Oh, boy, what camaraderie in Good Charlotte

NO QUESTIONS about Joel Madden and Nicole Richie, please.

That was what Good Charlotte drummer, Dean Butterworth, insisted upon in a chat with my paper over the phone.

When asked if Richie hangs out with the band and husband Joel (the two will celebrate their first wedding anniversary next month, but have been a couple since 2006) when they are on tour, he was firm in his reply.

"I don't really like to talk about these things to the press," Butterworth, who will be in Singapore with Good Charlotte for a gig on Friday at Resorts World Sentosa, said apologetically. "I hope you understand."

If Butterworth is protective of his bandmate - and his mate - it is for good reason.

The Joel-Nicole pairing has sometimes overshadowed the band, with more ink spilled on the relationship in recent years than on the band's work.

But Butterworth, 35, will say this about his brothers in arms: "It's been a great six-over years. I really love those guys. They're like brothers to me."

He joined the band in 2005, replacing former drummer Chris Wilson, who left the band due to "personal health reasons".

But the band members do not necessarily hang out together these days, Butterworth added.

"We do things together only when we're on tour or making records. Off that time, everybody's with their families and doing their own things," he said.

Everyone in the band, with the exception of Benji Madden - Joel's twin brother and the band's lead guitarist - has kids. Joel and Richie have two children together: Three-year-old daughter Harlow Winter Kate and two-year-old son Sparrow James Midnight.

Butterworth, who had played with the likes of British singer Morrissey and American musician Ben Harper before joining Good Charlotte, said that he treasures his relationship with the band - which also includes bass guitarist Paul Thomas and rhythm guitarist and keyboardist Billy Martin.

If there's one thing that brings them together, it's once-in-a-while trips to amusement parks.

"We run around and go crazy on roller coasters," said Butterworth.

Having sold some 10 million records worldwide of their five albums (including last year's Cardiology), the American rock band continue to churn out party anthems for fans 11 years after they first hit the scene with their self-titled debut.

Their best-known songs include Lifestyles Of The Rich & Famous, Little Things, and Like It's Her Birthday.

Butterworth added that Good Charlotte will be working on their next album after their gig in Singapore.

And the man who co-wrote the Ben Harper song She's Only Happy In The Sun said that he's never happier than when he's playing his chosen instrument.

He said: "Sometimes, I write songs from the idea of drum beats. Writing music, playing drums, I see it all as one - it's all music (to my ears)."


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