HOMETOWN: Waldorf, Md.
LATEST GIG: Their third major album, The Chronicles of Life and Death
•Double duty: Born five minutes before singer Joel, “I feel older—I’m the more responsible one,” says guitarist Benji. The identical twins write the lyrics for their five-member band, whose punk-pop is tough and sarcastic (“I Just Wanna Live” mocks celebrity whining) yet popular with the TRL crowd. The brothers may seem dark, Joel says, but on the road “our whole life is like being a kid in the summer, looking for something to do.”
•Their so-called lives: Their music—which they first recorded in 1996 on a home karaoke machine—is largely inspired by a troubled youth. (The band is named after a children’s book.) When they were 16, their dad left, and the boys, their mom and two other siblings were evicted. Says Benji: “I’d ask a girl, ‘You wanna go home with me?’ and I’d get to say, ‘Cool, it’s in the parking lot.'”
•Fame game: They dug meeting Howard Stern but can pass on Hollywood. Says Joel: “When some actor dude comes up to us and says, ‘Hey guys, I like your tattoos,’ we’re like, ‘Thanks.’ And there’s an awkward silence, and they walk away.” (And no, Joel is not with Hilary Duff. Benji dates a model.)
•Fore shadowing: As kids, the Maddens dreamed of playing pro baseball—then they heard Green Day. Now they’re a band for life, says Benji, even if Joel likes to fantasize about a second career. “If I put my mind to it, 15 years from now I can make it to the pro golf tour.” Says Benji: “He doesn’t have the game I have. He’s gonna be my caddy.”