With two live CD/DVD's, over ten singles, and millions of record sales worldwide, the band Sum 41 is on tour in support of its latest album, "Underclass Hero". VOA's Larry London sat down with the band’s founder and lead singer, Deryck Whibley, and the group's drummer, Steve Jocz, to discuss the new CD.
Sum 41 started 11 years ago in Ontario, Canada as the group Kaspir. The name changed in 1996.
“The story is we started the band 41 days into the summer,” recalls Deryck Whibley.
“But we don't know if that was 41 days from June 21st or when school ended,” countered drummer Steve Jocz.
“I don't remember when it was, but,” began Whibley, “something like that,” finished Jocz.
The band’s choice of a title for their latest CD "Underclass Hero" has significant meaning.
“It was the title track and it also represents the process of this record,” explained Whibley. “Of really starting out at sort of a low point at the bottom of where we were trying to go with this idea and then you're coming through with the best thing we've ever done. All of it is really deeply personal. It's all things in my life. Things that have happened to me growing up… just everything. It's just about how I feel about certain things… I guess.”
SUM 41's new single is called "Walking Disaster".
That's about being a certain age, like a teenager and being uncertain of your place in the world, not really understanding what your direction is,” said Whibley. “Leaving home only to find you end up living a life in a very negative way and realizing what you had before that was really right all along… and going back to that.”
Deryck Whibley is a songwriter and producer in addition to being the band’s lead singer and guitarist. He says it's difficult to find a favorite part of the process.
“I think -- I mean writing and performing is the best part but after a while you get tired of just writing and you want to perform. Then you perform for a year every night, then you get tired of that and you just want to go back and make an album. So, it just kind of goes back and forth. Then you decide you want to produce something for somebody else. It all depends on the time and how long you have been doing particular part of it.”
One recent collaboration with Deryck was that of his wife, pop punk singer Avril LaVigne. He co-wrote and performed several songs for her current album.
He tells us, “They're like fast upbeat songs. Steve played the drums on them. It was a really easy process because we were doing our record at the same time and had everything already set up. She [Avril LaVigne] was in the studio across from us and she wrote these two songs and asked if I would do them. I went in and Steve played [drums] and put the bass and guitars on and she sang it and it was done.
Despite losing their guitarist Dave Baksh in 2006 and changing management, Deryck feels this new CD is edgier and faster than their previous work. “Yeah, I think it is. I think it's more aggressive. I mean more than anything we've ever done I think. In every possible way, it's our best record.
Sum 41 remains on the road through the end of November in support of the new CD "Underclass Hero".
Video courtesy of Island Def Jam Records