Their spiky-haired frontman founded the band 21 years ago, and it only took them a few years until their debut album All Killer No Filler put them on the map, touring around the world and appearing on countless TV sets over MTV specials. In a different time when dance music was far away from the charts, Sum 41 were kings.
But with six albums under their name, and 16 years since their historic debut, Sum 41 are older, wiser, but not necessarily kinder to the past. Whibley runs us through the band's main discography, and while their first few albums were responsible for the band's rise to stardom, he has a different outlook towards those releases.
The band will be performing in Singapore on August 24th at Zepp@BigBox, in support of their latest album 13 Voices. Here's what he has to say about that album, along with All Killer No Filler, Does This Look Infected?, Chuck, Underclass Hero and Screaming Bloody Murder.
All the Good Shit: 14 Solid Gold Hits also know as 8 Years of Blood, Sake and Tears: The Best of Sum 41 2000-2008 in Japan is Sum 41's so far only greatest hits album. In some stores it was censored to "All the Good Stuff" or "All the Good Hits".
All songs that are on All the Good Shit is singles from previous albums except one that being Always. It was a previously unreleased song and the only new on the album. This is the only album to feature both Dave Baksh and Tom Thacker on lead guitar even if they never play on the same track til 13 Voices.
The album is a lot more aggressive, darker and heavier than Sum 41's previous studio album, All Killer No Filler. It also has fewer elements of pop music than All Killer No Filler. Described as heavy metal, horror punk, punk rock, pop punk, and melodic hardcore, the album uses elements of heavy metal, hardcore punk, thrash metal, d-beat and, on the song "Thanks for Nothing", hip hop. Although the album has been described as pop punk by some sources, Counterculture.co.uk considered it an album that shows Sum 41 abandoning the pop punk genre for a more standard punk rock style. Amy Sciarretto of ARTISTdirect wrote that Does This Look Infected? soldifies Sum 41 as "true punk stalwarts". The music on Does This Look Infected? has been compared to bands such as The Offspring, P.O.D., Metallica, Rancid, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Bad Religion, NOFX, Green Day and Blink-182.
The album's lyrical topics are darker than the lyrical topics on All Killer No Filler. Sum 41's vocalist Deryck Whibley said, "A lot of stuff happened in the past year that opened our eyes to new things," Whibley said. "The whole last year has been really crazy around the world. There's been so much stuff going on and it's been so televised. I think we've all become more aware. When we were writing the last record everything was happy go lucky. Now this time we've seen a little bit more and our eyes have been opened up a little bit." The album's lyrical topics include hatred, war, internal demons, disliking the world, suicide, drugs, insomnia and HIV. The song "Mr. Amsterdam" is about an embittered man. Whibley said, "'Mr. Amsterdam' is sort of about a guy who hates everything, very bitter person who kind of hates the world." He explains, "He's against the world." The song is also about the complacency of pop culture in 2002, the year that Does This Look Infected? was released, and technology that was new during the year that the album was released. Whibley explained the meaning of "Mr. Amsterdam", saying, "We depend so much on new technology to make sure that we don't have to do anything. Everything's being laid out so we can sit at home and do nothing and never leave our homes. You can order all your groceries from the computer. You can do anything you want. You can just sit there and become fatter. And I think that's bad."
"Still Waiting" was written after the September 11 attacks. Whibley explained the meaning of the song, saying, "It's not directly about 9/11 or the war on terrorism. It's about the war on everything. It's about the world as we know it. It's no secret that the world doesn't get along and there's all this hatred. It's everything to do with how this world functions." Whibley stated on the band's DVD, Sake Bombs And Happy Endings, that the album's song "A.N.I.C." is a "special love song" dedicated to Anna Nicole Smith. According to him, "A.N.I.C." stands for 'Anna Nicole is a Cunt'." Sum 41 member Dave Baksh said that Anna Nicole Smith is "a fuckin' loser" and also said, "Look what she's doing to herself." Sum 41 stopped including the song in their live performances after Smith died of an overdose in 2007. However, they put "A.N.I.C." back into their setlist during the 2012 summer European leg of the Screaming Bloody Murder Tour. When Sum 41 performed the song live after Smith's death, the band would not show any disrespect towards her, with Whibley saying that the song "A.N.I.C." stands for "Deryck Whibley is a Fucking Stupid Cunt". However, since 2018, Whibley has resumed using Anna Nicole's name in the title.
The cover for Does This Look Infected? shows drummer Steve Jocz dressed as a zombie. It was chosen months before the title. The album was almost delayed by the label because the band members did not have a name for it on time until Whibley thought of the name Does This Look Infected?. The whole band laughed at the idea and chose it. The same idea was also used on the band's EP Does This Look Infected Too?, except Jocz was replaced with Whibley, also dressed as a zombie.
Does This Look Infected? has received positive reviews from music critics. On Metacritic, the album has 75 out of 100. E! Online said that it "has a clutch of songs that mix chord-y abandon with raging rock riffs--and a heck of a lot of good times". Blender also gave it a positive review, saying, "So Sum 41 have grown up... a little.... It's all relative, and, crucially, it still rocks."
Does This Look Infected? debuted at #8 on the Canadian Albums Chart, selling 17,000 copies in Canada in its first week. The album gained commercial success, with singles "The Hell Song" and "Still Waiting" mainly gaining success on the modern rock charts. The album has since sold over 4.5 million copies worldwide, but the album did not have as much success as the band's previous album "All Killer No Filler". 2b1af7f3a8