Sum 41 is an Alternative Metal band originally from Ajax, Ontario, Canada. The band was formed in 1996 and is currently comprised of Deryck Whibley (rhythm guitar, keyboards, lead vocals), Dave “Brownsound” Baksh (lead guitar), Jason McCaslin (bass), Tom Thacker (lead and rhythm guitar, keyboards) and Frank Zummo. (drums). In April 2013, drummer Steve Jocz announced his departure from the band. More than 10 million Sum 41 albums have been sold worldwide.
In 1999, Sum 41 signed an international record deal with Island Records. They released their debut album, All Killer No Filler in 2001, and achieved commercial success with their first single from the album, “Fat Lip“, which reached number one on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart and remains the most successful single on the band to date. All Killer No Filler has been certified platinum in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The band has released seven studio albums: Does This Look Infected? (2002), Chuck (2004) Underclass Hero (2007), Screaming Bloody Murder (2011), 13 Voices (2016) and the most recent work Order In Decline (2019).
Sum 41 has been nominated seven times for the Juno Awards and has won twice (Group of the Year in 2002 and Rock Album of the Year in 2005). Sum 41 was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance for the song “Blood in My Eyes”, however they lost to the Foo Fighters.
Sum 41 noted that in the beginning they were strongly influenced by NOFX. Another influence on their music were Beastie Boys especially on the album All Killer No Filler. On the other hand, hip-hop and rapcore influences were found in the singles Fat Lip and What We’re All About. Later with the album Does This Look Infected? the band commented that it had music influenced by The Offspring, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. The Chuck album offers a number of songs influenced by Metallica. More recently, Deryck expressed his fascination with the great vocal range of Queen’s Freddy Mercury. Indeed, Sum 41 sometimes performs a version of ‘We will rock you’ in their shows.
Sum 41 was formed by singer-songwriter Deryck Whibley and former drummer Steve “Stevo” Jocz under the name Kaspir. A year later Dave “Brownsound” Baksh joined as lead guitarist and, after playing with several bassists, they recruited Jason “Cone” McCaslin to complete the group.
The group, then Kaspir, used to cover the band NOFX. The members of the group decided to change its name for a Supernova concert on September 28, 1996, when it was then forty-one days after the beginning of summer.
In 1998 a demo was recorded on compact tape which they sent to record companies in the hope of landing a recording contract. The tapes in this demo are rare and the only known recording featuring original bassist Richard “Twitch” Roy.
From 1999 to 2000 the band recorded several new songs. The DVD’s Introduction to Destruction, Cross The T’s and Gouge Your I’s contain self-recorded footage and include a dance performance for “Makes No Difference” in front of a theater.
Sum 41 released the EP Half Hour of Power on June 27, 2000, under the Big Rig and Island labels. It reached positions 176 and 36 on the Billboard 200 and Top Heatseekers charts respectively, both in the United States. The band’s first single released was “Makes No Difference“, which features two different music videos. “Makes No Difference” was ranked 32 on the Modern Rock Tracks tally in the United States. In April 2003 Half Hour of Power was certified gold in Canada.
Sum 41’s first full-length album, All Killer No Filler, was released on May 8, 2001.7 It had a good commercial reception: it ranked in the top 50 of the major charts in Canada, Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom, United States and New Zealand. In addition, it received gold disc certification in Australia, platinum in the US and UK, and triple platinum in Canada. The first single from the album was “Fat Lip“. It reached number 66 on the Billboard Hot 100, and on Modern Rock Tracks it reached number 1. A music video for “Fat Lip“, directed by Marc Klasfeld, was released on March 20, 2001. The second and Third single from the album were “In Too Deep” and “Motivation“, respectively.
In 2001, Sum 41 participated in that year’s edition of the Vans Warped Tour, so their song “Tables Have Turned” appeared on the Vans Warped Tour 2001 Compilation. By September of the same year, Sum 41 was on tour with Blink-182, but after the incidents on the 11th of that month, the last dates were canceled. Later the canceled shows were rescheduled and held in February 2002. In April of the same year the group did a tour of the United States to promote All Killer No Filler.
On November 26, 2002, the band’s second studio album, Does This Look Infected? was released.
Sum 41 released the album Chuck on October 12, 2004. The first single was We’re All to Blame. The album was named after Chuck Pelletier, a member of the United Nations peacekeepers who saved the lives of the band members and 40 other civilians while the band was filming a documentary about the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo called Rocked: Sum 41 in Congo.
The band released a live album shortly before Dave’s retirement, which they titled Go Chuck Yourself. This disc is the recording of a show in Ontario during the tour of the same name. During these years, the band began a stage of “maturity“, with the lyrics touching politics, and Deryck marrying the Canadian singer Avril Lavigne.
On May 11, 2006, Dave Baksh announced his retirement from Sum 41 to work in his new band called Brown Brigade.
On July 24, 2007 the album Underclass Hero was released, featuring the homonymous song Underclass Hero as the first single. During the recording of this album and their subsequent tour, they were joined by a new guitarist, Tom Thacker.
On this album they take up the ‘punk’ sound, leaving behind Chuck’s ‘metal’ sound.
On August 7, 2008, McCaslin announced in a journal on the band’s official site that he is currently taking time off from touring to do other things. Later, they began working on a new studio album for the band. McCaslin worked on the second album of his side project, The Operation M.D., Jocz toured as a drummer for The Vandals, and Whibley was touring with his then-wife Avril Lavigne.
Sum 41 announced in a press release that due to the success of Underclass Hero, Universal Music made the decision to have Sum 41 produce an EP in 2009. However, Deryck stated that the new EP was quickly becoming an LP, due to the amount of music they had recorded, which was more than expected. The band entered the studio in late 2008 with the plan of releasing the album sometime during 2009, and 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 an unreleased song, “Always“, and a DVD, which contains each of the band’s videos. In February 2009, the band said that due to the success and demand for the greatest hits album, which they had, they decided to release it around the world, albeit with a different title and artwork.
In early 2009 the band released All The Good Shit, similar to the compilation released in Japan.
Screaming Bloody Murder went on sale worldwide on March 29, 2011, presenting a darker and rockier Sum 41, with a sound quite similar to their fourth album Chuck.
On April 8, 2013 drummer Steve Jocz announced his retirement from the band. On August 20, 2015, the return of guitarist Dave Baksh was confirmed on social networks.
On March 22, 2016, the band announces on their official Facebook page that Sum 41 will be playing in the 2016 Warped Tour and on March 23, 2016, they announce their participation in the Amnesia Rock Fest, along with NOFX, Blink-182 and Rise Against, among others.
On May 11, 2016, Sum 41 announced that they have signed with Hopeless Records. On February 19, 2017 Deryck Whibley announced through social networks that they would record a live CD on the 22nd at the Zénith room in Paris, France.
On April 23, 2019, the band announced via social media that they were returning with new music. On April 24, they released their first single titled “Out For Blood” via Hopeless Records. On the same day, the band also announced their seventh studio album, Order In Decline, which was released on July 19, 2019.
I took pictures of Sum 41 when they performed at Stage 13 in Camrose, Alberta, Canada on July 11, 2004: