Sum 41 has shot out of the Canadian north to give new punk a run for it's money. Have they taken the mantle from Blink 182 and Green Day? With an attitude that's refreshingly modest and at the same time cocky they have an agenda - even if they don't know it yet - to create an identity that's all their own.
Livewire's Phil Bonyata recently had the chance to chat with singer/co-founder Deryck "Bizzy D" Whibley about what is today and what might be tommorrow.
Livewire: Why the name Sum 41?
Deryck: No reason really, we started the band 41 days into the summer and we thought it was a good name. You know, a California thing.
Livewire: In your bio you refer to yourselves as four ugly, young goons from Toronto, Canada. You don't think you're good looking?
Deryck: Not really, I mean I think we're all kinda f*cked-up looking.
Livewire: I actually think you guys look pretty cool in a punky/bratty kinda way.
Deryck: Yeah, It's a amazing what Photoshop can do. (laughs)
Livewire: Do you consider yourself a rock star?
Deryck: A rock star, no not really. I don't even know what a rock star is.
Livewire: Mick Jagger's a rock star.
Deryck: I'm not as big as Mick Jagger, so I'm not a rock star.
Livewire: You recruited Jerry Finn (who produced Green Day and Blink 182) to produce your full-length debut All Killer, No Filler. Do you think that your music sounds a lot like Green Day or Blink?
Deryck: No, I don't think any of those guys have done rap or metal. I think we do a lot of different stuff than those bands.
Livewire: What do you do to keep yourself sane on the road?
Deryck: Um, It's not really that hard. We're always hanging out and going out... go to bars doing everything that we'd normally be doing at home.
Livewire: So it's all beautiful women and booze every night, right?
Deryck: Well, not every night. (laughs).
Livewire: How many nights do you actually perform every week?
Deryck: We take one night off a week. So we're up on stage six nights a week.
Livewire: How old are you?
Deryck: I just turned 22. The rest of the band are 20 and 21.
Livewire: What's the weirdest thing to happen to you on the road?
Deryck: Not that many goofy things happen. We all hang out like a big summer camp. Our van spontaneously combusted recently. We were just driving and we kept smelling smoke and we were like "What the hell is that smell" and we thought it was just the street. We were in the middle of Los Angeles on the busiest street in rush hour. We looked back and all this smoke was pouring out of the vents. Oh shit, like the van was on fire. It was an electrical fire so all the doors and windows wouldn't open, so luckily the front window was already open and we all jumped out. We were trying to pull out all of our equipment as the fire was getting bigger and bigger. We were throwing equipment out into the middle of the street and everyone was honking at us and out of nowhere this dude comes running out with a fire extinguisher that he had in his car and put the whole fire out.
Livewire: Do rabid fans make you nervous?
Deryck: Um, I never really know how to react. I'm kind of a shy person. I really don't know what to say to people. It's hard for me to react to a lot of people. There's always a couple of psycho fans out there, but mostly they're not crazy - they're excited and want to have a good time.
Livewire: Do you see your music going in a new direction on your next album?
Deryck: I know we get bored quickly with stuff, so I could see us changing. Um, we never said we are a punk band or anything. I think it's healthy to grow. We definitely plan on changing.
Livewire: Are you working on your next album and when is it coming out?
Deryck: We haven't been writing a lot because we've been busy touring, but we still try to write on the road. We're planning to have our new album out in October.
Livewire: What music lit your balls when you were growing up?
Deryck: When I was really young I was into the Beatles and stuff like that. That was the stuff my parents were into, the Rolling Stones and stuff like that. When I started to form my own opinion, I got into Guns 'n Roses, Nirvana... all the hard rock stuff.
Livewire: Do you consider your band to be accomplished musicians?
Deryck: Oh, definitely not (laughs). Dave's a really good guitar player, but the rest of us...shit. We're playing all the time now. We're just really, really bad.
Livewire: What do you like to do when you're not touring?
Deryck: We like to do the same thing we do on the road and that we do in every city. Go to strip clubs, stuff like that.
Livewire: If you could tour with anyone who would it be?
Deryck: Probably Iron Maiden. I think that would be a fun tour because they're so hard.
Livewire: Who helped create punk music?
Deryck: Obviously the Ramones, New York Dolls, Sex Pistols, but that stuff was way before my time. I wasn't super into it.
Livewire: What about Iggy and the Stooges?
Deryck: Yeah, you would definitely have to throw Iggy in there.
Livewire: Do you guys do a lot of hotel trashing?
Deryck: Um, not like intentionally. It doesn't necessarily have to be hotels. We did a hometown show in Toronto about three or four days ago, so all of our friends came. All of our friends were totally drunk and out of control, so we had 10 or 15 of our friends back. We were throwing everything around. Someone brought us these big "Welcome Home" cakes and we threw everything up on the ceiling and that was the point of the game to make everything stick to the ceiling. A big cake got thrown up and just stuck there and our promoter came in and was freaking out and yelling at us and he was standing right under the cake as pieces were falling down on him. He stopped and yelled "What the f*ck is going on in here?" as little chocolate bits kept falling on his head. He was totally pissed off. There was pretty much a whole loaf of bread, every piece of meat and everything that you could imagine was stuck to the ceiling.
Livewire: Who's the hottest female singer out there today?
Deryck: I'm trying to decide whether Shakira is hot or not. I think she's pretty hot, but I think she's too over dramatic. Gwen Stefani is as hot as hell.
Livewire: What do you think of The Osbournes on MTV?
Deryck: You know I've never seen the show, being on the road and all, but I hear it's real funny.
Livewire: Could you see Sum 41 having their own reality show?
Deryck: Definitely not! People have actually approached us on this. We've been approached six or seven times. We're not into that right now.
Livewire: Where did you get the nickname Bizzy D?
Deryck: Dave gave it to me. Meaning was I was in high school and in a band and Dave said you're so f*cking busy that I'm gonna call you Bizzy D now. That's it, pretty simple.
Livewire: Your website resembles an early 80s video game, what kind of games do you play?
Deryck: I don't play video games that much anymore, but I used to play Atari all the time when I was a kid. Right now the only game I play now is Grand Theft Auto III because it has a lot of killing. It's pretty violent.
Livewire: Why would I want to buy your new DVD "Introduction to Destruction (Video Treats to Move Your Feet)?"
Deryck: A lot of things are like just live shows and if you're a fan and want to know who we are and what we're about. It's got everything from the first time we started the band until now. Everything we've ever done. Two hours of backstage road tour stuff. If you wanna come on tour with us, watch the DVD.
More Sum 41
Live Review - Milwaukee, April 29, 2002