Benji Madden has a new extensive interview in Newsweek for the 20th anniversary of his band, Good Charlotte (with his twin brother, Joel). Good Charlotte returned from a multi-year hiatus to release a new album last week. I’m not too familiar with Benji and apart from the fact that he seems to be genuinely in love with and supportive of his wife, Cameron Diaz, I don’t have a strong opinion about him. A quick glance at our archives reminds me that he’s dated several famous women including Paris Hilton and Holly Madison and apart from hearing about his other occasional hookups, I haven’t heard a bad word about him in the 10 years I’ve run this site. No scandals, no paparazzi beat-downs, no DUIs. That’s really saying something. So he seems like a serial monogamist and a standup guy. He’s also very supportive of Cameron, and they’ve each gushed about each other on their social media and to the press. That’s all background to this interview, which just impressed me with how wise and thoughtful he sounds. I mean I don’t agree with him about Cameron Diaz, but he comes across extremely well.
On how the music industry can be hard on artists
My brother and I feel blessed to have survived and still have loving, connected relationships with each other, with our wives, with our family. We feel like: “Hey, there are a lot of artists who might be able to use our experiences.” We’ve been able to withstand a lot of things in the industry because we had each other. We feel protective of other artists.
This is not a business that is set up in favor of artists. It’s important for artists to value themselves—whatever that means. Everyone’s going to take that in a different way. If you don’t value yourself, you will be bought and sold.
On the public’s obsession with celebrity
I think it’s a very unhealthy trend that will eventually be broken when people realize how hollow it is for our minds, it’s very cancerous…it’s like fast food. Fast food companies are trending down, lots of places are going out of business. People figured out: “This is killing us, it’s f-king terrible.” The celebrity obsession is doing the same thing for our minds—it’s very hollow and I think that trend is going to break soon enough.
On how Cameron uses her platform for good
I’m extremely proud of what she uses her platform for. She just released The Longevity Book, and before that she had The Body Book [a lifestyle guide to diet and health], and she spent thousands of dollars doing all the research, to get information to share with women who don’t necessarily have the resources to get that information. She’s a modern day feminist—she wants to change the conversation that’s being had about women and ageing. With The Body Book, she wanted to share all this information she has gathered over the years with women so they can live happy, pain-free lives.
I’m proud of her because of what a light she is in a world where it would be so much easier to use that stage to promote products. But she’s using that platform she has to share positivity. It’s been one of the most inspirational things in my life watching a woman be so courageous…she’s got so much integrity. I’m a lucky guy that I get to experience that.
He talks a lot about the industry and about how music gets made and artists are managed, and I didn’t excerpt that as it’s not relevant but it’s worth a read. Benji wants to empower young artists to do it on their own and not get chewed up by the industry, which can be brutal. Getting back to Benji’s thoughts on Cameron, she tried. I covered a lot of the press she did for The Longevity Book and she made some misinformed statements about women and aging, but she tried and she meant well. She’s not an authority on health or aging but she used her platform to try to be. It’s true that she’s not just shilling products, and that’s something.
Also, of course I disagree with Benji’s opinion that celebrity obsession is terrible for us. Using his same fast food analogy, you can go to McDonalds and get something to eat once in a while, you just balance your calories and get your nutrients from other meals. Just because you like to follow celebrity news doesn’t mean you’re not informed about more serious events or that you don’t care. Sometimes we need a diversion.
Here’s a video that Cameron shared of Benji. She left this gushing caption about how proud she is of him, which seems to be mutual.
One of my favorite things about being married, is how much pride I take in my husband @benjaminmadden… He makes me proud everyday.. One day it might be how generous and giving, another how gentle and thoughtful. Or when he is fiercely protective of the people he loves and cares about… And everyday single day I am so incredibly proud of his integrity as a human being.. But TODAY what I'm most proud of is his talent… his gift…. Today his band @goodcharlotteband released their first album in 6 years #YouthAuthority .. What makes me even more proud is that he has released it on his own independent label MDDN… And it is so damn GOOOOOOOOD… Its so full of love and hope and truth… about forging and holding onto love… I wish that everyone could write music to express their pain.. their fears… their hopes and dreams. Baby you amaze me… CONGRATS!! @goodcharloteband @mddnco #youthauthority #proud http://apple.co/YouthAuthority