Do I really need to give an introduction for Good Charlotte? Don’t blame me for bringing them back up when you think you’d gone and forgotten about them. They have a new record coming out and will soon be touring again, becoming inescapable as they once were. You’ve been warned.
Backstage, I chatted with bassist Paul Thomas, who apparently enjoys a fair amount of marijuana and threatening to fight certain modern bands. Read on to find out who!
Racket Matt: Your last album didn’t do so well commercially. What went wrong?
Good Charlotte Paul: Oh, we were happy with it. Nothing really went wrong with it. That album took us around the world, places we never thought we’d never go, like South America, and Mexico, Singapore, and all kinds of Asian countries were into it. Over here, the album wasn’t that widely heard.
RM: So brown people loved it, got it. So why are you guys doing a club tour? You’ve done arenas, so are you just trying to get your name back out there again?
GCP: Yeah, we took a long break. The album doesn’t even come out ‘til March, so we had all this time. We got the idea from Rage Against the Machine, who did a club tour before The Battle of Los Angeles came out.
RM: True or false: fat chicks need lovin’ too.
GCP: Yeah man, everybody in this world needs lovin’, even chubbies. I like big girls.
RM: Why did you guys rock the arm socks? Were you just cold?
GCP: …arm socks?
RM: Yeah, like stockings for your arms. I’d swear I’d seen pictures of you guys in the elbow pantyhose.
GCP: I dunno. I guess [Benji] thought they looked cool. I don’t really remember him wearing those. I’m not the fashion guy. I don’t wear accessories too much. The other guys, you could ask that question. They like to get dolled up.
RM: Have you ever played cleavage basketball?
GCP: *laughs* YES.
RM: Now which crack are we talking about here, the T or the A?
GCP: Oh! Definitely have done the T moreso than the A, but I have done the A as well. I did it just the other night to [drummer] Dean, because he doesn’t wear underwear when he’s playing drums, and I threw a pick down the crack of his ass.
GCP: It was all sweaty and just stuck right above his crack. That was great!
RM: He drummed for Morrissey, so I won’t pick on him. Would you like to take this opportunity to start a rap-style beef within the rock world? Would you be willing to write a diss track about Nickelback?
GCP: Well, Nickelback is pretty fucking awful. I’ll agree with you there. Disturbed is pretty fuckin’ awful, too. Those guys, it’s insane when you see how they act backstage. They have pictures of themselves posted up everywhere that say “do not ask these guys for their passes, know their faces.”
RM: Okay, I’m guessing you’re not down with the sickness. Time for the age-old question: Olde English or Steel Reserve?
GCP: Well, um, shit. Back in the day, it’d be Olde English. Now, I’d have to go with a cold Steel Reserve.
GCP: I experienced a lot of bad times with OE, especially the OE Ice.
RM: Lies! There’s no such thing as a bad time on Olde English!
GCP: *looks nauseous* That OE Ice, man…
RM: I love the Olde English High Gravity Lager. You don’t even get drunk. You skip that part and go right to the hangover. Speaking of getting drunk with malt liquor, what fun things do you do when you get drunk alone? I usually shave my feet or fart on pictures of Julia Roberts.
GCP: Go bowling. I love getting hammered and going bowling. It’s so much fun, man. *laughs* Playing Call of Duty online. I don’t have to get drunk to do it, but I’ll get drunk and do it!
RM: How much stock do you own in Hot Topic?
GCP: I wish I actually owned some. We just make money on the shirts we sell to them.
RM: Are you going to buy Aleister Crowley’s castle?
GCP: *pause* Sorry, I don’t know who that is.
RM: He was a black magic dude from the turn of the century. Jimmy Page bought his castle, and even though I fuckin’ hate Led Zeppelin, I’ve always considered it the ultimate rock star move.
GCP: I’ll think about. I’ve always wanted a castle.
RM: And what better one to buy? Now let me ask you this, ‘cause the people need to know. Are star tattoos the gayest, most cliché, boring thing ever?
GCP: *pause* *sigh* I’m gonna say no, ‘cause I have some.
RM: Why? What’s the point of getting them? Tattoos are supposed to mean something, y’know? People get star tats when they really want a tattoo but they don’t know what of.
GCP: (while pulling up a pantleg to reveal a ring of stars around his calf) I got one for each family member. (pointing to the center star, which has a second, red outline) This one’s me right here.
RM: Okay, that’s a little different. At least you’re not some girl in community college getting a sunburst on her lower back.
GCP: By the way, mine is the only cool star tattoo.
RM: How come in the videos, you always look lost and confused? [Note to readers: yes, I did watch many Good Charlotte music videos as part of my research for this article. I think it was Ike Turner that said “I only do it because I love you.”]
GCP: *pause* Maybe because I smoke marijuana.
RM: How much do you smoke?
GCP: Um, like a champ?
GCP: Like B-Real style. How about this? We got two ounces for this tour.
RM: I talked to Hank Williams III the other day, and that guy GOES OFF! I honestly didn’t expect that from you guys.
GCP: I’m prepared. I brought a bong and stuff. We’re going to Canada after the Maryland show, but until then, we’re smoking out of apples.
GCP: It’s awesome! It’s awesome.
RM: I always just stick to the bowls. I never went for the weird shit like cardboard toilet paper rolls lined with aluminum foil.
GCP: When you have to go through airports and stuff, you can’t have that bowl. Trust me. Apple’s the best one. (Takes off hoodie to show off a tattoo on his right arm.) Here’s my MHP tattoo to show you how much of a head I am.
RM: *laughs uproariously* That is amazing.
GCP: *grinning* That’s me and [guitarist] Billy’s posse. My mom still is all “what is that?” “It’s a gang symbol, mom!”
RM: I wonder how many Juggalo moms ask the same question. Do you guys think you could make it any more obvious that your favorite movie is The Nightmare BeforeChristmas?
GCP: No. It’s Billy that makes it obvious, but he couldn’t be any more obvious about it. You go to his house, and there’s Nightmare Before Christmas stuff EVERYWHERE. And he’s got the tattoos.
RM: In most of your videos, I kept waiting for Jack Skellington to jump out with shants and a Level 29 shirt on. Why do you think concept records are making a comeback? Operas are fucking boring, rock or otherwise.
GCP: That’s a good question. I like ‘em, too, though. The Cursive one that just came out, Happy Hollow?
RM: Okay, I’ll give you that one. That was pretty good.
GCP: I love that album. I didn’t mind the Green Day one, but man that shit got played out fast.
RM: I know. You couldn’t turn on the TV or the radio without hearing about boulevards and the end of September.
GCP: I dunno. Maybe because it seems like you’re on a higher level of writing if you have a whole theme running through an album. It’s tough to do it, and maybe it’s why they’re not all that good.
RM: *laughs* Except of course Operation: Mindcrime. [Queensryche is a band heartily championed by Racket founder/editor-in-chief Jonathan Yost, a man of solid white trash upbringings.] I fucking hated Tommy.
GCP: I’m not a big fan of that, either.
RM: Waffles or pancakes, and what deep-seated psychological flaw do you think your choice reveals about you?
GCP: Waffles, ‘cause I’m a fatty.
RM: You can always put chocolate and whipped cream on pancakes!
GCP: *with a wicked, knowing gleam in his eyes* Yeah, but waffles got like little cubbyholes for all the syrup! I love chicken ‘n’ waffles.
RM: How does is feel knowing you brought eyeliner back into rock?
GCP: I didn’t do that, the other guys did that! I’m sure they feel good. They have to know that a lot of people in our genre started doing that after they did.
RM: Even Green Day’s doing that shit, and they never did that.
GCP: Yeah! Eyeliner’s really in right now.
RM: I can’t arse myself to do it. I can barely bother to shave in the morning before work.
GCP: There’s one day a year I wear make up, and it’s Halloween. I love dressing up for Halloween.
RM: What are you going as this year?
GCP: I was gonna take this year off. The first year ever in my life.
RM: Stop selling out the scene!
GCP: I probably will end up dressing up. I like to dress up as women.
RM: Just for Halloween, or in general?
GCP: Just for Halloween.
RM: Speaking of dudes looking like women, who would win in a fight, Good Charlotte or Hawthorne Heights?
RM: I mean, they have the one man advantage, but you’re bigger than their rhythm section combined.
GCP: I’ve never seen them in person, so I don’t know their sizes.
RM: Trust me, they’re tiny. Very frail.
GCP: We’re pretty scrappy.
RM: You don’t look it.
GCP: We’d stomp their fuckin’ asses, yeah.
(We high five at the idea of Hawthorne Heights suffering bodily harm.)
RM: Duane Peters once kicked me in the face. What’s the coolest thing that ever happened to you?
GCP: At a show?
RM: Yeah. I got knocked through the barrier by some flying xmoshxcorex dude right as he [Peters] was doing one of his weird I’m-high-on-speed jumps. I caught foot to the face. It was great.
GCP: I think it was a Goldfinger show here [at the 9:30 Club]. Me and all my friends got onstage and yelled into the mic and then jumped off. All of us.
RM: At once?
GCP: At different times.
RM: I didn’t know if you locked arms and did it all together.
RM: That would have been the best stage dive ever. Last question, and this is the one everyone’s dying to know. Does [singer] Joel ever make you smell his finger?
GCP: *laughs* No, but that would be really funny?
RM: All I know is that if I was dating like Hillary Duff or Scarlett Johansson, I’d be running around like a maniac, shoving my finger under people’s noses and yelling “shotgun!” I mean, if you gotta settle for sloppy finger-smelling seconds, you could do worse.
GCP: She’s [Duff] totally a nice girl, though. I might like her more than I like him.