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|Also known as||Kaspir (1996)|
|Origin||Ajax, Ontario, Canada|
Sum 41 is a Canadian rock band from Ajax, Ontario. Originally a NOFX cover band called Kaspir, the band was formed in 1996 and currently consists of vocalist, guitarist Deryck Whibley, guitarists Dave Baksh and Tom Thacker, bassist Jason McCaslin and drummer Frank Zummo.
In 1999, Sum 41 signed an international record deal with Island Records and released its first EP, Half Hour of Power, in 2000. The band released its debut album, All Killer No Filler in 2001. The album achieved mainstream success with its first single, "Fat Lip", which reached number one on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and remains the band's most successful single to date. The album's next singles "In Too Deep" and "Motivation" also achieved commercial success. All Killer No Filler was certified Platinum in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. In 2002, the band released Does This Look Infected?, which was also a commercial and critical success. The singles "The Hell Song" and "Still Waiting" both charted highly on the modern rock charts. The band released its next album, Chuck, in 2004, led by singles "We're All to Blame" and "Pieces". The album proved successful, peaking at number 10 on the Billboard 200. In 2007, the band released Underclass Hero, which was met with a mixed reception, but gained some commercial success, becoming the band's highest charting album to date. It was also the band's last album on Aquarius Records. The band released the album Screaming Bloody Murder, on Island Records in 2011 to a generally positive reception, though it fell short of its predecessors' commercial success. The band's sixth studio album, 13 Voices was released in 2016.
The band often performs more than 300 times each year and holds long global tours, most of which last more than a year. The group have been nominated for seven Juno Awards and won twice – Group of the Year in 2002, and Rock Album of the Year for Chuck in 2005. Sum 41 was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance for the song "Blood in My Eyes".
Sum 41 was formed by lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Deryck Whibley and drummer Steve Jocz, under the name Kaspir after Whibley convinced Jocz to join his band. Jocz was a drummer in another band and Whibley was convinced that "he was the best drummer around". After having several lead guitarists and lead vocalists try out for the band, the duo then added Dave Baksh as lead guitarist in order for Whibley to take over as lead vocalist. The group went through several bassists before picking Jason McCaslin to complete its line-up. The group members decided to change the band's name for a Supernova show on September 28, 1996, which happened to be the 41st day of their summer vacation.
From 1999 to 2000, the band recorded several new songs. The Introduction to Destruction and later the Cross The T's and Gouge Your I's DVDs both contain the self-recorded footage, which show the band performing a dance to "Makes No Difference" in front of a theatre.
Sum 41's first EP, Half Hour of Power, was released 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. The album was certified gold in Canada. Following the success of the EP, the band began working on its first full-length album.
Sum 41's first full-length album, All Killer No Filler, was released on May 8, 2001. The album was very successful; it was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in August 2001. "Fat Lip", the album's first single, achieved significant chart and commercial success; it topped the US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart as well as many other charts around the world. The song remains the band's most successful to date. After "Fat Lip", two more singles were released from the album: "In Too Deep" and "Motivation". "In Too Deep" peaked at number 10 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart, while "Motivation" peaked at number 24 on the same chart. The album peaked at number 13 on the Billboard 200 chart and at number nine on the Top Canadian Albums chart. The album was a commercial success, and was certified Platinum in the United States, Canada and in the UK. The album's name was taken from the initial reaction from Joe Mcgrath, an engineer working in the studio.
The success of the album brought the band touring offers with mainstream bands such as Blink-182 and The Offspring. The band spent much of 2001 touring; the group played over 300 concerts that year before returning to the studio to record another album.
On November 26, 2002, the group released its second 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 album featured a harder and edgier sound, and the lyrics featured a more serious outlook. The album peaked at number 32 on the Billboard 200 chart and at number eight on the Top Canadian Albums chart. It was certified Platinum in Canada and gold in the United States, but was not as successful as its predecessor.
The first single released from the album was "Still Waiting", which peaked at number seven on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. The second single, "The Hell Song" peaked at number 13 on the chart. "The Hell Song"'s music video depicted the band members using dolls with their pictures on them and others, such as Ozzy Osbourne and Pamela Anderson. The third single, "Over My Head (Better Off Dead)", had a video released exclusively in Canada and on the band's website, featuring live shots of the band. The video also appeared on the group's live DVD, Sake Bombs And Happy Endings (2003), as a bonus feature. The band again began a long tour to promote the album before recording the group's third studio album.
In late May 2004, the band travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo with War Child Canada, a branch of the British charity organization War Child, to document the country's civil war. Days after arriving, fighting broke out in Bukavu near the hotel where the band was staying.
The band waited for the fighting to die down, but it did not. During that time, a UN peacekeeper, Charles "Chuck" Pelletier, called for armoured carriers to take the hotel's occupants out of the hot zone. After nearly twenty hours, the carriers arrived, and the band and forty other civilians were taken to safety.
In honour of Pelletier, Sum 41 named its next album Chuck; it was released on October 12, 2004. The album is the band's heaviest and most serious album to date, and charted at number 10 on the Billboard 200 chart and on the Top Internet Albums chart. It also peaked at number two on the Canadian Albums chart and was the band's highest-charting album until it was surpassed by Underclass Hero. The album received positive reviews, and was certified Platinum in Canada and gold in the United States.
The first single from the album was "We're All To Blame", which peaked at number 10 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. 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 from the record was "No Reason", released at the same time as "Some Say", but with no music video. It was released only in Europe and the USA, where it reached number 16 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart.
A documentary of the band's experience in Congo 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.
Following the album's release, the band went on a tour with Good Charlotte until 2006. On December 21, 2005, Sum 41 released a live album, Happy Live Surprise, in Japan. The CD contained a full concert recorded live in London, Ontario and was produced by Whibley. The same CD was released March 7, 2006, in Canada under the name Go Chuck Yourself.
On May 10, 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 him with a touring guitarist, who would not have any decision-making power in the band or be in videos, photo shoots, or albums. The band replaced Baksh with Gob frontman and guitarist Tom Thacker.
Recording of the band's fourth studio album, Underclass Hero, began on November 8, 2006, and finished on March 14, 2007. 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 [wouldn't] be out until the summer". Whibley was threatened with deportation for the song, because he metaphorically "killed the president" on it.
The album, backed by the first single and title track, "Underclass Hero", was released on July 24, 2007. Despite mixed reviews, the album was a commercial success, debuting at number seven on the Billboard 200 and at number one on the Billboard Rock Albums chart, the band's highest US chart position to date. It also peaked at number one on the Canadian Albums chart and on the Alternative Albums chart, a first for the band on both the charts. Two more singles were released from the album, "Walking Disaster" and "With Me". "With Me" especially found radio success by 2008. Underclass Hero was certified Platinum in Canada.
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, the group cancelled the rest of its shows. After Whibley recovered from his injury, the band continued the Underclass Hero tour in March 2008 and toured until early July, when the group began preparation for its next album.
On August 7, 2008, McCaslin announced in a journal entry on the band's site that it was taking time off from touring to do other things. Afterward, the group began 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 then-wife, Avril Lavigne.
On November 26, 2008, Sum 41 released a greatest hits album in Japan titled 8 Years of Blood, Sake and Tears. The album included a previously unreleased song, "Always", and a DVD, which contains each of the band's music videos. On March 17, the band released the worldwide version of the album titled All the Good Shit.
Drummer Steve Jocz confirmed that Tom Thacker was now an official member of Sum 41, and would take part in the writing and recording. On November 5, 2009, Whibley posted a blog on the band's MySpace page announcing Gil Norton as the producer of the band's upcoming album, also saying that 20 songs were already written for the album. In an interview with Tom Thacker, some working titles for songs for the new album were confirmed, including "Panic Attack", "Jessica Kill" and "Like Everyone Else". Pre-production for the new album took 13 days in December 2009, with the band officially entering the studio to begin recording at Perfect Sound Studios on January 26, 2010. The new studio album, titled Screaming Bloody Murder, was expected for a late 2010 release, but was delayed until early 2011. The band finished recording on June 24, 2010, just before joining the 2010 Warped Tour. While the group was on the tour, the new album entered the post-production stages of mixing and mastering. A new song called "Skumfuk" was leaked online on July 6, 2010. In an interview with Canoe.ca, Steve Jocz said that while producer Gil Norton was originally hired to engineer the new album, he was only around for a week and Sum 41 self-produced the record.
The first single from the album, "Screaming Bloody Murder", was released on February 7, 2011, in the United States. The song had its worldwide premiere on January 14, 2011, on Windsor, Ontario radio station 89X. The album Screaming Bloody Murder was released in Japan on April 6, 2011. On February 28, 2011, a stream of "Blood in My Eyes", another new song from the album, was released for free listening on Alternative Press. On May 28, 2011, Sum 41 performed a live set for Guitar Center Sessions on DirecTV. The episode included an interview with program host Nic Harcourt.
"Baby You Don't Wanna Know" was released as the album's second single. The band shot a music video for the song during a day off in Germany. A music video was also produced for the first single, "Screaming Bloody Murder", but it was left unreleased due to its content and difficulties with the label.
In May 2011, during the band's tenth anniversary Japanese tour, they debuted some new songs from Screaming Bloody Murder, including "Reason to Believe", "Blood in My Eyes", "Sick of Everyone" and "Back Where I Belong". During the same tour, Whibley's cousin, Matt, who served as the band's assistant, as well as video photographer, joined the band on stage as an unofficial member to play the keyboards. He continued to play keyboards during the band's European summer tour in June–July 2011.
On August 9, 2011, Sum 41 released the live album Live at the House of Blues, Cleveland 9.15.07 – a live recording of a show that took place on September 15, 2007, in Cleveland, Ohio, while the band was touring its previous album Underclass Hero.
On August 13, 2011, while the band was touring the US as part of the Vans Warped Tour, making up for dates the group had to cancel on its 2010 tour, the band was forced once again to cancel all remaining dates in the US and Canada after playing only three shows, when Whibley re-injured his back. On August 23, 2011, it was announced on the band's official website the band would be postponing indefinitely all upcoming tour dates for 2011, while Whibley underwent treatment for his medical condition. It was confirmed that the band's first-ever South American tour, as well as the group's first-ever Asian tour (excluding Japan), would all be cancelled, and rescheduled for some time in 2012. In an interview with Jason McCaslin that took place in Oppikoppi, he said that "it's safe to say Sum 41 won't have another album out for at least the next two years". In 2011 Sum 41 was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance for the song "Blood in My Eyes", but lost to the Foo Fighters.
In February 2012 the band shot a music video for the song "Blood in My Eyes", the third single from the album, with director Michael Maxxis in Los Angeles. Shooting took place on February 29 at the desert around the Los Angeles area; it was released a month later.
On November 26, 2012, the band members revealed that they were taking a break from touring in 2013 to begin work on a new record. On April 18, 2013, drummer Jocz announced he would be leaving the band on his official Facebook page, leaving Whibley as the sole founding member of the band. In 2015, Street Drum Corps drummer Frank Zummo was introduced as the new drummer.
On May 16, 2014, Deryck Whibley posted on his website, explaining that he had liver and kidney failure due to excessive drinking. He also said that he had some ideas for new songs, and that the band would be soon starting to make a new album. On June 9, 2014, Whibley said on his Facebook page that he was working on new Sum 41 music out of his home studio to get ready to record some new tunes.
On July 9, 2015, the band launched a PledgeMusic campaign for its comeback album. On July 23, 2015, the band played its comeback show at the Alternative Press Awards, which featured former lead guitarist Dave Baksh, joining the band on stage nine years after his departure. The band's set also featured DMC as guest. It was later confirmed that Baksh had re-joined the band. On December 26, 2015, Sum 41 teased two new songs on their Instagram profile.
The band performed on the 2016 Warped Tour. On May 11, 2016, the group announced its signing to Hopeless Records. The band's sixth album, 13 Voices, was released on October 7, 2016. The first song from the upcoming album, "Fake My Own Death", was released on June 28, 2016, through Hopeless Records' official YouTube channel, along with a music video for the song. The song was performed on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on October 3, 2016. The album's first official single, "War", was released on August 25, 2016. On September 28, 2016, the album's eighth track, "God Save Us All (Death to Pop)" was leaked online, before being officially released (along with a live music video) on September 29, 2016. The band invited fans to record a music video for "Goddamn I'm Dead Again" that was released on May 3, 2017.
Before the release of Half Hour of Power, and up until the departure of Dave Baksh, Sum 41 occasionally played as an alter-ego 1980s 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. The group's best known song under the Pain for Pleasure moniker is the song of the same name from All Killer No Filler, a track that remains the band's staple during live shows and features drummer Steve Jocz on lead vocals. During the Don't Call It a Sum-Back Tour in 2017, Pain for Pleasure appeared performing the song at the end of their show with guitarist Tom Thacker replacing Jocz as the vocalist.
Sum 41 has collaborated with many other artists, both live and in the studio, including: Tenacious D, Ludacris, Iggy Pop, Pennywise, The BurnOuts, Bowling for Soup, Unwritten Law, Treble Charger, Nelly, Gob, Tommy Lee, Rob Halford, Kerry King, Metallica, and Ja Rule.
Shortly after touring for Does This Look Infected?, Sum 41 was recruited by Iggy Pop for his album, Skull Ring. Whibley co-wrote the first single from the album, "Little Know It All", and joined Iggy on the Late Show with David Letterman to promote it. Following the band's show of September 11, 2005, 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 its debut album, We Have an Emergency, in early 2007. As well as playing bass, keyboards, and acoustic guitar, McCaslin contributed backing vocals as well as leading vocals on three songs. The album was co-produced and mixed by Whibley. The group's video for its first single, "Sayonara", was directed by Jocz.
Sum 41 have been described as pop punk, skate punk, punk rock, nu metal, melodic hardcore, alternative rock, alternative metal, thrash metal, and heavy metal. In a November 2004 interview, Deryck Whibley said: "We don't even consider ourselves punk. We're just a rock band. We want to do something different. We want to do our own thing. That's how music has always been to us."
The band's style has been disputed by fans because of the complex combination of different musical styles and the more mature, serious, and heavy sound on later albums. The band's EP Half Hour of Power is described as punk rock, skate punk and pop punk. All Killer No Filler was described as pop punk and skate punk (except for "Pain for Pleasure", which is purely heavy metal). Does This Look Infected? has been described as punk rock, pop punk and melodic hardcore. Chuck was getting heavier opting out the original pop punk sound with a thrash metal sound, but the band kept in touch with its punk rock and melodic hardcore roots, which created an even more mature sound than the group's previous effort. Critics have described Underclass Hero as a revival of the band's pop punk style. Screaming Bloody Murder and 13 Voices saw the band return to some alternative metal influences. Some of the band's songs contain political-social commentary; "The Jester" is an "anti-Bush screed," "Underclass Hero" is a song about class struggle, and "Dear Father" is about Whibley's absent father.
Sum 41 cite The Vandals, Foo Fighters, Green Day, NOFX, Treble Charger, Metallica, Refused, Slayer, Rancid, Pennywise, the Beatles, Elvis Costello, Guns N' Roses, Iron Maiden, Beastie Boys, Run–D.M.C. and Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock as their influences.
Touring in support of Chuck, the band played videos before its set that were deemed "unsuitable for children". Controversy arose over some of the videos' violent content. The group 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.
From 2007 to 2009, Sum 41 ran a series of internet videos, SUM 41 – Road to Ruin (it was originally billed as a weekly series, but episodes were sometimes released months apart). The first episode was released on January 21; it followed the band members' exploits on the group's Singapore 2003 tour. Other episodes featured footage of drunkenness in New Orleans, setting off a fire alarm in a hotel, and a feature about the band's first tour manager. The tenth and last episode featured the band's guitar technician. The group 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.
In December 2009, the band launched a new daily update series from the pre-production of the group's upcoming fifth studio album, which would turn out to be Screaming Bloody Murder, 13 video updates from the pre-production were made and posted on the band's official Myspace page.
Sum 41 has been nominated for seven Juno Awards and has won twice. In 2001, the group was nominated for Best New Group at the Juno awards, but lost to Nickelback. The band was nominated for Best Group in the Juno Awards of 2002 but again lost to Nickelback. Also in 2001, 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, the group was nominated again, this time with Does This Look Infected? for Rock Album of the Year, but lost to Sam Roberts's We Were Born in a Flame. In 2005, the album Chuck won Rock Album of the Year; the group was also nominated for Group of The Year, but lost to Billy Talent. In 2008, the band's 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.
The group also has been nominated for three different Canadian Independent Music Awards. In 2004, the band won a Woodie Award for The Good Woodie (Greatest Social Impact). The band was also nominated for a Kerrang! Award in 2003 for Best Live Act. On November 30, 2011, Sum 41 was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance for the song" Blood in My Eyes", however on February 12, 2012, the Foo Fighters won.
A select list of Sum 41's awards and nominations.
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|2001||"Sum 41"||Juno Award – Best New Group||Nominated|
|"Makes No Difference"||MuchMusic Video Award – People's Choice: Favorite Canadian Group||Won|
|"Fat Lip"||MTV Video Music Award – Best New Artist in a Video||Nominated|
|2002||"Sum 41"||Juno Award – Best Group||Nominated|
|"All Killer No Filler"||Juno Award – Best Album||Nominated|
|"In Too Deep"||MuchMusic Video Award – MuchLoud Best Rock Video||Won|
|2003||"Sum 41"||Juno Award – Group of the Year||Won|
|"Sum 41"||Kerrang! Award – Best Live Act||Nominated|
|2004||"Sum 41"||Canadian Independent Music Awards – Favorite Rock Artist/Group||Nominated|
|"Still Waiting"||Canadian Independent Music Awards – Favorite Single||Nominated|
|"Does This Look Infected?"||Juno Award – Rock Album of the Year||Nominated|
|"Sum 41"||Woodie Award – The Good Woodie (Greatest Social Impact)||Won|
|2005||"Chuck"||Canadian Independent Music Awards – Favorite Album||Nominated|
|"Sum 41"||Juno Award – Group of the Year||Nominated|
|"Chuck"||Juno Award – Rock Album of the Year||Won|
|"Pieces"||MuchMusic Video Award – People's Choice: Favourite Canadian Group||Nominated|
|2008||"With Me"||MuchMusic Video Award – MuchLOUD Best Rock Video||Nominated|
|"Underclass Hero"||Juno Award – Rock Album of the Year||Nominated|
|Underclass Hero||MTV Video Music Awards Japan – Best Group Video||Nominated|
|2012||"Blood in My Eyes"||Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance||Nominated|
|2016||"Sum 41"||Kerrang! Award – Best Live Act||Nominated|
|"Sum 41"||Kerrang! Award – Best Fanbase||Nominated|
|2017||"Frank Zummo"||Alternative Press Music Awards – Best Drummer||Won|
|"Fake My Own Death"||Alternative Press Music Awards – Best Music Video||Nominated|
|"Sum 41"||Alternative Press Music Awards – Artist of the Year||Nominated|