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Good Charlotte
This Maryland-based band took their name from a children's book and played their first gig in a neighbour's basement for an audience of 20. Now, nine years on, the boys have graduated to playing arenas and have put out two hit records. As they release their latest album, The Chronicles Of Life And Death, The Record brings you an exclusive interview with Good Charlotte guitarist Billy Martin.

TR: You played at MTV Asia Aid in Thailand Ė have you been to Asia before?
Billy: Itís our first time in Asia and weíre just happy we could come and do something to benefit everything thatís happened there. Of course weíve been watching it on the news and itís devastating. We just wanted to come there, play something for the kids and hope some good comes out of the situation.

TR: Your new album, The Chronicles Of Life and Death, comes in two versions Ė the Life Art and Death Art versions. Tell us about it.
Billy: A lot of people have seen the really happy, bubble-gummy side of Good Charlotte and as much as we love songs which you can sing along to, I guess The Chronicles of Life and Death is just showing two sides of the band. A lot of my favourite bands have put special editions out, and I love collecting stuff like that. It seemed like this album just lent itself to an idea like that. We kind of had the idea even before we started recording Ė to do two CDs and everything. So itís just something to give to the fans.

TR: Hold On (a song about not committing suicide) from your last album became really important for you in terms of reactions from listeners. Which is that kind of song on this new album?
Billy: Weíve only put out two singles yet but there is a song called S.O.S which is sort of a prequel to Hold On. Itís about the same kind of thing and thereís a song called We Believe which addresses a lot of things that are going on right now. Itís our view on social consciousness and just having some kind of unanimity in the world and helping each other out so I think that one could come out to be a song with a similar sort of message. Iím not really into politics, none of us are really, and people try to ask us all the time ĎWho are you going to vote for?í etc. I just really care about taking care of each other and making a positive difference in the world.

TR: When you started out you hadnít played much music Ė what was the game plan to getting signed?
Billy: We pretty much just got our guitars and started a band right away back then. It was just a matter of working really hard and playing your instruments every single day. When youíre a young kid you donít know whatís good and whatís bad, all you know is you love music and itís fun. Thatís how we felt and we just wanted to work really hard at it no matter what.

TR: Any surprises once you actually did enter the music business?
Billy: I guess you just have a different perception and you think as soon as you get a record deal, everything is perfect and you donít have to work anymore. Thatís what you think when youíre a kid but when you actually get into the business, get a record deal, start touring and making records you realise that with every record you make youíre starting over and you have to work just as hard all the time. So we definitely learned some good work ethics.

TR: In your biography you mention how great your fans have been Ė tell us some memorable fan stories.
Billy: For us really, when we first started out on our first record, no one played us on the TV, no one played us on the radio, no magazines wanted to write about us and it was pretty much just all these kids coming to our shows all the time and we developed this huge fan base and spent time signing autographs after all the shows. And then when our second record came out, all the kids weíd met on the first tour went out and bought it and really just caused a lot of people to pay attention to us. So really if it wasnít for all the loyal fans we have, we really wouldnít have anything right now. Thatís a pretty good fan story right there!

You can read the rest of our exclusive with Good Charlotte in the February 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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