my perspective is , they are suffering inside they are dealing with some pain that they’re not really aware of are addressing . And this is banjo , just to add to that I .
Think what we’ve talked about as a band was are we really honest and vulnerable with people because sometimes there can be hard to do when you’re stepping out and putting your your feelings and thoughts and experiences out there. Publicly , and when we went to make this record with , you know what , what’s the point for us to be here . If we’re not going to be as honest as we can . These are hard things to talk about , it’s hard to talk about childhood trauma . It’s hard to talk about depression . It’s hard to talk about anxiety and we thought I wonder if we just open up our subconscious and the things that we think about in hide from people every day and just let them come out in some of these lyrics you know no record where we make what kind of .
It will be me , well , well , let’s , let’s hear some of the new music. Let’s start with self-help .
It does sound like a very like a heartfelt letter that you could write to yourself. Right , absolutely , I was wondering if you were ever worried that .
The audience that you most want to speak to wouldn’t be interested in what you have to say anymore.
This is jaw. I do think that we have questions like where do we fit into music today and I think at some point we had to just accept that we don’t know and that our best foot forward is just to be honest and to make records that we like that . We’re proud of .
I also think we’ve had conversations where you know I can remember very clearly really tough mornings on the bus ride to school , we were just getting beat up by life in every direction at home at school and remembering those records that you put you know your headphones on you listen to that just gave you competence and gave you that strength to get through the day and go like I’m going to be somebody I mean to be something and some energy and we think about like even if there’s just like one kid out there who’s maybe in the same situation is listening to a record for us. Like when we’re in the studio . We have that conversation in that just makes it all feel worth it , no matter what happens with the record , it’s really kind of a really nice feeling .
I don’t want to gloss over the fact that the 2 of you have been through a lot , I mean to get where you are hearing your dad left when you were young and you kind of really.
Fighting the battle. And you’ve been very open about that and I know Benji you’ve been open about the fact that you had to struggle with it with alcohol . You know , earlier in your life and you conquered that and I wonder if you ever . Now we’re in a moment . You mentioned it’s not us little people , there’s x x x 10 yeon who was who was murdered . But that , do you guys kind of came through and they didn’t , and I wonder why you think it is that that you all survived circumstances that that frankly defeated other people .
I think about that all the time. I think about people who’s lives maybe hadn’t turned out as well as me in Joel’s lives and I just think it’s just pure luck and the grace of God , I also think we were lucky to have each other as brothers . We , we made a deal , when we were 16 that we were always going to stick together and never let anything come between us and we shook hands on it and we never looked back and I think there comes a crossroads in your life when you’re especially , I think as young men and young women who maybe don’t have the guidance of a mentor or a parent . You know , there are times when the only reason I made a good decision is cause I had my brother by my side and I wanted to be a better person and a better brother for him and make him proud and I just think that there’s a lot of these young people out here who don’t have , and I felt just I was lucky I was born with a built-in best friend and it’s really hard to do this life to be a human being alone .
It’s just important to remind each other about just that we’re all human and to have some compassion for each other and you know I don’t want to sound too like Zander anything but for me. That’s why it hit so hard when he passed away or when XXX passed away all these , these kids that you just ego , I wish I could have been a part of their life , to maybe have maybe even just influence and some positive way and so we do wonder if we matter anymore . I said it to my wife . The other day , and then we go you know . All we can do is just think about what we can put it into the world’s not really kind of what we can get out of it and the rest is just is that , that’s all the universe , you know .
That was Joel Mapp and Benji Madden of Good Charlotte talking to us about their latest album Generation are ex John Madden Benjamin. Thank you so much for joining us . We really appreciate it . Thanks for having us . Thanks for harvest for Sunday that’s All Things Considered from NPR News . My thanks to Melissa Block for hosting on Saturday . I’m Michel Martin . Thank you for listening . We hope you have a great week .
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