Sum 41

Artist Bio

Sum 41 never fit in. They didn’t give a shit or try to either. Instead, they came out of the gate swinging with a signature style punctuated by pop punk singalongs and hard-hitting heavy metal proficiency. As a result, they’ve cast an unmatched shadow over popular culture, tracing back to their turn-of-the-century domination of TRL up to a rapturous set at the inaugural When We Were Young Festival. Within the span of a year, Iggy Pop tapped them for a collaboration, and they paid a fiery tribute to Metallica for MTV Icon. Their music has surged through major franchises, ranging from Spider-Man to American Pie and Bring It On. They ignited a triptych of classic albums—the platinum-certified All Killer No Filler [2001], gold-certified Does This Look Infected? [2002], and gold-certified Chuck [2004]—and persisted in their second decade with just as much piss and vinegar on the likes of 13 Voices [2016] and Order In Decline [2019]. Slant hailed the latter as “a hell of fun ride,while GQ applauded how “the band made it all the way back.” After selling 15 million albums worldwide, garnering two Juno Awards, a Kerrang! Award, and a handful of Alternative Press Music Awards, receiving a GRAMMY® nomination, and packing venues everywhere, they’re going out with a bang—and on their own terms.

Disregarding the rules, ignoring expectations, and following their instincts once again, the band—Deryck Whibley [vocals, guitar], Dave Baksh [guitar], Jason McCaslin [bass], Tom Thacker [guitar], and Frank Zummo [drums]—deliver a fittingly fiery final statement in the form of the double-LP, Heaven :x: Hell [Rise Records]. Heaven is 10 tracks of snarling high energy pop punk, while Hell consists of ten heavy metal anthems spiked with fret-burning solos, thrashing riffs, and fist-pumping hooks.

It’s big, it’s ballsy, and it’s their boldest and best body of work to date.

“Once I heard the music, I was confident enough to say, ‘This is the record I’d like to go out on’,” states Deryck. “We’ve made a double album of pop punk and metal, and it makes sense. It took a long time for us to pave this lane for ourselves, but we did, and it’s unique to us.”

As the story goes, Deryck never even intended to write an album per se, let alone a double-album…

The world went into lockdown, and he was at home with his wife and six-month-old son. The only way to calm the baby was to cruise around and listen to all of dad’s old nineties favorites: NOFX, Lagwagon, Strung Out, Pennywise, Rancid, and Bad Religion. Concurrently, potential collaborators had sought Deryck out to write “pop punk songs.”

“By playing this music for my son, I was falling in love with it again,” he recalls. “By accident, I started noticing my songs were coming out that way. I genuinely liked the tracks I was writing, and I didn’t want to give them up.”

Since he’s also admittedly “a big fan of Metallica, Pantera, and Judas Priest,” some of the material naturally came out heavier. The idea of a double album percolated as he split the tunes into “Pop Punk” and “Heavy Metal.” To be sure of the plan, he decided to share the music with his bandmates (without disclosing his ambitious intent).

“Rather than tell the guys my double album idea, I just sent them the songs,” he smiles. “One by one, everybody said, ‘What do you think about a double album?’ The music was telling all of us the same thing. That’s your best sign right there.”

They heralded the record with “Landmines,” introducing the Heaven side and building anticipation. Meanwhile, Hell’s opener and first single “Rise Up” storms out of the gate on galloping drums and buzzsaw-sharp distortion. During the arena-ready refrain, Deryck grins, “I know you never thought this would be how it ends. I told you I’d rise up!” A bludgeoning breakdown gives way to an incendiary wah-drenched guitar solo played at breakneck speed.

“In 2014, I was in the hospital for liver and kidney failure, and it was a tough road to recovery,” he admits. “It took a long time to not only build myself back up, but start building the band back up and getting to where we are now. Things looked bad and bleak. It felt like everything was over, and most people counted us out. It was about having the strength, faith, and perseverance to build ourselves back up from the bottom.”

A recent composition “I Don’t Need Anyone” gives Hell a distinct and dynamic groove. Anchored by a hypnotic bass line and head-nodding riff, it climaxes on the chantable chorus, “You will see I don’t need anyone.

“It’s the only song I wrote knowing this would be the last album,” he reveals. “I address my feelings. In a way, ‘I Don’t Need Anyone’  is about Sum 41 as a machine. Sometimes, you don’t feel like your pushing it forward; you feel like you’re trapped in it.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Heaven kicks into a high gear with the walloping “Waiting On A Twist of Fate.” Bright upbeat guitar crashes into a gang chant as Deryck sings, “I can’t stand my life, just waiting on a twist of fate.

“I was going through old demo tapes from 1997,” he says. “I even bought a four-track machine on eBay just to listen to them. There was one riff I had never turned into a song, but it inspired ‘Waiting On A Twist of Fate’.”

Among Heaven’s standouts, “Future Primitive” leaps into action with furious drumming and a snotty punk chant. Elsewhere, Sum 41 conjure up an ominous take on “Paint It Black” by The Rolling Stones on Hell. However, the ride concludes with the incendiary introspection of “How The End Begins.”

“It’s very reflective,” he states. “When I wrote it, ‘How The End Begins’ wasn’t intended to be a last song. The first line is me not knowing what to say and questioning myself. I’m wondering, ‘Are all of my best years behind me?’ One line opened everything up.”

Heaven :x: Hell sees the band launch their biggest headline run ever, closing out the European leg in front of over 35,000 fans at the sold out Paris La Défense Arena in Nanterre, France. The trip takes them well into 2025, leaving on a high note.

“I love Sum 41, what we’ve achieved, endured, and stuck together through, which is why I want to call it quits,” Deryck leaves off. “There were so many times we could’ve broken up. For some reason, we kept sticking it out. I’m proud of that. It’s the right time to walk away from it. I’m putting all of my energy into what’s ahead. This is going to be the biggest tour of our lives, and I want to make it the best show we’ve ever done. That’s it.”


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