Sum 41 is a Canadian rock band that formed in the mid-1990s; they released their debut album, All Killer, No Filler, in 2001. That album contained their most successful single, “Fat Lip.” The band was founded by frontman Deryck Whibley and former drummer Steve Jocz.
Before recording their first album, the band went through several different lineups before settling on Whibley, Jocz, lead guitarist Dave Baksh, and bassist Jason McCaslin. This was the lineup for the band’s first three studios albums and all three of their EPs. Baksh left in 2006 and Jocz in 2013. Tom Thacker replaced Baksh but Jocz was replaced by a touring musician.
In the beginning of their career, Sum 41 played a fairly straight-forward brand of pop-punk. That sound eventually morphed into alternative metal which has since evolved into a more alternative rock vibe. From the beginning, Sum 41 has not been afraid to explore other musical genres. A hallmark of their sound is their catchy and melodic vocal lines.
Sum 41 was originally called “Kaspir” and they covered the band NOFX. In September of 1996, prior to an important gig, they decided to change their name. They selected “Sum 41” since the gig occurred on the 41st day of their summer vacation.
War is a common subject in rock music. Some bands have written anti-war songs while others have written songs glorifying the battlefield. Sum 41 has actually been in a war.
In 2004, Sum 41 ventured to the Democratic Republic of Congo with a charity organization. While there, war broke out near their hotel. Sum 41 waited for a break in the hostilities to leave but a ceasefire never came. Fortunately, armored carriers were able to take them, and other civilians, to safety. Their ordeal is chronicled in the documentary “Rocked: Sum 41 in Congo.”
The harrowing experience left a lasting impression on the band. To show their appreciation to the U.N. peacekeeper that secured their safe passage, Charles “Chuck” Pelletier, Sum 41 named their third studio album, Chuck (2004).
Sum 41 tickets have been collected all over the world. The band is quite the road warriors. It’s not uncommon for them to perform 300 shows in a year. As of 2014, they’ve released three live albums including the successful Go Chuck Yourself (2005).