- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 1, 2002

Good Charlotte is back. The guys from Waldorf, Md., who climbed to MTV success two years ago with their single "The Little Things" and have been teen icons ever since will release their sophomore album, "The Young and the Hopeless," today.
Local fans who pick up a copy of the new album at Tower Records in Rockville (1601 Rockville Pike) today will receive a ticket to a private Good Charlotte show tonight at the 9:30 Club while the passes last.
"A lot of things have changed," lead singer Joel says on the phone from New York. "We're busier than we've been in our whole lives. We work harder, but it does pay off, so that's cool."
It's funny he should mention how things have changed, as the call takes place after a taping for the group's MTV show, "All Things Rock," which Joel hosts with Benji, his twin brother and a guitarist with the band.
"It's a lot of work, but it is a lot of fun because we've never really done TV before," Joel says. "It's been a really good experience. We play a lot of mainstream rock videos, but we also get to play a lot of stuff that you don't see all the time, like Glassjaw and New Found Glory."
The show isn't the only place where the guys are popping up on MTV. Their video for "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" ended last week at No. 4 on the TRL (Total Request Live) countdown, where it has been a steady presence for a few weeks.
The band's leap to fame has become the stuff of local legend. The twins, now 23, decided after catching their first D.C. show the Beastie Boys what they wanted to do in life. They moved to Annapolis in 1998 and added friends Billy (guitar), Paul (bass) and Aaron (drums). Aaron left the band recently, and a series of drummers have been filling in on tour.
The first self-titled debut came in 2000, propelled to success by the catchy single "The Little Things" and filled with rough tales of growing up.
When the twins were 16, their father left the family on Christmas Eve, and while Benji and Joel were legally changing their last names to their mother's maiden name, they decided to stop using their father's last name. The rest of the band members followed suit and shed their last names to show support for the twins, a choice that continues today.
The new album continues to explore those growing-up issues Benji has described a song called "Emotionless" as a way to forgive their father and move on from the past.
"We've grown, and I think you can hear the growth on the record," Joel says. "I'd say everything's kind of continued to evolve."
Their newfound celebrity also colors the album, especially on the first single, "Lifestyles." For example: "No one in this industry understands the life I lead/when I sing about the past it's not a gimmick, not an act."
"It's more pages from our diary," he says. "There's a lot of songs dealing with our fans, the good and the bad. It's about dealing with being around famous people and dealing with critics."
Some of the band's strongest support comes from teen girls (the band mates have been profiled in Teen People), an ironic turn for guys who weren't the most popular ones in school.
"We laugh at it," Joel says. "We love anyone who takes an interest in our band. It's always a surprise for us, with something like that."
Though working with a sibling could spell trouble for any band (just look at Oasis), Joel says he loves working with his twin.
"I think it's been awesome," he says. "We're best friends, and we have our fights, but they're over little things. We really enjoy hanging out together."
The two still call Maryland home but haven't been back for very long in the past two years because of their constant tour schedule. Good Charlotte continues to tour through the fall and is likely to swing through the area again.
"In the past two years, we've been really blessed, and we've just continued to grow and grow and grow," Joel says. "We just want to make music together as long as we can."

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