February 14, 2017


Benji Madden on Partnering With Warped Rewind at Sea & What to Expect on the Pop-Punk Cruise

Michael Tran/FilmMagic
Michael Tran/FilmMagic

If Warped Tour is like summer camp for pop-punk lovers, Warped Rewind at Sea is their all-inclusive getaway vacation. Created with Benji and Joel Madden's MDDN music management firm and festival company Sixthman, the four-day inaugural voyage brings together Good CharlotteSimple PlanLess Than Jake3OH!3, The Starting Line, Reel Big Fish, Bowling for Soup, and more than 2,000 fans to sail from New Orleans to Cozumel, Mexico from Oct. 28 - Nov. 1, 2017.

Fuse spoke with Benji Madden to talk about his involvement with the sea fest, why he hopes it offers people a break from the news and what else Good Charlotte has cooking up in 2017.

Fuse: Warped Rewind at Sea sounds like an awesome project. How did you get involved?
Good Charlotte went out for almost two weeks on Warped Tour, we brought our families out, it was really fun. Now that we manage our own music company, MDDN, that me and Joel started a few years ago, we spend most of our time managing other artists and working on various projects. Good Charlotte is genuinely like a vacation now, you know? When we go out, if we can we bring our families or if it's just a boys' trip, it's always really fun. 

It's been something that our fans can see too—I think you can always tell when the band is really enjoying being onstage together and really having a good time. Me and [Warped Tour founder] Kevin Lyman were hanging one evening, talking about how much fun it was and Kevin was like, "We should put something together. I've been thinking about these cruises. Would you and your company want to build one with me?" I was like, "Yeah that'd be a blast! It'd be like a nice family vacation." 

How has it been working with Kevin on this?
A lot of people don't know this, and a lot of people do know this, but Kevin Lyman has been such a big part of so many bands' development. With Warped Tour, he's given bands a place to really prove themselves, grow, and develop themselves and become a band. He's such a great guy. It's really great to be working on a project with him and getting creative and thinking of all the fun things we can do

Especially for pop-punk, it is nice to take people away for a night

Benji Madden

What kind of things have you brought to the table so far?
I was imagining it would be cool to have something like an acoustic, Storytellers kind-of dinner theater vibe for people who wanted to chill in the early evening and see some of their favorite bands or songwriters play a few songs, tell stories, how those songs came about and where they were at in their lives or career. We're going to have parties at night, kind of Emo Nite–inspired. We're going to have some tattoo artists on the cruise. It's at Halloween time, so we're going to be having a Halloween party. There's going to be all kinds of opportunities for people to meet and hang with their favorite bands while getting special performances. Music non-stop, you know?

When thinking about the music for this, do you tailor it more towards the "Rewind" theme?  
We'll definitely be playing a lot of throwback stuff. We'll be playing new shit too. We'll be feeling it out with the fans online and all those that have bought tickets and feeling out the vibe. There is a strong throwback vibe and for anyone for who's been to an Emo Nite–themed party in your city—it's really fun, I've been to a few of them in L.A.—and I think that's the vibe.

Jatnna Nuñez for Fuse
Jatnna Nuñez for Fuse

Do you think there will be any on-cruise collaborations? 
I think so! All these bands on the lineup have all toured together. There's a lot of genuine friendships and I'm sure there'll be many more made. I think there's going to be a lot of cool collaborations and impromptu stuff happening. Anytime you put a bunch of bands like that together, people end up hanging out, making music together, and playing together. 

After the election and such, some people have been feeling a little down, but I think this is something people will inevitably anticipate. Do you guys look to take people out of their heads?
Absolutely, that's what we're all about. We don't want to ignore what's going on: I think everyone should continue to stay inspired, stay motivated, and really encourage and continue to stand up for each other and what they believe in. Especially for pop-punk, it is nice to take people away for a night or take people away for a weekend. I mean, everyone can feel it, it's a really weird time. It's so tough to know how to feel. There's so many different energies, so many different things at play, it's a very interesting time. I think it is nice to get away from it for a second, not forgetting reality at all, but to take a second away and have a great time with your friends is a great thing to do.

And what's the latest with Good Charlotte music? Have y'all been back in the studio?
We may release a new Good Charlotte single at some point this year, we're talking about it right now...I would say we won't go full-on into the studio to make an album until end of the year or early next year and, if that happens, I'm not quite sure. It's kind of all up in the air. We kind of take it as we go. 

With Good Charlotte, the No. 1 thing is it's got to feel great if we're going to do it and for us. We spend most of our time managing other artists and working on projects with MDDN. Good Charlotte is definitely our pet project, it's our baby, as long as it feels fun and special, that's kind of how we make our decisions. They'll definitely be some things here and there, but we're really looking forward to the Warped cruise. It's been really fun since we've come back, last year was a blast, and we want to keep it like that where everyone can feel our genuine energy that we're glad to be there and grateful. That's how we make decisions nowadays.

Warped Rewind at Sea sets sail on Oct. 28; tickets and cabin bookings are available now. Next, watch Good Charlotte decide which decades different bands played Warped in this classic Fuse interview: