After announcing headliners SUM 41 last month, the British hardcore punk festival Slam Dunk has announced another 12 bands (Refused, Deez Nuts, Comeback Kid,..) for next year’s festival!
Sum 41 is back. And this time, you really can’t call it a Sum-Back…
Why? Because they were never gone.
After the venerable Canadian pop punk band dropped 13 Voices in 2016, they toured relentlessly for two years, then went straight into the studio to begin working on Order In Decline.
The result is one of their heaviest, most masterful albums yet.
Sum 41 mixes the heavier songs like “Out For Blood” (which has a super poppy chorus), “A Death in the Family“, and “Eat You Alive” with other sounds, such as “The New Sensation” which seems to blend influences from fellow pop punk act Green Day as well as Muse, which leads to a very interesting mix of sounds.
Of course, Sum 41 also brings their classic sound to the album in the form of “The People Vs…” before turning to a more brooding sound to close out the album with “Catching Fire“.
One last mention, the band takes a brazen stance against the current political situation in the US, with “45 (A Matter of Time)” being boldly open about the band’s (justified) feelings. “The People Vs…” seems to be on a similar note as well, showing that Sum really is on the side of the people.
Order In Decline drops on Friday, July 19th, 2019. You can preoder or pre-save it here. I highly recommend it!
During the last day of Graspop Metal Meeting while the sun was burning us all. We at RMP found some motivation to have an in too deep interview with Jason ‘cone’ Paul and Dave Baksh of Sum 41.
Hi and welcome to your first time at graspop. How has the festival been so far?
Dave: We’ve been up fro like an hour [laughs], so we ran into our friends from Steel Panter and that’s about it. I freaked out because I saw Primus was right across the walkway from us so I want to see if I can shake that golden bashand.
Are there any of your personal favorite bands playing here today?
D: Scorpions, Suicidele, …
Jason: Yeah, Steel Panter,….
D: Primus for me
D: Ow yeah Hatebreed, that’s right! I love that work that Jamie did with Body Count. I thought that was pretty rad. Who else? ..
J: I mean there so many bands so …
D: we briefly looked at the schedule today and those are kinda who we want to see. And Zombie too, I don’t know if we mentioned Rob Zombie.
You already played in Belgium this year at the AB and you had big balloons and you’re own version of an inflatable Iron Maiden’s ‘Eddie’ with you. Can we expect specials today when you close the last day at the Jupiler stage?
D: Ohw, yeah it’s an inflatable ‘bonesy’ we can’t call our guy Eddie. Eddie is exclusive to Iron Maiden. He doesn’t moonlight or anything like that. But today?
J: It’s a shorter set for us so we're gonna play a lot of songs that people know. I don’t think we're gonna go too deep into our albums. It’s only 50 minutes so it's hard to experiment to much.
Why the ‘bonesy’ figure?
D: We always wanted an inflatable, from like the early 2000’s.
J: Actually, funny enough we were talking about it on the last album, after we saw primus at a festival in Hungary. They had two of them.
D: Ow yeah, you were telling me about it.
J: it’s was so windy out there, they blow around, so they had to tie them down. But I remember when we were leaving the festival, we all thought, that’s so cool. So now we have one. [laughs]
D: So we took the first mascote from our first dvd, and it is basically a skeleton taking a shit with a camera in his hand. (Introduction To Destruction) We decided to blow that up.
After 6 years guys are back with an new album called “13 voices”, we were all still waiting on some new material. How has the response been so far?
D: It’s been wild, we never expected this, it kinda started a world tour for us right?
J: yeah, it’s kinda just a hard-rock album, it’s not heavier than everything we have ever done before and it’s not copied. And our fans seem to like it. We are playing a lot of the new songs live and things are going good.
D: It’s awesome to see the different generation join in and sing along to the songs. It’s really cool.
What’s your personal favorite song on the new album?
J: I like ‘God save us all”.
D: Yeah; I like “Breaking the chain” and the title track “13 voices”. That’s are my favorites.
Everybody knows Deryck had some problems. How did you cope with the struggles Deryck had as a band?
D: You where in the band at the time, right?
J: it was just a hard situation. I mean we know each other from we were 14 years old, all of us. So you go true you're 20’s and you party and drink a lot. Like we did, we partied a lot but he ended up having a problem with it. So we done a lot of reflecting like that, we changed things, this and that way. The whole situation was unfortunate and the good thing about is that he is healthy and that’s all we can really ask for. And where here playing stuff so that’s good.
D: I remember I booked a blood test that day, to see if my lever would match his. And then it ended up that I didn't have to go.
Dave you can play almost every metal song? What’s your personal favorite metalsong or metalband?
D: My favorite one to play, honestly, I play it before every single show that we play, an it’s hallowed be thy name. If I don’t play it before every show than the show won't go right.
Cone you got your name because you ate ice cream as lunch at school, is that right?
J: This name is gonna keep going until I am dead.
D: Yeah, we’ve got to give you a cooler nickname.
J: it’s not that funny now that I am 37 years old.
D: Maybe we can change the story so that you beat someone up with an ice cream cone. Yeah there we go, that’s the new meaning.
J: icecreamboy, yeah that’s what we gonna do.
Thank you so much for this interview. Do you have some last words for our readers?
D: Thanks for coming along and thanks for checking out the article. What else can we say, where 20 years old now. We hope we have many more years!
Sum 41 took a few years off how was it going back on tour?
M: Getting back on tour was nice. We were off for about 3 years, so you really get into home life again. But getting back in, all it takes is just a couple of practices, couple of shows and you’re right back into the circle of touring again. And now it feels like we never took the time off. It feels like we’re always on tour, playing shows so it feels good and the shows are going good and that’s all we can ask for really.
How Was the Response of the audience when you announced you were getting back together?
M: We started touring again last year, so 2016. We did some show in 2015. We came back together in 2015 but did only a few shows. It seems like the fans were really into it when we announced cause we were of so long. And there was uncertainty whether the band was ever going to play again and if the band was going to play again. So I guess when we announced that we were going to play again, it’s seems like there was a good response.
You left the band for a long time, Dave.
B: Yeah I left the band for about nine years and I was home, did my own thing and got back to collecting my head, gathering my thoughts together. I rejoined in 2015.
Did you miss being with the band, being on stage?
B: Yeah absolutely, for a good part of my twenties and my late teens this was what I was conditioned to be a part of. And of course I missed the people most of all but there’s a hole, which is kind of a voice inside of me that didn’t get filled until I like got back in the band.
What convinced you to come back?
B: Basically just Deryck and I talking. Cone and I got together for lunch and we all got to chat and talk about things we haven’t talked about in the past nine years. And it was really important for me. Then Tom and I got on the phone and it was just a good vibe. And I was like ok, let’s do it. I was a little bit hesitating at first because I didn’t know how the dynamic between everybody was but once I got to chat with everybody it was like yeah this is stronger than it’s ever been.
You have a new album out but you went on tour before it was released. Did you feel the need to go on tour before releasing new music to let the people know that you’re back?
B: Yeah that’s pretty much exactly it. We got a chance to do the entire world tour.
M: I guess it’s just one of those things that we haven’t played for a long time so that we just wanted to tour but it’s more about awareness, like hey we’re back. A lot of people do social media and a lot of people follow us on Facebook and stuff like that but not everyone does so it’s just the awareness that the band is back, come and see us play for an hour on tour and have some fun with us. It’s good just to do that kind of stuff, being with the band. Not just promoting a record but promoting your band like hey we’re back.
Is there a big difference between the festivals in the US and in Europe?
C: Yes because in the US you do like a festival one day or two days maybe but no one really stays over, the don’t camp out. Here it’s a camping thing so it’s a whole week, four or five days full of just like camping and probably meeting a ton of new people and I can’t even imagine. I’ve never done that but when you see it in Europe it just blows your mind.
B: There is the custom to it; Europe has been doing this for like 30+ years right, in the states maybe 15+.
M: Yeah and I don’t think people, maybe only on Coachella, that’s like the only one where people do some sort of camping. But even then people go get hotels and stuff.
What is the story behind your nicknames?
M: They’re just nicknames from high school really, we all went to high school together so it was just a stupid high school nicknames and some of them stuck.
B: Well yours and Deryck’s stuck, and then mine., I remember that I got during half hour power it was like oh you need a nickname and we just couldn’t come up with one. At one point it was going to be Black Magic but that could be interpreted wrong.
M: Yeah I’m glad that one didn’t come through.
What are the highlights that you’ve had with Sum 41 over the past years?
B: There have been a couple of things.
M: We did a Metallica Icon, an MTV thing so we had to play some Metallica songs in front of Metallica. We did a song with Tenacious D, which is really cool.
How are those guys?
M: They’re hilarious.
B: They’re just as funny in person like they are on stage.
M: That’s just the way they are, they don’t put on an act. They are funny just downtime, just writing lyrics, walking around the studio, writing lyrics and just fucking hilarious.
B: Well if they didn’t put on a show for us, but I think they weren’t, that’s just how they are.
M: I remember watching on TV, we had this channel Much Music, which is like MTV but from the US. I remember one of the hosts going to Reading Festival and we were thinking wow that would be so cool to play something like that one day and then we actually got to play it. So that was a big highlight. We played it with Metallica, which was awesome.
The new album is called 13 Voices, why did you choose that name?
B: It’s kind of like Deryck recovering.
M: Yes you’ve have to have him really explaining it but it was just about when he was getting in the hospital I guess. He was trying to recover and become sober, he had always voices in his head like people talking. Or just people in general telling him what to do and how to do it. He had always had people basically telling you what is best for you and I think eventually he came up with this title, 13 Voices. The first single, “War”, was also one of the most personal songs on the record. When you have an album you have always songs that you like and you should like them because it’s your album. It’s hard just to pick a single so you kind of like with your record company and your management and everyone else surrounding your band. It’s a kind of an open committee, you ask everybody “ok guys what do you think the single should be?” “War” was decided from everyone collectively so that was the strongest single to go with.
B: These days it’s nice because we’ve been a band for 2 decades now and it’s like as far as choosing a single we get to choose a song that means the most to us now. Which is a big thing and a big advantage as far as like really putting the album out there and letting people know what the record is about.
M: And sometimes when you’re in the band you can’t have a decision. It’s hard to have a perspective what the single should be, what the song on the radio should be. You can have your favorite song like I have a favorite song on the record but maybe it’s not good enough for the radio. So it’s good to have these outside opinions because they’re very close to the album, they helped recording it.
What is the next big thing for you then?
M: We’re touring, yes. The US tour with Peirce The Veil, some Canadian shows which we co-headline with Papa Roach. Then we’re going to do some festivals here and then we’re going to take some time off after the summer for a couple of weeks. Then we still have to go to Asia and Australia and probably come back to Europe again at some point.
Let’s close down with something you want to tell us, something aimed at starting bands, photographers, journalists, …
B: If you’re starting out and you’re working on something that you’ve dreamt about. It’s important to focus on that and not try to multitask. A Lot of people are telling that they can do these days. We’ve focused on Sum 41 and for me personally when my focus started straying into 2 bands I lost my way a little bit. So then being back in Sum 41 and focusing on 1 thing is really important. Put your time and your energy fully into something and it will, as long as it is your passion I will be something that is very rewarding.
On October 7th, 2016, Sum 41 released their first record in five years. 13 Voices, produced by frontman Deryck Whibley and mixed by legendary mix engineer Tom Lord-Alge was also the first Sum 41 record in ten years to feature original guitarist Dave “Brownsound” Baksh.
The album starts with a slow building arrangement focusing on synths and strings. After over a minute, “A Murder of Crows” begins with Whibley singing “take me away” repeatedly. The entire track maintains the building feeling, much like the calm before a storm.
Next, “Goddam I’m Dead Again” begins with a poppy clap setting the tempo for the song. The song switches between pop punk choruses, metal guitar leads, heavy riffs, and more. Many different influences can be heard in this song. One of the highlights is the over one minute long guitar solo at the end of the song.
“Fake My Own Death”, the first track released to the public, is a typical Sum 41 song, going back to their roots. They again blend pop punk and metal to craft a precise blend of sound that only they can pull off.
To change things up a bit, although heavy, “Breaking the Chain” features themes of consequences relating to our actions. It reminds me a lot of punk music found in Europe or South America, akin to Die Toten Hosen.
A real standout on the album compared to previous Sum albums is “War”. The song discusses not knowing what we are doing in life, and is a much mellower song compared to others on the record even though it is still edgy.
“Twisted By Design” acts as an anthemic closer for the album. Whibley sings of starting anew, possibly referencing his very public health issues that came to light last year. Thankfully, Whibley was able to recover and has made it his mission to bring more Sum 41 to the fans, and I would say that 13 Voices has fulfilled that mission. Here’s to many more!
Sum 41 – 13 Voices Album Info
If you missed it, we also recently reviewed the “Don’t Call It a Sum-Back Tour” featuring Sum 41, Senses Fail, and As It Is.
During their "Don't Call It a Sum Back Tour", Sum 41 is touring the US and Canada with Senses Fail and As It Is. The tour wraps up tonight in Los Angeles, and I can say the show in San Diego last night was absolutely killer, with hardly any filler (sorry, had to). You can also check out our photos from the tour's stop in Vancouver, BC, last month.
As It Is
As It Is kicked off the show on an exciting note, bringing Jimmy from I Hate Heroes out to scream during their first song. Their 30 minute set was good, but the local engineer seemed disinterested and the guitars were noticeably too low in the mix for quite some time – finally corrected by a very noticeable fader mid-song move halfway through the set. The vocals were also very dry, and could have used a touch of reverb or delay. That being said, As It Is had excellent stage presence, and the performance itself was great, my only complaints lie with the House of Blues engineer who was mixing the band.
These veterans in the touring world stole the show in my opinion. They really brought energy to the crowd, had a good sense of humor, and to be quite honest their touring engineer provided the best mix of the night, even better than Sum 41's. Having been around the world many times, it isn't surprising that Sense Fail could bring such energy to the crowd to get them ready for Sum 41. Lead vocalist Buddy Nielsen encouraged the audience to sing along, which they did on many of the band's more popular songs, including set-closer "Bite To Break Skin".
15 minutes before the band was even scheduled to go on, the audience was chanting their name. The energy in the room was like a bomb waiting to go off. The set started with a medley of recordings, including the classic "O Fortuna", after which Sum 41 kicked into high gear with "The Hell Song", followed by "Over My Head" and "Fake My Own Death", the lead single off of their new album 13 Voices. Through the whole set, vocalist Deryck Whibley switched off between playing guitar and jumping around the stage while letting original guitarist Dave "Brownsound" Baksh play and having co-lead guitarist Tom Thacker come up front for guitar leads. Bassist Jascon McCaslin and drummer Frank Zummo fill out the rhythm section of the Sum 41 lineup.
A highlight of Sum 41's production was that unlike many bands these days, they didn't ignore spotlights and chose to light the downstage area well. Many bands these days opt for only backlighting which makes the musicians very difficult to see, and I am glad that Sum 41 didn't go down this route. They also carried their own sound and lights, which added to the show but I must say I was not impressed with the mix – some songs were great while others were not, it seemed the engineer was not adjusting the mix to fit different songs very well. The snare drum also sounded thin and hollow throughout the set, and the high-mids in the mix overall were standing out in an annoying way.
Aside from the mix issues, Sum 41 played a really amazing set. The band blew through both classics and new songs, though the audience seemed far more interested in the classics. Before you knew it, an hour and twenty minutes had gone by and the band was starting their encore. A surprise highlight during the set was when the band covered Queen's "We Will Rock You", but with their own special twist on it (skip to 6:35 in the video below). Overall, Sum 41 proved that even in 2016, they've still got it and they don't plan on quitting any time soon.
Sum 41's new album 13 Voices is available now through all major retailers.