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sum 41 (interview from 2001)

I'm not great at math, but the equation's not difficult to comprehend. Four fun loving punk rockers plus one kickass album equals Sum 41. I hopped on the band's wagon... err.. tour bus during their Vans Warped Tour and got to know the guys. Upon entering their home away from home, they asked if I would mind waiting for them "to finish watching something" -- that "something" being their performance at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on MTV2. No problem at all. Let's use this moment to better acquaint you with Sum 41.

Meet the group: There's Deryck, the lead singer. Deryck, when first introduced, seems somewhat reserved. As the group's songwriter, he prefers not to write love songs and has sworn off younger girls. More on that later. There's Cone, who plays bass. Cone is the group's poster child for success, or so they've branded him. They, jokingly, swear that their success is due in part to Cone's boy band, good looks. There's Dave, their guitarist, who politely asked again and again, "Are you sure you don't want anything? Soda? Water?" And who can forget about Steve, the group's drummer? Steve is very much the Chris Kirkpatrick of punk. He's a real character. Though, initially, he was quietly assembling a plastic Japanese toy that fans had given to him, that didn't last for long. He soon started on a tirade about the camera man having zoomed in too closely on his head.

Once they were finished with their program, we got down to business... well, we tried to... Put Deryck, Cone, Dave, and Steve all together and you've got Sum 41... and you can't get a straight answer from any one of them!

Lindzi.com: For MTV's All Access Week, you were asked to tape yourselves on tour for TRL. Carson Daly was unable to air the majority of what was taped. What exactly was on there?

Cone: They wouldn't air it?

Deryck: What?

Steve: Did they show the mud wrestling?

Lindzi.com: Yes.

Deryck: Then, what's the rest?

Lindzi.com: I don't know.

Dave: I don't know either.

Lindzi.com: What was on those tapes?

Deryck: Just us causing trouble. They won't show that bad of stuff.

Steve: They sent us this disclaimer. You can't show people under 18. It's hard finding people that are over 18 on this tour, anyway. If you do, you still can't get them naked or anything crazy like that. That's kind of a bummer.

Deryck: You can't show any drinking.

Steve: I'm under age in this country. Here you have to be 21. What number were we on TRL the other day?

Lindzi.com: I think number 3. Do you guys like watching yourselves on TV?

Steve: We love it! Especially when they show my enormous head.

Lindzi.com: Really? Some artists can't stand it.

Dave: Well, we're not artists.

Cone: We're musicians.

Steve: We're in a rock band, baby. {in a sarcastic tone} We just like to drink and get laid all the time.

Lindzi.com: Few rock groups have made it to number one. Why do you think Sum 41 was able to accomplish this?

Cone: Limp Bizkit, Blink 182, POD...

Steve: I think they said we were the fifth rock band to make it to number one and we're the twenty first group to make it to number one. And the only Canadian band to make it to number one! I think it's all Cone... look at that face! Take a picture of this face, please. Who wouldn't fall in love with that?

Lindzi.com: Do you think rock is making a comeback?

Deryck: It's always been there. It's getting bigger.

Steve: Pop just got really popular. Rock's always been popular. I think pop's on it's way back out.

Lindzi.com: How did you land your record deal?

Dave: We're always filming stuff. We had tons of footage that we put together as an EPK.

Deryck: We put our music over it and sent it out to all the labels. It's different. We didn't send any CD's out. It was funny. It spread and people were like, "Have you seen this yet?"

Lindzi.com: How did those tapes compare to the TRL tapes?

Deryck: Same sort of thing.

Cone: Except this time we had only one day to do it. We weren't prepared to do it at all. We didn't know what to do.

Lindzi.com: What's your favorite prank to pull?

Steve: I don't know if it's one prank that we do. I'll tell you the spark of the pranks.... boos. The pranks flow when the boos are flowing. No one really knows what's happening. Except for when we're doing our drive by water gun stuff, but we'd never drink and drive, kids... very bad idea! Of all our pranks, that's the best one. We go up to people and spray them.

Cone: They get so mad.

Steve: We've been in so many close calls with car accidents with people chasing us. One guy got into an accident and he blew out all his tires. He wanted to kick our asses. It was in Canada so it wasn't that scary. He probably didn't even have a gun.

Lindzi.com: Trashed any hotels lately?

Steve: The other day on my birthday, I didn't trash the room... I broke something. It turned into this big thing, but it wasn't barely anything.

Deryck: We don't really stay in hotels any more.

Steve: We started trashing the bus, but then we realized, "That's not cool."

Dave: It's like trashing your room.

Lindzi.com: Okay... then, any fights lately? I heard you got into one with SR-71.

Steve: We kicked their...

Deryck: We can't discuss it.

Steve: No, we don't fight with bands!

Cone: Well, we're friends with every band except them.

Steve: There haven't been any fights... sorta.

Lindzi.com: {laughs} Okay... between the fights and drinking, do you feel you have to live up to the whole rock star facade?

Steve: We don't have to live up to it... we don't have to own up to it! {laughs} Next question!

Lindzi.com: What's the craziest thing you've done together?

Steve: San Fran Porno Van

{{much laughter}}

Lindzi.com: What's the San Fran Porno Van, guys?

Cone: Nah, that's for another day.

Steve: When we strip together that's always crazy. The stuff we do isn't that crazy. That's not crazy -- that's just kind of bizarre. We did it for our album release party. The original idea was that we'd have strippers and it turned into us being the strippers. To practice the routine, we did it in the basement -- stripping down to these thongs. We did it for my mom. She was probably having the thrill ride of her life watching my three young friends.

Lindzi.com: Speaking of parents, what do they think of all this?

Dave: They're happy.

Steve: I'm sure it's a little weird. I'd think it was weird if my mom was on TV all the time.

Deryck: They search around for magazines that we're in.

Cone: They're collectors! They have personalized license plates.

Lindzi.com: How's the tour going?

Deryck: It's like going to summer camp and seeing all your friends that you saw last year at summer camp.

Steve: There's a barbeque every night.

Dave: The Gimme Gimme's set up a bar between the two main stages.

Cone: We're going to start to have a daily mud wrestling event.

Lindzi.com: Where do you get inspiration from when writing?

Deryck: The back lounge. It's just one of those things that comes out. You don't know where it comes from. It pops in your head. Having so much fun is inspiration.

Steve: 'Cause we looove having a good time!

Lindzi.com: I've noticed their aren't too many songs about love on the album.

Deryck: We write songs about every day life. Girls don't like us.

Dave: Maybe if he could find a girlfriend, he'd write about one.

Steve: What's so funny is that a lot of bands write songs about girls breaking their hearts, but all these guys are out mac-ing girls every night. Please, "you don't have a girlfriend." You've got a girl in every town!

Cone: Deryck's a hopeless romantic. Nah, not really.

Lindzi.com: You guys always say that girls don't like you! That can't be true if you're hitting number one on TRL!

Steve: We have Cone!

Cone: Maybe they just like the song and the video! Maybe they don't think we're good looking.

Steve: Maybe it's not just a sex thing!

Dave: Maybe Cone's not a sex symbol!

Cone: People think you're on TRL because of your looks like the Backstreet Boys.

Steve: Come on, let's talk about the Backstreet Boys looks for a second...

{{much laughter}}

Dave: We were all dorks. Nothing's changed.

Cone: I don't like you anymore. I did like you.

Deryck: These are my only friends.

Lindzi.com: Why did you decide to put "Pain for Pleasure" at the end of "Fat Lip?"

Deryck: We put it in the video because it has every style of music that we do. We put it at the end to be different.

Steve: It's also because it's really funny.

Dave: We had all these metal clothes. We thought it'd be fun to dress up.

Lindzi.com: What's the next single?

Deryck: "In Too Deep."

Lindzi.com: Have you already made a video for it? What's it like?

Deryck: Can't tell you.

Cone: It's different than the last one.

Deryck: It's by water.

Dave: It involves the element of water.

Cone: People getting wet.

An acquaintance of the group, Yogi, chimes in: I saw it the first time and I couldn't stop laughing. It's awesome. The song's good. They guys put out good videos.

Lindzi.com: What's something that you've learned through out all of this?

Steve: I never knew I farted in my sleep until I met these guys.

Cone: This is a question I've never had before. I've learned to say, "Next question in interviews."

Steve: You can't this time.

Cone: You get away with farting in your sleep?

Dave: I've learned that if I'm not careful and I tan too much, I'll turn into a piece of charcol.

Deryck: I don't know. What's something you guys have learned about me?

Steve: I learned that he is a bit of an egomaniac... just kidding. {in a teasing tone} I've learned he won't drink any more because it hurts his throat!

Cone: I've learned that he will only go after twenty year olds and over.

Deryck: Yes, I've learned that I'm through with young girls. Younger girls are just annoying.

Cone: I'm sure Deryck would go for a younger girl if they were more mature.

Steve: He means if their boobs are really big.

Lindzi.com: What drives you insane?

Cone: I'll be sleeping and Deryck will come into my bunk and pull me out.

Steve: What drives me insane is looking at Cone's face day after day... always on the bus! Never changing! I'm only kidding. That's the only thing that keeps me together. I love Cone. I love every body... there's no favorites in this group.

No favorites, here! Each of the Sum 41 guys bring such energy to their live shows and to the group dynamic. While they claim that girls don't like them, the experience left me wondering why. They're cute plus talented plus funny... what's missing from the equation? Perhaps, a little confidence? Regardless, the self proclaimed "ugly young goons" are the perfect representation of our generation... for the good, the bad, and the ugly.

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