The four member Canadian band consists of lead singer vocalist Deryck, lead guitarist Brownsound, bass player Cone, and traps player Stevo. They emerged in 1996 after tiny Ajax, Ontario, proved unable to fully contain the foursome's blathering mixture of punk-pop riffing, hip-hop poses, and toilet-bowl humor. Led by guitarist/vocalist Deryck Whibley, who looked like a mashup of the Prodigy's Keith Flint and cartoon land's Calvin, the band also included guitarist/vocalist Dave Baksh, bassist Cone McCaslin, and drummer Steve Jocz. Wooed by the boys' goofy antics and incendiary live show (and excited about the prospect of promoting their very own blink-182), Island put Sum 41 on the payroll in 1999. The Half Hour of Power EP followed, and Warped Tour dates got the word out. They returned in 2000 with the fun-filled full-length All Killer No Filler, and the singles "In Too Deep" and "Fat Lip" became staples of both modern rock radio and Total Request Live. An extensive tour followed, and Sum 41 enjoyed their boffo success the way all near-teenage boys would, with plenty of towel-snapping, groupie loving, and self-depreciating, low-ball humor. In 2002, they returned to wax with Does This Look Infected?. While the album was a bit harder-edged, it found the band just as jazzed as ever to mix punk-pop business with sophomoric pleasure: the video for "Hell Song" featured the fellas acting out a sort of rock star debauchery cage match with the aid of a few celebrity action figures. Metallica, Jesus Christ, and the Osbournes all made appearances in the hilarious clip.
This Canadian pop punk quartet created a stir on the local scene with their playful antics and energetic live performances, which in turn attracted the attention of several major labels looking to cash in on the commercial success of poppy hardcore bands such as Blink-182 and the Bloodhound Gang...
This Canadian pop punk quartet broke through in the US charts in 2001 with their sophomore release, All Killer No Filler. Sum 41 was formed in Ajax, Ontario in 1997 by teenagers Deryck Whibley (b. Toronto, Ontario, Canada; vocals/guitar) and Steve Jocz (b. Ontario, Canada; drums). Dave Baksh (b. Toronto, Ontario, Canada; guitar) and Cone McCaslin (b. Jay McCaslin North York, Ontario, Canada; bass) were recruited to complete the line-up, with the band taking their unusual moniker from the fact that they were formed 41 days into the summer. The quartet created a stir on the local scene with their playful antics and energetic live performances, which in turn attracted the attention of several major labels looking to cash in on the commercial success of poppy hardcore bands such as Blink-182 and the Bloodhound Gang.
Sum 41 signed to the independent label Aquarius in Canada, but opted for Island Records in the USA. Their 2000 debut, Half Hour Of Power, helped establish their reputation for snappy pop melodies and puerile lyrics. All Killer No Filler repeated the formula, albeit with a better production sound, and was buoyed by the success of single "Fat Lip" on US radio.
Sum 41 new album ''Chuck''
After nearly one year of hibernation in their icy homeland, "Canada" (phonetically: CA-NA-DA), everyone's guiltiest of guilty pleasures, sum 41, have decided to thaw out and return to the airwaves with the hopes of annoying you and everyone you care about.
Confused after watching an evening news program covering the war in IRAQ, the foursome sprang into action convinced someone had launched a pre-emptive War On Rock.
"Who could it be?" They wondered. Right-Wing Conservatives? Tipper Gore and the Mom Mafiosi? Or was this the work of the dreaded "International Pop Conspiracy"? An "axis of evil" indeed.
Without a moment to spare, sum 41 rushed to the studio and laid down the tracks for what could possibly be their most deadly album to date, CHUCK - A record with riffs as hazardous as depleted uranium and hooks as catchy as radioactive fallout!
Since the release of their last album, 2002's Does this look infected? sum 41 have played more than 200 live shows worldwide, have performed on Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brian, and Mad TV. The band made their acting debut as guest stars on an episode of King of the Hill, and also appeared on Iggy Pop's latest album, Skull Ring. Asked why he chose sum 41, Iggy replied, "because they have balls." Coming from a man with an armadillo in his trousers, that quote speaks volumes.
In addition to live performances sum 41 has also been working with the charity group War Child Canada and in May of 2004 they helped in the making of a documentary that covered the effects of war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
As luck would have it fighting erupted on the fifth day of filming and the boys had to be evacuated from their hotel while bullets whizzed over their delicate fontanels. The name of the U.N. worker who saved their lives is CHUCK Pelletier, which is where the album gets its name.
CHUCK is sum 41's most creative and diverse album yet. To capture the desired sound sum 41 once again teamed up with their manager and producer, Greig Nori to create what has become their heaviest, yet most melodic record to date. The first single, "We're All To Blame" is a perfect example. Other songs, like "Some Say" and "Pieces" reveal a new direction and prove that this band is always open to change.
The War on Rock rages on, and in the words of George W. Bush: "War is a dangerous place." He couldn't be more correct. That's why sum 41 is fighting the good fight, so that you and yours don't have to. Rest assured: Thanks to CHUCK �Rock will prevail!
The Strange Drama Of Sum 41 Singer's Vocal Ailment
'He just needs a week's worth of rest, and everything will heal,' band's management finally insists.
If there were an official level of concern for Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley's vocal cords over the past week, it would've gone something like this: moderate concern, which became show-canceling legitimate concern, which exploded into apocalyptic oh- God-please-no! concern before
finally settling into a sort of he'll-be-fine-after-some-rest concern.
On Wednesday, it was announced that the band had canceled that night's show in Barrie, Ontario, because Whibley's cords were ailing. The next day, Sum 41 canceled the week's remaining shows — two in Toronto and one in London, Ontario — which led to the band's management announcing that Whibley had come down with a throat infection. Concern really began to rise when various news agencies began quoting an anonymous show promoter who claimed that Whibley had, in fact, ruptured his vocal cords, and was ordered by doctors not to perform.
And when news of Whibley's injury — combined with two more Canadian cancellations — began to make its way around various Sum 41 fan sites, the concern grew, which led bassist Cone to post the following statement on Sum41.com:
"We have to apologize to the fans in Toronto, Barrie, London, Sherbrooke and Antigonish for canceling our shows there. If you haven't heard already, Deryck is having some really bad throat issues. He can hardly talk, let alone sing," Cone wrote. "This really sucks ... but you don't want to see us with a voiceless singer. Thanks for understanding and we'll see you all soon."
Cone's vagueness did little to quell fans' concerns. So management sprung into action, issuing a statement that said Whibley's ailment wasn't nearly as severe as was being reported, and the band is itching to get back on the road.
"It's just blistered vocal cords, there's no permanent damage. He just needed rest," the statement said. "He just needs a week's worth of rest, and everything will heal. This is a band that hates canceling shows, and they'll be back on the road just as soon as possible."
Sum 41 have already rescheduled four of the canceled shows: the Barrie show will now take place on February 14, while the two Toronto gigs, along with the London date, have been moved to April.
Sum 41: One on One
Q: Who gave who the wedgie, Avril Lavigne or you?
Deryck: Steve gave her the atomic wedgie of her life!
Steve: I pulled them right over her head. She was wearing granny pants too, like a big pillow case. Then she tried to retaliate and get me, but she didn't manage it. Yah, we're generous!
Q: Why did you call yourself Sum41?
Deryck: [Sighs] Well in Canada, $41 is enough for 2 lap dancers and a tip.
Steve: That's one version. There's about five.
Deryck: Another answer is that in North America, if you take a penny, a nickel, a dime and a quarter, that equals 41 cents.
Steve: The strip club one's our favourite though.
Q: Describe your ideal woman.
Steve: Ah, I don't know. One that can handle a severe wedgie. Not Avril Lavigne. I like them really tall, huge, like wrestling type chicks!
Deryck: Let me think...
Q: Blonde hair, red hair...any hair?
Deryck: I don't really discriminate. I like hair though. Just big, hairy women!
Steve: Yeah and I just like big women. So, we're actually quite fortunate with the way eating habits are these days. We're both in luck! British, Yiddish, Chinese, it doesn't matter, just as long as they're big and hairy.
Q:Is it true 'The Hell Song' is about a friend? What’s it all about?
Deryck: 'Hell Song' is about one of our friends that we grew up with. She got HIV last year, so it's all about realising how vulnerable we really are. We help to pay for medication or just do as much as can. When we get home to Toronto next week, we're doing an AIDS benefit gig.
Q: What’s your favourite track from your new album?
Steve: I like 'No Brains' and 'Over My Head' and the 'Anna Nicole Smith' song. In fact that's my favourite!
Deryck: I like them all, but maybe 'Hell Song' and the Anna Nicole song if I had to choose.
Steve: I'm a huge fan, I think she's super! You know what we were saying about big girls right, well I like the new Anna Nicole. She was kinda attractive back in the early nineties. Now she's washed out and overweight, that's my kind of woman. She's great! I like 'em broken in...
Q: Any other female role models out there?
Steve: They're all too damn waif-ish. If I wanted a waif, I'd go for old bones-y over there! [Points to Cone].
Q: Do you like any British bands, like Busted?
Steve and Deryck: Who? Boosted?
Q: No, Busted! Oh, I don't know how you say it in Canadian.
Deryck: Who are they?
Steve: We've never heard of them.
Deryck: They must suck!
Steve: Yah, I hate them. I don't know them, but I hate them already.
Q: Any other artists you don't particularly like?
Steve: No, just them! We have no idea who they are, we remain wilfully ignorant and just focus all our hatred on them. Although, is it an all-girl band, because we might like them a little bit more if they're all girls?
Q: No, they're all blokes.
Steve: No, hate them even more then!
Deryck: But hang on, are they girlie-guys?
Q: No, I wouldn't really say they were girlie-guys.
Q: What other nu-metal bands do you like?
Steve: Oh, that's a good question. Ah, I like...
Deryck: Yeah, good one Kirsten! I'd have to say, System Of A Down.
Steve: I really don't like Slipknot that much, but I do like the drummer. What's his name, Ace..?
Deryck: Ace Frehley! [note to non-metal kids: Ace Frehley was the guitarist in proto-Slipknot masked pop-metallers Kiss]
Steve: That's right. He's a really good drummer. Besides that though, I'm not really a big fan of nu-metal.
Q: Any other bands or artists that you do like at the moment?
Steve: Well AFI have a new album coming out and they're great. That's the only new band I've been listening to lately.
Deryck: Transplants, Destillers.
Q:What's in your CD player at the moment?
Steve: I have 'The Art of Jamming' and I've just listened to the new single by AFI.
Q: I would like to ask Deryck whether it hurt when the bottle hit him in the head? I thought you handled it really well!
Deryck: [In sweet girlie voice] Well, thank you! Yeah, it did hurt a little bit, but I'm okay. I've recovered.
Steve: Well it wasn't a glass bottle, but please don't throw things at Deryck, kids. Just throw them at me! In fact, I was in the middle of a drum roll yesterday and a shoe got thrown and caught up in my drumsticks. I was thinking, 'why isn't this sounding right'? I looked down and there was this shoe there. If I was doing anything else other than a drum roll it would be okay, but it hit me right in the face. That kid had really good aim.
Barney: How do you feel that British punks like the Buzzcocks call bands like you copyists?
Steve: I can't believe the Buzzcocks are still doing anything.
Deryck: The Was-cocks! Who are they? [Laughs]
Steve: Well, I haven't heard that one, but we're so used to getting bad reviews! Even Noel from Oasis, our dear friends who are here tonight, has said that he hated our band. We embrace people that don't like us as much as people that love us.
Deryck: Everyone's got an opinion.
Q: Who has the worst habits?
Steve: Definitely Deryck! No, I guess we all have bad habits. Well, Dave's like the neatest, but I'd say that was a pretty bad habit, to be overly neat and tidy. It's kinda weird, like he's got an obsessive compulsive disorder. [Laughs] I'm sure his point about me though would be that I talk too much, that I'm messy and I smell.
Q: Let me smell... No you don't at the moment.
Steve: Oh, it's OK, you can tell me. See she's not really getting her nose in there...
I never wash my clothes or anything. Dave's probably normal and we're all slobs! But you know, he rolls up like a fabric softener sheet into each of his clothes when he packs. He rolls them up into little clothes burritos. Oh there he is..! [Dave walks into the web chat room] Sorry Dave, I didn't see you there. How long does it take you to do that Dave?
Dave: Ten minutes.
Steve: It's insane!
Q: What's the craziest thing a fan has ever done?
Deryck: They don't really do anything THAT crazy.
Steve: There's people that have stuff tattooed on them.
Deryck: Yeah, like a big portrait of my face on their back.
Steve: Once there was this kid that said, "Hey, can you sign my leg?" . So of course I said yes and he promptly took this prosthetic leg off for me to sign. But that's not the weird part. After I'd finished signing it, this other kid, who didn't have anything to sign, stole the leg and ran off with it. The other guy just starting hopping after him. I never knew what became of the leg, but it made the weirdest noise when he took it off. [Laughs] That was pretty strange! I didn't know what to do, I just watched. I mean, what was I supposed to do, give him mine?
Q: My dad really likes you guys, but why do you think your music appeals to all ages?
Steve: Well the kids like it because it's fun. The dads like it, I guess, because most go through a mid-life crisis and think look at these super cool guys and we remind them of their youth. Don't worry Blazin, your dad's just going through a weird time right now.
Deryck: Yeah, don't worry, it'll be all over soon. Steve: Our dad's have done too. Cone's dad's just going through it now. He's just bought a Ferrari and he's got all these tattoos all over the place. He's just going through a phase.
Q: What’s the most stupid thing you’ve ever done?
Deryck: There's so quite a few.
Steve: There's so many stupid things to choose from. There's such a long catalogue, I'm a stupid kind of guy.
Deryck: Oh yeah, on tour I cut my hand open and couldn't play guitar anymore. So, for the whole tour I couldn't play a thing.
Steve: He thought it would be funny to pull the light out of the wall! [Don't try this at home kids!] He didn't actually realise it was made of glass! [Deryck shows off his scar] That was pretty dumb!
Sum 41 Singer Not Engaged To Avril Lavigne, His Reps Say
Report in London tabloid, new ring on her finger spur rumors.
Avril Lavigne sporting the ring in question during rehearsals for the 2004 World Music Awards.
Don't go searching for an Avril Lavigne/ Deryck Whibley wedding registry just yet. Contradicting reports out of the U.K., Whibley's camp denies that the Sum 41 frontman is engaged to Lavigne. "Deryck Whibley of Sum 41 is not engaged," sum 41's management said in
a statement issued Wednesday (September 15). "Deryck and his friends are constantly followed by paparazzi. The recent 'breaking news' that has been misconstrued around the world exemplifies the media's constant invasion of people's personal lives and reporting of unsubstantiated rumors and/or appearances."
Lavigne's camp says it has a policy of not commenting on her personal life.
London's Sun tabloid got the ball rolling with a report, attributed to a friend of the couple, that said Whibley got down on one knee and popped the question to Lavigne this past weekend in California. The rumor caught more fire when Lavigne turned up at rehearsals for Monday's 2004 World Music Awards wearing an impressive rock on the ring finger of her left hand.
Fans of both artists are abuzz with reaction to the news. On the whole, Sum 41 supporters seem to be less than enthused that Whibley may have taken the plunge ("I hate Avril ... she pisses the nose excrement outta me," wrote a fan on Sum 41's official message board), but others seem content to speculate on what Whibley's bandmates will get the couple as an engagement present.
Over at ALavigne.com, Avril fans are taking a "we're happy if she's happy" approach to things. "I think that it's great she's found a nice guy to marry," wrote one fan. "I think they make a cute couple, and if they get married that'd be cute," added another.
So, are they or aren't they? Perhaps Avril will put the rumors to rest Wednesday night when she performs at the World Music Awards in Las Vegas. Then again, don't count on it.
Ludacris And Sum 41 To Team Up On 'SNL'
Canadian pop-punkers to back Luda for 'Get Back.'
Live, from New York, it's ... Ludacris and Sum 41?
Now the super-secret team-up can be revealed. On the January 22 edition of "Saturday Night Live," the mayor of the Red Light District will take the stage accompanied by the mayors of, um,
Canada's pop-punk district. Luda will perform his hit single "Get Back" with the guys from Sum 41 as his backing band.
"We had originally planned on recording a track together about three or four years ago, for the 'Spider-Man' soundtrack, but our schedules could never connect," Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley explained. "So when we heard about the opportunity to back him up, we said 'yeah' right away."
Though they've yet to actually rehearse "Get Back," Whibley thinks Sum 41 will be more than ready to answer Luda's call next weekend.
"We'll get together and rehearse it. Every time we're working on some new songs, we'll play them live onstage, probably during the encore," he said. "So we're going to be ready. The weird thing is that this all came together so quickly that we haven't even thought about it. This is the first time Sum 41 will play as a backing band since we did it with Iggy Pop. It'll be different, for sure."
There will probably be less shirtless action and body scarification involved than when Sum 41 backed up the Iggster, but according to Whibley, the performance with Ludacris will still have a definite rock and roll quality to it. In fact, it's already being dubbed "Get Back: The Rock Version."
"We've always loved Ludacris, because he's so smart. He realizes the humor in everything he does," he said. "We're going to make it awesome. It'll be funny, but it'll be great too. This isn't just some, like, screw-off thing."
But perhaps the biggest question of all remains unanswered: Will Sum 41 perform in giant foam hands, just like Ludacris does in the "Get Back" video? And wouldn't giant foam hands make guitar playing impossible?
"Man, it's almost impossible for me to play guitar anyway," Whibley laughed. "But maybe we'll think about using the foam hands. Whatever Ludacris wants, we'll do."
Sum 41 Releases Sensitive 'Pieces'
As shooting deadline looms, band works out ideas for its first slow-song clip. Throughout their last two albums, Sum 41 have been almost synonymous with either revved-up pop-punk or over-the-top heavy metal. That may all change thanks to their new single, "Pieces."
The Goons, as their fans are affectionately called, had better brace themselves for associations
with things more on the sensitive side of the spectrum, like warm, fuzzy cardigans and online journals. Although it retains the band's customary big guitars, the melody and subject matter are a lot gentler than signature songs "Over My Head (Better Off Dead)," "Fat Lip" and "In Too Deep."
"We've had slow songs before, but we've never released one as a single," singer Deryck Whibley offered. "This is our first slow single, and it's one of my favorite songs on the record."
With "Pieces" just taking off at radio, its video is scheduled to be shot in the next two weeks. But just because a deadline looms on the horizon doesn't mean the band is prepared.
"There are a couple of ideas we're working with, but we haven't set anything in stone," drummer Steve Jocz said. "The filming dates are set in stone; we just have to come up with the idea. This is the way it always happens with us."
One thing's for certain: the touching tune about being better off left alone won't be accompanied by an equally sappy video.
"We don't want to do your typical heartbreaking relationship video," Jocz said. "I'm sick of those, and there's enough of that. So what we're trying to do is come up with a clever story.
"We just want it to be smart and clever — that's why we're having a lot of trouble with it," he added with a smirk. "We're not smart and clever."
Maybe not, but that doesn't mean that the guys in Sum 41 haven't matured at all since their last album, 2002's Does This Look Infected? The new album's title, Chuck, refers to the U.N. peacekeeper who escorted the band to safety when it was in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on a humanitarian mission (see "Sum 41 Name Album After The Man Who Saved Their Lives"). Factor in its first single, "We're All to Blame," which comes off as a socio-political wake-up call, and Sum 41 are close to being branded a conscious band. It's still too early to dust off the Pulitzer, though.
"We've never really been a band that sings about girlfriends and relationships because we've never really had either of those," Jocz joked. "The things that interest us aren't necessarily, 'She broke my heart,' because to be honest, I haven't got one to break. What's going on in the world is more interesting."
Sum 41 Video Skit Deemed Unsuitable For Children
'I don't think rock shows should be for children,' drummer Stevo says. While Sum 41 were on tour with Good Charlotte last week, the show made the local news. The report, however, could have been a little more positive.
Under the banner "Concert Concerns," a segment ran on the local news in New Orleans that
slammed Sum 41 for the violence in the short film the band plays before their set. The clip shows drummer Stevo, decked out in the dorkiest basketball uniform he could find — complete with knee-high socks, wristbands, short-shorts and sports goggles — challenging a demurely dressed bassist Cone to a game of hoops. Cone, of course, righteously whoops him, but Stevo gets to laugh last. After the game, he kills his bassist rather violently.
"It's stupid and funny, but all these parents complained about it," Stevo said of the short. "[The announcer said,] 'It's not Good Charlotte you have to be aware of, it's the other act, Sum 41. Go for the other three acts, but skip Sum 41.'
"I guess they don't think it's appropriate for children," the drummer theorized, "but I don't think rock shows should be for children. I guess there's a difference between our fans and Good Charlotte fans. Theirs might be a little younger. They may not be prepared for the real world."
Making such videos has been one of the things Stevo and other members of the band did to pass the time while on the road with Good Charlotte, a trek that began on October 12. Much of their work can be seen on Sum 41's Web site. Although the tour wraps up Monday in Houston, the band is already prepping their next film, an opus that promises to shift the negative reaction from concerned parents to mustachioed gentlemen.
"We just think mustaches are funny," Stevo said. "And we just bought a bunch of [fake] ones, so we just figured out how to use them in a skit. It's about a guy who grows a mustache, and the mustache forces him to kill people. Each day he wakes up, there's a body in his bathtub or something. In the end, to kill the mustache, he jumps out the window. But then Cone, who plays the police officer, turns around and suddenly he's got the mustache! We got the idea from watching that Denzel Washington film 'Fallen.' "
Fans may not get to this new video for some time, however. After this tour concludes, the band has a few days off before hitting the road again to play a few radio-sponsored holiday shows. Sometime in between, they'll film a proper video for "Pieces," the next single off their latest album Chuck. They've yet to decide on a treatment for the clip, but, like in most of the band's videos, your funny bone will undoubtedly be tickled.
"The song is about a relationship, but not necessarily one with a girl," Stevo said. "Maybe you're better left alone — f--- everybody else. The last single ['We're All to Blame'] was a pretty serious song, too, but we wanted to offset it with a funny video. With this one, we don't want it to be too hokey, but we don't want it to be too serious either. The trick is to make it interesting while playing up the fact that it is a sincere, genuine song."
All this filmmaking must be getting to Stevo's head: Within the next year, he's set to appear in two movies. In the first, "Dirty Love," the members of Sum 41 play a band, which isn't exactly a stretch. In the second, "The L.A. Riot Spectacular," the consummately funny drummer plays a National Guardsman, who, along with characters played by Snoop Doog and Emilio Estevez (see "Snoop, Porn Stars To Appear In Satire of 1992's L.A. Riots"), helps turn a tragedy that killed 50 and injured 4,000, into something to laugh at.
"There's humor in everything," he said. "It's kind of Mel Brooks-y; it's racist on all fronts. Everybody hates everybody, just like real life. It's funny."
Sum 41's 'Pieces' Video Shows The Band Leading Perfect — And Fake — Lives
The clip, directed by Brett Simon, shoots this weekend. Sometimes it's hard to keep it real, and there's probably no place where that's more true than in Sum 41's surreal new video.
Their clip for "Pieces," to be shot by director Brett Simon this weekend, plays with notions of perception and reflection, while also poking fun at the idea of the music video as a commercial.
The treatment suggests that Sum 41 have found the "clever" idea they said they were having trouble coming up with (see "Sum 41 Release Sensitive 'Pieces' — But Don't Expect A Sappy Video"). According to the treatment, frontman Deryck Whibley sits in a La-Z-Boy chair in a drably colored apartment while the world outside appears to be bursting with color and activity. But although everything outside appears to be hyper-real, more real than Whibley's environment, it's also too real, as if made of plastic. Pedestrians strolling along the sidewalk, girls tanning on the beach, turkey being carved on the dining-room table, prom dates starting to dance, cyclists speeding down the street — all of them are strangely light, as if they're not really moving.
What they are is unclear until Whibley leaves his apartment, walking past Technicolor posters advertising "The Perfect Meal," "The Perfect Night," "The Perfect Body," etc. Whibley remains oblivious to all of this, even as one of those exact scenes comes to life right before him, courtesy of a Plexiglas container that rolls by on a truck that's stopped nearby. The Plexiglas seems like a human aquarium, with Whibley and two bikini-clad sunbathers chilling on a mound of sand, toasting each other with piña coladas, while a couple of fake palm trees frame the scene. The accompanying sign reads, "The Perfect Vacation, Available Through JC Inc."
As other Plexiglas containers appear, it's revealed that Whibley's bandmates are also taking part: bassist Cone McCaslin is serving plate after plate of turkey and telling jokes to his dinner guests, while guitarist Dave Baksh is slow-dancing with a girl in a prom dress as a disco ball hangs from the ceiling. Though "The Perfect Meal" catches the eye of a homeless man, who looks hungrily at the scene, none of these advertisements seems to register with Whibley, who goes home, falls back into his chair, pops open a soda bottle and tilts the drink back to his mouth. When the camera pulls back, the walls behind him are revealed to be glass, and the "room" is actually just another Plexiglas container, moving along the street on another truck. As Whibley swigs from the soda, the sign below him reads, "The Perfect Drink, Available Through JC Inc."
Sum 41 On Getting Serious: 'I'd Like To Think That We're Still Goofballs'
Band will finally get to hang with 'Chuck' on forthcoming tour. Sum 41 want you to know that just because their new album, Chuck, has song titles like "We're All to Blame," "The Bitter End" and "There's No Solution," they are not going through a major blue period.
They'd also like to inform you that just because they almost died earlier this year while filming a
documentary in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (See "Sum 41 Run For Their Lives During Violent Outbreak in Congo"), they're not suddenly embracing each day as if it were their last.
"This record is a little more serious, I guess, and it's like we've evolved a little bit. But we were heading in that direction with our last record anyway," lead singer Deryck Whibley said. "I mean, in every single interview, people ask us why this is our 'serious record,' which is really surprising because there are, like, two songs that are maybe sort of serious."
OK, so they're not exactly going the way of Radiohead or Dashboard Confessional, but on Chuck, Sum 41 display an impressive level of maturity, from the pseudo-political artwork in the liner notes (bomber planes dropping television sets, little girls clutching missiles) to the compositions on the album (songs feature cellos, acoustic guitars and pianos). It's even more impressive when you consider that on their last album, 2002's Does This Look Infected?, they were dressing up like zombies and playing with action figures in their videos.
"When we started out, we were just getting out of high school, and when you're in high school, your bubble is very small," drummer Steve Jocz said. "As you get older, you start reading the newspaper, and in our case, we've traveled the world like four times, and we've seen all these different places and different cultures."
Those trips around the world include the well-documented incident in the Congo where Sum 41 found themselves caught in the middle of a civil war and were saved, as bombs exploded all around them, by United Nations volunteer Chuck Pelletier. To show their gratitude, Sum 41 named their album after him, but since that day in the Congo, they've only exchanged e-mails with him.
On October 22, after their concert in Vancouver, British Columbia, the band will finally get to spend some time with the man who saved their lives.
"He's back in Vancouver, he lives like a half an hour away. So after the show we're going to see him. He wants to get stupid drunk, apparently. Typical Canadian!" Jocz said. "We'll probably do a couple of shots, smoke some cigars. We'll give him some little presents and stuff, too."
Obviously, they're still a band that likes to party, despite their new semi-serious trappings. And they're still unapologetically huge fans of everything '80s, a fact that is apparent in the video for "We're All to Blame," Chuck's first single. Following in the footsteps of their videos for "Fat Lip" (which featured the band masquerading as spandex-clad rockers Pain for Pleasure) and "In Too Deep" (where Whibley nails a 'Triple Lindy,' like the late Rodney Dangerfield in the 1986 comedy "Back to School"), the clip for "We're All to Blame" is a picture-perfect homage to "Solid Gold," the 1980s TV show featuring some of the most cheesily choreographed dance sequences in history.
"We had an idea to be on this other '80s show, but we couldn't get footage. So my girlfriend suggested we do 'Solid Gold,' like competing against the dancers," Jocz said. "I was talking with [director] Marc Klasfeld, and we were talking about the video ideas and he was like, 'Oh my God, that's incredible!' And once we were talking about it, I wasn't sure anybody else would like it. Like, 'Hey guys, we're going get dancers!' 'No, we're not!' "
"Like all of our videos, they always sound kind of weird, like a joke at first," Whibley added. "Then you think about it and the stupidest idea always ends up being the best one."
In addition to working with Klasfeld on the video for "All to Blame," the band pops up in his comedy "The L.A. Riot Spectacular," opposite Snoop Dogg, Emilio Estevez and, er, Ron Jeremy. And they'll also appear in the Jenny McCarthy-penned "Dirty Love" ("I get to make out with Jenny," Jocz laughed.) And then there's their massive co-headlining tour with Good Charlotte, which kicks off October 21 in Seattle. Sum 41 promise that their stage show will put to rest any lingering notions that they've become dour, world-weary artistes.
"We've always actually been a band that likes a big set, which comes from our metal influences. When we did the All Killer No Filler tour, we had a mountain of skulls we played on. So this time we're going to come up with something better, that doesn't suck," Jocz said. "I don't think we're becoming this serious band at all. I'd like to think that we're still goofballs."