Sum 41 is a rock band from Ajax, Ontario active since 1996. The current members are Deryck Whibley (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Cone McCaslin (bass guitar, backing vocals), Steve Jocz (drums, backing vocals), and Tom Thacker (lead guitar, backing vocals, keyboard). The band has sold over 40 million albums worldwide.
In 1999, the band signed an international record deal with Island Records. Since then, the band has released four studio albums, all of which have been certified platinum in Canada. Their most successful album to date is All Killer No Filler, which is certified 3x platinum in Canada and platinum in the United States. The album was fueled by the single "Fat Lip", which reached the top position on the Billboard Modern Rock chart, making it the band's most successful single. The second single from the album, "In Too Deep", reached number-ten on the Modern Rock chart.
The band often performs more than 300 times each year and holds long global tours, most of which last more than a year. They have been nominated for seven Juno Awards and have won twice (Group of the Year in 2002 and Rock Album of the Year for Chuck in 2005). They also have been nominated for three different Canadian Independent Music Awards: In 2004, they won a Woodie Award for "The Good Woodie (Greatest Social Impact)". They have also been nominated for a Kerrang! Award in 2003 for "Best Live Act".
Beginnings and Half Hour of Power (1996?2000)
Deryck Whibley during a show
The band is called Sum 41 because they started 41 days into the summer. The band was originally a NOFX cover band named Kaspir; they changed their name to Sum 41 for a Supernova show on September 28, 1996.
In 1998 the band recorded a demo tape on Compact Cassette which they sent to record companies in hope of getting a recording contract. These demo tapes are rare and are the only recordings known with the original bassist Richard "Twitch" Roy.
From 1999 to 2000, the band recorded several of their antics. The Introduction to Destruction and later the Cross The T's and Gouge Your I's DVDs both contained the self-recorded footage, among which were robbing a Kelly's Pizza with water guns and performing a dance to "Makes No Difference" in front of a theater.
Sum 41 released the EP Half Hour of Power on June 27, 2000. The first single released by the band was "Makes No Difference", which had two different music videos. The first video was put together using the video clips sent to the record label and the second showed the band performing at a house party.
All Killer No Filler and Does This Look Infected? (2001?2003)
Sample of "Fat Lip" from All Killer No Filler. "Fat Lip" was the band's first single to reach #1 on the Billboard hot modern rock chart.
Sum 41's first full-length album, All Killer No Filler, was released on May 8, 2001. "Fat Lip", the album's first single, achieved notable commercial success; it topped the U.S. Billboard modern rock chart as well as other charts around the world. After "Fat Lip", the band released two more singles from the album: "In Too Deep" and "Motivation". "In Too Deep" had a comedic music video of the band in a diving competition against jocks; "Motivation" had a video of the band playing in a small room. The band spent much of 2001 touring; they played over 300 concerts that year before returning to the studio to record another album. They took the last week of the tour off due to the September 11 terrorist attacks. They later rescheduled the cancelled shows.
On November 26, 2002, Sum 41 released their second full-length album, Does This Look Infected?. The special edition came with a DVD, Cross The T's and Gouge Your I's. Whibley said of the album: "We don't want to make another record that sounds like the last record, I hate when bands repeat albums." The first single released was "Still Waiting", which was followed by "The Hell Song". "The Hell Song"'s music video depicted the band using dolls with their pictures on them and others, such as Ozzy Osbourne and Pamela Anderson. Their next single, "Over My Head (Better Off Dead)", had a video released exclusively in Canada and on their website, featuring live shots of the band. The video also appeared on their live DVD, Sake Bombs And Happy Endings (2003), as a bonus feature.
Chuck and the Congo (2004?2006)
In late May 2004, the band traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo with War Child Canada, a branch of the British charity organization War Child, to document the civil war in the country. Days after arriving, fighting broke out in Bukavu near the hotel the band was staying at.
Bullets were coming through windows and everyone was just lying on the ground with their hands on their heads. One bomb came too close, hit the hotel and the hotel just started shaking. Everyone dove and was lying on the ground. Things were falling off the walls, mirrors were breaking. That's when we all kind of realized that this was really going bad, and we're probably not going to make it out.
The band waited for the firing to die down, but it did not during that time. A U.N. peacekeeper, Charles "Chuck" Pelletier, called for armored carriers to take the hotel's occupants out of the hot zone. After nearly six hours, the carriers arrived, and the band and the forty other civilians were taken to safety.
"We're All to Blame"
Sample of "We're All to Blame" from Chuck. "We're All to Blame" featured an alternative metal sound, from the band's heaviest album.
In honor of Pelletier, Sum 41 named their next album Chuck; it was released on October 12, 2004. A documentary of their experience was made into a film called Rocked: Sum 41 in Congo and later aired on MTV. War Child released it on DVD on November 29, 2005, in the United States and Canada. The first single from the album was "We're All To Blame"; it was followed by "Pieces", a relatively soft song which reached the top of the charts in Canada. The next single was "Some Say", released only in Canada and Japan. The last single off the record was "No Reason", released at the same time as "Some Say", but with no music video and was only released in Europe and the USA, where it reached the sixteenth position on the Billboard Modern Rock charts in the USA.
On December 21, 2005, Sum 41 released a live album, Happy Live Surprise, in Japan. The CD contained a full concert recorded live from London, Ontario and was produced by Whibley. The same CD was released March 7, 2006, in Canada under the name Go Chuck Yourself.
Baksh's departure and Underclass Hero (2006?2008)
Drummer Steve Jocz singing during the song "Pain for Pleasure"
On May 11, 2006, Dave Baksh announced in a statement through his management company that he was leaving Sum 41 to work with his new band, Brown Brigade, which has a more "classic metal" sound. Baksh cited "creative differences" as the reason for his departure but claimed that he was still on good terms with the band. The next day, Whibley confirmed Baksh's departure and announced that the band would only replace Dave with a touring guitarist, who would not have any decision-making power in the band or be in videos, photo shoots, or albums.
Sum 41 "Walking Disaster" (2007)
Sum 41 Returned to more of a pop sound with "Walking Disaster".
Recording of the band's fourth studio album, Underclass Hero, began on November 8, 2006 and finished on March 14, 2007. The album, backed by the first single and title track, "Underclass Hero", was released on July 24, 2007. It debuted at number seven in the United States, the band's highest U.S. chart position. The album was nominated for a Juno Award for "Rock Album of the Year" but lost to Finger Eleven's Them vs. You vs. Me.
On April 17, 2007, the band released a song on iTunes, "March of the Dogs". Although not a single, the band released it early because, according to Whibley, "the record be out until the summer". Whibley was threatened with deportation for the song, because he metaphorically "killed the president" in it. Two more singles were released from the album, "Walking Disaster" and "With Me".
In October 2007, the band began the Strength In Numbers Tour, a tour of Canada with Canadian band Finger Eleven; Die Mannequin opened each of Sum 41's shows. During the tour, Whibley sustained a herniated disk; as a result, they canceled the rest of their shows. After Whibley recovered from his injury, the band recommenced the Underclass Hero tour in March 2008. They toured until early July, when they began preparation for their next album.
Greatest hits compilation and fifth studio album (2008 onward)
On August 7, 2008, McCaslin announced in a journal entry on the band's official site that the band was currently taking time off from touring to do other things. Afterward, they would begin working on the band's next studio album. McCaslin worked on the second album by his side-project, The Operation M.D. Jocz toured as a drummer for The Vandals, and Whibley toured with his wife, Avril Lavigne.
Sum 41 released a press release that mentioned that because of the success of Underclass Hero, Universal Music picked up the option to have Sum 41 produce an EP in 2009. However, Deryck stated that the new EP was quickly turning into an LP due to the amount of music they had recorded, which was more than expected. The band entered the studio in late 2008 for a plan to release the album sometime during 2009, with a supporting tour in the summer.
On November 26, 2008 Sum 41 released 8 Years of Blood, Sake and Tears, a greatest hits album, in Japan. The album includes a previously unreleased song, "Always", and a DVD, which contains each of the band's music videos. In February 2009, the band said that due to the success and demand for the greatest hits album, they had decided to release it worldwide, although with a different title and artwork. On March 17, All the Good Shit was released with different artwork and a different title.
On February 15, 2009, Deryck posted a news bulletin on the band's website stating that the band had decided to make a full album instead of an EP. He went on to say that "it's safe to say" the album will be released in 2009.
On June 28, 2009, Cone posted on the band's website that the new album would be released in 2010.
On July 20, 2009, Stevo posted a blog on the band's website saying that the band finished all their tour dates for the year after their summer tour with The Offspring, and that they are going to take the rest of the year off to finish working on their album. He has also confirmed that new lead guitarist Tom Thacker will take part in the writing and recording.
On July 31, 2009, in an interview Steve and Cone did, they said to expect the new album to be released around the summer of 2010 , although it might be released sooner. In the same interview, they claimed to have 5 or 6 songs already done. They have also confirmed on their Twitter that recording will start on November 1.
This section needs additional citations for verification.
Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (September 2009)
Cone during a show
Touring in support of Chuck, Sum 41 played videos before their set which were deemed "unsuitable for children". Controversy arose over some of the videos' violent content. They have made several other videos, including Basketball Butcher and 1-800-Justice, which were originally available exclusively on Sum 41's now-defunct fan club, the Goon Platoon.
Sum 41's most recent internet video project is a "weekly" series, SUM 41 - Road to Ruin. The trailer was posted on January 8, 2007 on the Sum 41 web page. The first episode debuted on January 21; it followed their exploits on their Singapore 2003 tour. Since then, their episodes have included footage of drunkenness in New Orleans, setting off a fire alarm in a hotel, and a feature about their first tour manager. So far, they have released ten episodes, with their latest and as they have stated recently, their 'last' for now being an episode that features their guitar technician. They also created a series of cartoons based on superhero "Stickman moss" who saved the world from anti-punk figures who endangered the world of punk rock.
Side projects and collaborations
Before the release of Half Hour of Power and up until the departure of Dave Baksh, Sum 41 occasionally played as an alter-ego 80s heavy metal band called Pain for Pleasure during shows. The band appeared in Sum 41's music videos for "Fat Lip" and "We're All to Blame" and had at least one song on each of the band's first three releases. Their best known song under the Pain for Pleasure moniker is "Pain for Pleasure" from All Killer No Filler, a track that remains their constant encore during live shows.
Sum 41 has collaborated with many other artists, both live and in the studio, among whom are Tenacious D, Ludacris, Iggy Pop, Pennywise, Bowling for Soup, Unwritten Law, Treble Charger, Nelly, Gob, Tommy Lee, Rob Halford, Metallica, and Ja Rule.
Shortly after touring for Does This Look Infected?, Sum 41 was recruited by Iggy Pop for his album, Skull Ring. Deryck co-wrote the first single from the album, "Little Know It All", and joined Iggy on The Late Show with David Letterman to promote the song. Following their September 11, 2005 show in Quebec City, Quebec, the band went on a touring hiatus, although on April 17, 2006, Sum 41 played at a tribute to Iggy Pop, joining Iggy on stage for "Little Know It All" and "Lust For Life".
During the band's 2006 touring hiatus, Whibley focused on his producing career; he produced two songs for Avril Lavigne's album The Best Damn Thing; Jocz recorded his first video as director for a Canadian band, The Midway State; and McCaslin started a side project with Todd Morse of H2O and Juliette and the Licks. McCaslin's two-person band, named The Operation M.D., released their debut album, We Have an Emergency, in early 2007. As well as playing bass, keyboards, and acoustic guitar, Cone contributed backing vocals as well as leading vocals on three songs. The Operation album was co-produced and mixed by Whibley. Their first single video, "Sayonara", was directed by Jocz.
In December 2007, McCaslin interviewed Slash of Velvet Revolver. They talked about Slash's experiences while in Guns N' Roses and his part in Velvet Revolver. The interview was part of a MySpace project and was posted on the site in three parts.
Music style and influences
Sum 41 in concert at Metropolis in Montreal.
The range of Sum 41's musical influences varies through many different styles. They have obvious roots in punk rock, with bands like The Dead Boys and NOFX. In addition, a firm root in hip hop acts like the Beastie Boys is apparently present. The latter is most effectively observed in the rap rock style of singles like "Fat Lip" and "It's What We're All About". Their studio album, Does This Look Infected?, was heavily influenced by The Offspring. The band also cites The Beatles, Oasis, Iron Maiden, and Metallica as influences; the latter two influenced Sum 41's use of metal.
The genre of Sum 41's music has been disputed by fans because of the complex combination of different musical styles and the more mature, serious, and heavy sound in later albums. Fans and critics agree that Half Hour of Power and All Killer No Filler were purely pop punk, but Does This Look Infected? started moving toward heavier styles, such as alternative rock and alternative metal, with Chuck being mostly alternative metal. Underclass Hero became a revival of the band's old pop punk/punk rock style. The genre argument is centralized around the punk streak of the band, and they have been labeled as pop punk, punk rock, alternative rock, and alternative metal. Some of the band's songs contain political-social commentary; "The Jester" is an "anti-Bush screed", and "Dear Father" is about Deryck's absent father.
Sum 41 has been nominated for seven Juno Awards; they won twice. In 2001, they were nominated for "Best New Group" at the Juno awards, but lost to Nickelback. They were nominated for "Best Group" in the Juno Awards of 2002 but again lost to Nickelback. Also in 2002, The album All Killer No Filler was nominated for "Best Album; however, it lost to The Look of Love by Diana Krall. In 2003, Sum 41 won a Juno Award for "Group Of The Year". In 2004, they were nominated again, this time with Does This Look Infected? for "Rock Album of the Year", but they lost to Sam Roberts's We Were Born in a Flame. In 2005, the album Chuck won "Rock Album of the Year"; they were also nominated for "Group of The Year", but lost to Billy Talent. In 2008, their album Underclass Hero was nominated for the Juno Award "Rock Album of the Year"; however, the album lost to Finger Eleven's Them vs. You vs. Me. They also have been nominated for three different Canadian Independent Music Awards. In 2004, they won a Woodie Award for "The Good Woodie (Greatest Social Impact)". They were also nominated for a Kerrang! Award in 2003 for "Best Live Act".
Deryck "Bizzy D" Whibley - lead vocals, rhythm guitar, piano (since 1996)
Steve "Stevo" Jocz - drums, backing vocals (since 1996)
Jason "Cone" McCaslin - bass, backing vocals (since 1998)
Tom "Brown Tom " Thacker - lead guitar, piano, backing vocals (since 2007)
Marc Costanzo ? lead guitar (1996?1997)
Mark Spicoluk ? bass, backing vocals (1996?1997)
Richard "Twitch" Roy - bass, backing vocals (1997?1998)
Dave "Brownsound" Baksh ? lead guitar, backing vocals (1997?2006)