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Sum 41 is a pop punk band from Ajax, Ontario, Canada. The band was formed from members of several local high school bands, 41 days into the summer of 1996.
The band consists of:
Deryck Whibley a.k.a. Bizzy D (lead vocals, guitar)
Jason McCaslin a.k.a. Cone (bass, backing vocals)
Steve Jocz a.k.a. Stevo32 (drums, backing vocals).
Tom Thacker (Touring Member) (guitar, backing vocals).
Sum 41 reached mainstream success with the release of half hour of power, which sold over 2 million copies. The album was made popular due to the hit singles "makes no difference", the former reaching number 1 on the US Modern Rock charts.
Since signing a record deal with Island Records in 1999, the band has released five studio albums, two live CDs, two live DVDs, over ten singles and sold millions of copies worldwide. As of 2006 the band performed more than 600 times and have become famous for their world tours that are usually more than a year-long.
The members of Sum 41 started out in rival bands in high school. They joke that they met while attending a Hole concert 41 days into the summer of 1996. According to the website Supernova, the band was originally named My Nuts Are Huge Kaspir, and changed their name to Sum 41 for a Supernova show on September 28, 1996. The website also states that they were scouted by Greig Nori of Treble Charger at a Supernova show at the Opera House in Toronto on February 24, 1996. However, the current bassist, Cone, joined the band in 1999, after the band went through several other bassists. They spent many years playing together hoping to make it big one day.
The band carried a video camera with them to film their crazy antics including robbing a pizza place with water guns and performing a dance to "Makes No Difference" in front of a theater (both of which can be seen on both Introduction to Destruction and on some versions of the bonus DVD from Does This Look Infected?).
The band submitted the video footage along with their demo tapes to several record labels. Island Records, wanting to capitalize on the pop-punk fad popularized by Green Day, signed Sum 41 in early 2000.
Sum 41 released the album Half Hour of Power on June 27, 2000. The first single release by the band was "Makes No Difference", which had 2 different videos. The first video was put together using the video clip sent to the record label and the second showed the band performing at a house party.
Sum 41's first full length album, All Killer No Filler, was released on May 8, 2001. The first single released was "Fat Lip" which became a huge hit during the summer, becoming the number 1 rock song in the US for a week. Performances on the Warped Tour during the year further increased the popularity of the band.
Two other singles were released, "In Too Deep", which had a comedy video of them in a diving competition, and "Motivation", a simplistic video of the band playing in a classic garage band theme. The band toured for much of the year, playing 300 shows in 2001, including a co-headlined tour with blink-182 before returning to the studio to record another CD.
The band, along with Ja Rule and Nelly, also covered "Walk This Way" by Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C. in 2002.
On November 26, 2002, Sum 41 released their second full length album Does This Look Infected? Sum 41 altered their style slightly - bringing in a heavier style, while keeping the smooth harmonies they had become known for. The first single released was "Still Waiting" which had them mocking "new-garage" retro-rock under the name of "The Sums" and was a parody of one of The Strokes' videos. Still Waiting was much heavier than what most fans expected.
The band followed up the release of "Still Waiting" with "The Hell Song" which had the band using dolls with their pictures on them and others such as Ozzy Osbourne and Jesus Christ. Their next single,"Over My Head (Better Off Dead)", had a video released exclusively in Canada and on their website, featuring live shots of the band. The video was also on their live DVD, Sake Bombs And Happy Endings (2004), as a bonus feature. It has also received limited airing on various music television stations in the USA and UK.
After extensive touring in support of the album, Iggy Pop recruited Sum 41 for his new album, Skull Ring. They co-wrote the first single from the album "Little Know It All" and joined Iggy on The Late Show with David Letterman to promote the song.
In early 2004, the band contributed to the first Rock Against Bush album by recording the song "Moron", which was also a bonus track in the Japanese import of Chuck.
In late May of 2004, the band traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo along with War Child Canada, a branch of the British charity organization, to document the civil war occurring in the country. Days after arriving, fighting broke out near the hotel the band was staying at in Bukavu. The band waited for the firing to die down, but it never did. A U.N. peacekeeper, Charles "Chuck" Pelletier (also Canadian), called for armoured carriers to take the hotel's occupants out of the hot zone. After 5-6 hours the carriers arrived and the band and the 40 other civilians were taken to safety. The band named their next album Chuck in honour of Chuck Pelletier for taking them to safety. The documentary was made into a film called ROCKED: Sum 41 in Congo, and was later aired on MTV. War Child released it on DVD on November 29, 2005 in the United States and Canada.
Sum 41's album Chuck was released on October 12, 2004. It was a heavy album that had a much more serious mood, without the humor of the band's previous releases. The first single from the album (as well as the only song written after the Congo incident) was "We're All to Blame". The song switching from a fast pace to a slow one represented the band's trip in the Congo, how one minute it was peaceful and the next there were gunshots being fired. The band followed up with "Pieces", a relatively soft song which reached the top of the charts in Canada, and "Some Say", released as a single only in Canada and Japan. The last single of the record was "No Reason", released at the same time of "Some Say", but with no video and only on USA and Europe, which reached #16 on Billboard Modern Rock.
Following the Go Chuck Yourself tour, Sum 41 co-headlined a tour in USA along with Good Charlotte with support from Lola Ray and Hazen Street, then Sum 41 opened for Mötley Crüe on their Carnival of Sins tour.
Sum 41 released a live CD, Happy Live Surprise in Japan on December 21, 2005. The CD contains a full concert recorded live from London, Ontario and was produced by Deryck. The same CD was released March 7, 2006 in Canada under the name Go Chuck Yourself. This version was released under Aquarius Records instead of EMI, the band's former label in Canada. The band had an issue with their producer and their management company, Greig Nori and Bunk Rock Music. Since their management company had a contract with EMI, after the band left the company and dropped the producer, the contract was broken. The Japanese version contained a CD with 5 songs from their live performance. It was originally to be a DVD, but the band was unhappy with the way the filming turned out and decided to put out a live CD instead. The footage is being incorporated into a project along with the rest of the film from the tour.
Following their September 11, 2005 show 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".
On, May 11, 2006, Dave Baksh (a.k.a. Dave Brownsound) announced in a statement through his management company that he was leaving Sum 41 to work with his new band, Brown Brigade. Baksh's departure from the band was said to have been due to artistic differences, and his desire to play music with a more classical metal sound.
On May 12th, Deryck made the first official comment on the subject on the official message board post addressing Dave's departure. Deryck said that they have no plans of replacing Dave, and will hire someone to tour with them and play on live shows, although that person won't be in videos, photo shoots, albums, or have any decision-making power in the band.
During the band's touring hiatus, Cone started a side project with Todd Morse of H2O and Juliette and the Licks. The two-person band, named The Operation M.D., have already begun recording demos which can be found on their MySpace site. Cone lends his vocal talents as well as playing bass and keyboards in the band.
On April 16, 2007, absolutepunk.net revealed that the title for the new Sum 41 album will be Underclass Hero, and will be released on July 24, 2007. The first single from the album will be the title track, "Underclass Hero", which is set to hit radio airwaves on May 15.
On April 17, 2007, the band also released a song on iTunes called March Of The Dogs.
On May 5, 2007, Sum 41 leaked the new single "Underclass Hero" on their MySpace site.
Sum 41 said that their early music (Half Hour of Power) was heavily influenced by NOFX. Another influence on their music was Beastie Boys, especially in their All Killer No Filler hip-hop persona and their Rapcore music found in the "Fat Lip" and "What We're All About" singles. Their later music in the album Does This Look Infected? had heavy influence from The Offspring, as the band itself commented. Also, some metal influence coming from bands like Iron Maiden is noted. In the song "Fat Lip", the quote "Maiden and Priest were the gods that we praised" refers to Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Their album Chuck features a series of songs that can be compared with Thrash metal, and they have named Metallica as one of the main influences on their metal music.
The band's early musical style is often compared to blink-182 pop-punk songs, owing to the catchy melodies and humor present in the work of both bands. More recently the musical genre of Sum 41 has been disputed among fans because of the complex combination of different musical styles. The argument is centralized around the punk streak of the band, and they have been labeled as pop-punk, punk rock and even pop rock. Their lyrics contain some influence and the band's later albums are known for their often politically-driven music.
With Underclass Hero, their last effort, the band stated a return to their prior music mainly from Does This Look Infected? and All Killer No Filler. This album is "more edgier and faster" than any previous album according to bassist Cone McCaslin, but "Is more punk rock and less metal" as frontman Deryck Whibley stated during the production of it.
Sum 41 has become infamous for its self-made, often grotesque, internet videos which have sparked a bit of controversy over the years.
Touring in support of Chuck, Sum 41 played videos before their set which were deemed "unsuitable for children". Much controversy arose over the videos. In one video, Basketball Butcher, which was also included in some versions of Chuck, Steve and Cone play basketball and Cone beats Steve badly. Following the game Steve murders Cone and later dismembers and cooks him. In another video, 1-800-Justice, Cone and Steve are drug dealing brothers, while Dave and Deryck play undercover police officers. Steve shoots Deryck as Cone stabs Dave and they make their getaway.
Sum 41's most recent internet video endeavor is a "weekly" series entitled SUM 41 - Road to Ruin. The trailer was posted on 8th of January 2007 on the Sum 41 webpage. The first episode debuted on January 21, following their exploits on their Japan 2005 tour. The Road to Ruin show can also be found on their MySpace, on YouTube, and on their official website.
Sum 41 made a new video for the song "Underclass Hero" which resembles the video made for "Fat Lip".
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