Music / Sum 41

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sum_41.jpg
I don't want to waste my time,
Become another casualty of society,
I'll never fall in line,
Become another victim of your conformity,
And back down.
"Fat Lip"

Sum 41 is a pop punk rock band from Ontario, Canada, formed in 1996 by vocalist/guitarist Deryck Whibley and drummer Steve Jocz "some 41 days into the summer." They were soon joined by lead guitarist Dave Baksh and after a set of bass guitarist they finally settled on Jason "Cone" McCaslin in 1999. Their first album, All Killer, No Filler, was released in 2001 and spawned their most successful single, "Fat Lip".

Their follow-up album Does This Look Infected? was released in 2002. It featured a darker sound and also more serious lyrical themes. This continued onto their third album Chuck, released in 2004. In 2006, Baksh left the band to focus on his own band Brown Brigade. He was replaced by Tom Thacker, who was initially only a live member, while their 2007 album Underclass Hero was recorded as a trio. Thacker became an official member in 2009 and helped to co-write title track for (but did not record on) their fifth studio album Screaming Bloody Murder, released in 2011.

The band's primary musical style is punk pop, but also includes various sub-genres such as Rap Rock ("What We're All About," "Fat Lip"), Emo Music ("Pieces"), horrorcore ("Still Waiting," "The Hell Song"), melodic hardcore ("We're All To Blame," "Fake My Own Death") and various types of Heavy Metal.

Drummer Steve Jocz left the band in April of 2013, leaving Deryck as the sole remaining founding member. He was replaced by Frank Zummo, who performed on their sixth album, 13 Voices. The new album also marks the return of lead guitarist Dave Baksh, making Sum 41 a 5 piece as Tom remained with the band as well.

Members (current members in bold)

  • Deryck Whibley - lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards, occasional drums (1996 - present)
  • Steve Jocz - drums, backing and occasional lead vocals (1996 - 2013)
  • Dave "Broundsound" Baksh - lead guitar, backing vocals (1998 - 2006) (2015 - present)
  • Jason "Cone" McCaslin - bass, backing vocals (1999 - present)
  • Tom "Brown Tom" Thacker - guitar, backing vocals, keyboards (2009 - present; 2006 - 2009 as touring member)
  • Frank Zummo - drums, backing vocals (2015 - present)

Discography

  • "Half Hour of Power" (2000, EP)
  • "All Killer, No Filler" (2001)
  • "Does This Look Infected?" (2002)
  • "Chuck" (2004)
  • "Go Chuck Yourself" (2005, released in Japan as Happy Live Surprise)
  • "Underclass Hero" (2007)
  • "All the Good Shit" (2008)
  • "Screaming Bloody Murder" (2011)
  • "Thirteen Voices" (2016)


They provide examples of the following tropes:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Tom's nickname, Brown Tom comes from Steve almost calling him Brownsound, the nickname of then-former guitarist Dave Baksh.
  • The Alcoholic: Deryck admitted, that he used to drink very excessively. He eventually stopped after he collapsed and doctors told him, that if he had one more drink, he would probably die.
  • All Drummers Are Animals: Steve.
  • Alter Ego Acting: As Pain for Pleasure (see below). Also in music video for Still Waiting, they performed as The Sums and were renamed. Deryck was Sven, Dave was Holmes, Steve was Sergio and Cone was Thurston.
  • Ascended Extra: Tom, as of 2009.
  • Breakup Song: “Pieces”, “Time for You to Go”, “What Am I to Say”, “Blood in My Eyes” and “Baby, You Don’t Wanna Know”. Note that 4 of these 5 songs were recorded after the divorce from Avril Lavigne
  • Call Back: Bridge to the song Subject to Change (found on japanese version of Chuck) is the same as at the end of No Reason (another, earlier song from the same album). And of course, chorus of the former song was later re-used as chorus to Underclass Hero.
  • Canada, Eh?: The band hail from Ajax, a sleepy town in Ontario.
  • Careful with That Axe: “Mr. Amsterdam”
  • Celebrity Song: “A.N.I.C.”
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Half Hour of Power and All Killer, No Filler were both very upbeat, MTV-friendly pop-punk albums. They were followed by the hardcore/horror punk inspired Does This Look Infected?. Nearly all of their subsequent albums have continued the darker sound, save the much lighter Underclass Hero.
  • Country Matters: "A.N.I.C.", which stands for "Anna Nicole Is A Fucking Stupid Cunt."
    • Also in "Ma Poubelle". The song contains a line "Tu sais tu es ma petite fleur, avec une plotte qui est comme du beurre", which translates to "You know you are my little flower, with a cunt that's like butter".
  • Darker and Edgier: Does This Look Infected? was this to All Killer, No Filler and Chuck was this to Does This Look Infected and finally Screaming Bloody Murder is this to Underclass Hero.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In Basketball Butcher, Stevo murders (and later cooks and eats) Cone simply because he beat him in a basketball match.
  • Drugs Are Bad: “Angels With Dirty Faces”
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Half Hour of Power, although it's actually slightly shorter, with the 30 minutes length being padded out by three minutes of silence after the last song.
  • Fading into the Next Song: They use this a lot. "Grab the Devil by the Horns" to "Machine Gun", "Summer" to "32 Ways to Die" to "Second Chance for Max Headroom", "Dave's Possessed Hair" to "Ride the Chariot to the Devil", almost entire All Killer No Filler, "Thanks for Nothing" to "Hyper-Insomnia-Para-Condroid" to "Billy Spleen", “Intro” to “No Reason” to "We're All to Blame", and all three parts of “A Dark Road Out of Hell”.
  • Flipping the Bird: At concerts, Derick leads the audience in the "41 Salute," which consists of holding up four fingers on the left hand and the middle finger on the right.
  • Genre Roulette: Mostly varieties of rock, but they've done Pop Punk, Horror Punk, Hardcore Punk, Rap Rock, Emo Music, Alternative Rock and even Thrash Metal.
  • Genre Shift / New Sound Album: See above.
  • Gratuitous French: "Ma Poubelle". Although the song is entirely in French, Deryck uses English accent.
  • Greatest Hits Album: ‘’All the Good Shit’’
  • Heavy Metal: They had an Alter Ego Acting band named Pain for Pleasure, where they performed in wigs and costumes and used nicknames - Steve (who was lead vocalist here) was Pain, Deryck (drummer) was Gunner, Dave was Pleasure and Cone was Sniper. They recorded three songs under this monicker: Pain for Pleasure, Reign in Pain and WWVII Parts 1 & 2. They also appeared as this in two of their music videos: Fat Lip (where they performed their self-titled song) and We're All to Blame (where they were announced as next band to perform on Solid Gold). Incidentally, Deryck is shown as guitarist in both of those appearances, although he actually played drums in this band.note 
  • I'm a Humanitarian: In one of their web videos, Basketball Butcher, after losing against Cone in basketball match, Steve kills him and then cooks him. Later, Deryck and Dave come in. They ask him what is for the dinner. Steve replies with "You!".
  • Incredibly Long Note: Dave has one near the end of “How You Remind Me”.
    • Deryck has one at the end of one their live performances of "The Hell Song."
  • Ink-Suit Actor: The band, in it's original incarnation, were animated into an episode of King of the Hill where they played a Christian rock band.
  • Insult Backfire: Noel Gallagher once called them "the worst band in the world". They liked it enough to use it as a slogan for a while.
  • Intentionally Awkward Title: Does This Look Infected?
  • Lighter and Softer: While darker than All Killer No Filler, Underclass Hero was this to the album previous album Chuck and sounds closer to Does This Look Infected.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "My Direction," a fun punk song, not to mention one of only two songs on the album in a major key, about how suicide rates in North America had gone up in the last 30 years.
  • Metal Scream: Once again, “Mr. Amsterdam”
  • Miniscule Rocking: "A.N.I.C." is a scant 37 second on the album, and concerts usually play it even faster.
  • Mood Whiplash: Chuck is especially made of this. Not only does it put relatively softer songs ("Some Say", "Pieces" and "Slipping Away") between fast and aggresive songs, but even some of the heavier songs on the album have slower, melodic parts such as on "We're All to Blame" (aggresive verses, calm choruses) or "88" (which has calmer first verse and the outro, but is otherwise fast and heavy).
  • Nobody Loves the Bassist: Cone is the only one to not rap on both “Fat Lip” and “What We’re All About”.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Sorted by albums, excluding some partial examples and istrumentals.
    • Half Hour of Power: "Machine Gun", "Summer" (also on All Killer, No Filler), "Second Chance for Max Headroom" and "Dave's Possessed Hair".
    • All Killer No Filler: "Introduction to Destruction", "Fat Lip", "Crazy Amanda Bunkface" and "Heart Attack".
    • Does This Look Infected?: "The Hell Song", "A.N.I.C.", "No Brains", "Mr. Amsterdam", "Hyper-Insomnia-Para-Condriod", "Billy Spleen" and "Hooch." "Thanks For Noting" just barely averts this.
    • Chuck: "Angels with Dirty Faces", "Welcome to Hell", "88", "Moron", "Noots" and "Subject to Change".
    • Underclass Hero: "Underclass Hero", "Speak of the Devil", "With Me", and "Confusion and Frustration in Modern Times".
    • Screaming Bloody Murder: "Screaming Bloody Murder", "Jessica Kill", "Crash" and "Exit Song",
  • Ode To Sobriety: "War," inspired by Deryck's stint in rehab for his alcoholism. While there, he realized he needed to set a goal for himself to get sober, that goal being continuing to perform. His mantra of "What am I fighting for?" became the song's refrain.
  • Perishing Alt Rock Voice: In the outro to “Skumfuk”
  • Power Ballad: “Slipping Away”, “Pieces”, “With Me”, and “What Am I To Say”
  • Protest Song: “Still Waiting”, “Underclass Hero”, and the majority of ‘’Chuck’’.
  • Pun-Based Title: The band's name comes from the fact that they formed "some 41 days into the summer."
  • Punk Rock
  • Put on a Bus / The Bus Came Back: Dave Baksh.
  • Rap Rock: Many of their earlier songs, especially "Fat Lip" and "What We're All About," as a holdover from Deryck's brief tenure in a rap group prior to the band forming. "The Fall and the Rise" from 13 Voices has elements of this. They also collaborated with Ludacris for a rock version of "Get Back."
  • Rock Trio: During Underclass Hero era they officially consisted only of Deryck, Cone and Steve (Tom was a live member only and as such did not play on the album, nor did he appear in music videos). Screaming Bloody Murder was also recorded in three piece despite Tom Thacker already being a member of the band at that point (he did get a co-writing credit for title track, though).
  • Rockumentary: Rocked: Sum 41 In Congo. Subverted in that it's not so much about the band and their music as it is their experience visiting the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa and getting caught in a deadly shootout. See "War Is Hell" for more.
  • Special Guest: Kerry King on What We're All About.
    • Sum 41 themselves performed on Little Know It All by Iggy Pop and Get Back by Ludacris.
  • Stage Name: Cone was born Jason (Jay) McCaslin. Deryck gave him the nickname in high school when he always saw Jay eating ice cream cones at lunch.
  • Start My Own: Dave Baksh, left the band in 2004 to start his own band, Brown Brigade, who released one album, then quickly dissolved.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Aside from singing on Pain for Pleasure songs, Steve also rapped on Fat Lip, What We're All About and Thanks for Nothing (along with Deryck and in case of first two, Dave).
  • Studio Chatter: At the beginning of “We’re All to Blame”.
    • Also prevalent in "What' We're All About." After the line "I was drinkin' underage, I belong onstage," you can hear Cone in the right speaker saying something along the lines of "You ready?". A few seconds later, you can hear a woman saying, "Five," probably alluding to when he was supposed start up playing the bass again.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: “Slipping Away”, “Pieces”, “With Me”, “What Am I To Say”, bits of “Happiness Machine”, and “Crash”
  • The Something Song: "The Hell Song," "Exit Song."
  • Title Track: Underclass Hero, Screaming Bloody Murder and 13 Voices
  • Trash the Set: The end of Still Waiting video. Also in Walking Disaster.
  • War Is Hell: After recording Does This Look Infected?, the band took a break from music to join War Child Canada (the Canadian equivalent of The Peace Core), which sent them to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa to work with Congolese youths. While there, they witnessed the country's long-ongoing war firsthand, and were later caught in a deadly crossfire between rebel soldiers and government troops which destroyed their hotel. The band and everyone else staying there were trapped for two days with the rest of the guests until they were rescued by a peacekeeper named Chuck Pelletier, who brought them safely home. Most of their following album, named Chuck in Pelletier's honor, was written to reflect on the experience.
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