When Good Charlotte wrote “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous,” the song that vaulted their last album into the mainstream, they were neither rich nor famous.
These days, after selling more than 3 million copies of 2002’s The Young and the Hopeless, the guys in Good Charlotte are, to say the least, in a higher tax bracket. So their latest video – for “I Just Wanna Live,” off The Chronicles of Life and Death – skewers the fact that Good Charlotte are now in the precarious position of being rich people singing a song that complains about rich people complaining, as “Lifestyles” does.
“It’s a song that you kinda have to make a silly video for,” guitarist Billy Martin said. “It’s almost like making fun of ourselves, because everyone says, ‘Oh, now that you’ve had a song about “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous,” now you can never complain about anything.’ So we’re sort of on purpose complaining about stuff in a funny way. [The song] even references ‘Lifestyles.’ ”
In the clip, which was directed by Brett Simon (Hoobastank, the Killers), the group is seen performing in a near-empty dive bar, after which they head back to their menial day jobs. One day, a music-biz bigwig spies them from the backseat of his limo and signs them to a deal, making them rich and famous – so famous, in fact, that they find themselves at the center of ripped-from-the-headlines celebrity scandals involving night-vision sex tapes and nationally televised lip-synching disasters.
Upping the humor quotient is the fact that the band calls itself the Food Group, with members dressed as their favorite edibles. Bassist Paul Thomas is a hamburger. Drummer Chris Wilson is a carrot. Singer Joel Madden is a slice of pizza. Guitarist Benji Madden is an ear of corn. As for Martin, he’s afraid his costume will dog him for the rest of his days.
“I’m a little [worried] that I will be known as the guy who was a strawberry for the rest of my life,” he said. “I was the only one complaining. Everyone else was going, ‘This is going to be great!’ And I was like, ‘Ugh, I’m dressed like a strawberry.’ If it makes people laugh, then it’s cool.”
On Monday (November 22) Good Charlotte wrap up their tour with Sum 41, then they’re headed back out to perform at various radio-sponsored holiday festivals. Multi-artist shows are familiar territory for these Warped Tour veterans, but playing on pop bills is something entirely new. Luckily, they have a plan to keep their cred intact.