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Sum 41 call it quits after 27 years–and this may be why

Earlier this year, I met up with Deryck Whibley on a Sunday morning in Henderson, a nice spot southeast of The Strip and where Deryck and his family live after deciding that LA was no longer for them. He looked good.

We talked about living in Vegas vs. LA, high-performance production cars, and the plans for Sum 41. I never got any indication from Deryck that this was the end. Sum 41 was trying to return to normal after the pandemic.

He told me of the challenges of the band’s last tour (Metallica sucked up all the tour buses in Europe so Sum 41 had to go back to traveling in a van between gigs) and his plans for the next album. All the music had been recorded–maybe enough for a double record–and his next job was to finish the vocals. Like the last few records, it’ll be released independently.

I did sense a little weariness, though. Nothing out of the ordinary, considering how long the band had been on tour once pandemic conditions eased. I did ask (perhaps a little forwardly) about Deryck’s sale of his share of much of Sum 41’s publishing (i.e. almost everything the band released), a deal that was rumoured to be well into eight figures (US$30 million? US$50 million? Not impossible.) He just shrugged and said “I’m not the person who looks after that.”

I did wonder, though, what changes I’d make to my life if I had that kind of cash.

Back in Toronto, I ran into guitarist Dave “Brownsound” Baksh at a shoot for a documentary. I told him about my visit with Deryck and asked if he was ready to embark on another album cycle. He definitely was, but was wary about having to go through the touring-in-a-van thing again. As I was leaving, Cone McCaslin, the band’s bass player came through the door. I had more-or-less the same conversation with him.

None of those three encounters hinted that anything was up with Sum 41–at least at the time. Now I look back and I wonder if the signs of yesterday’s announcement (May 8) were already there.

Sum 41 is breaking up after 27 years. There will be one more album and one more tour and then that’s it.

I totally get it. Twenty-seven years is a long time. And let’s remember that Deryck had some serious health issues earlier this century that nearly killed him. Best everyone get out now. Deryck will be fine with his publishing money. The rest of the band will top up the bank accounts on a headlining world tour. And then, as the message says, we’ll see what the future holds.

If I may inject some personal stuff into this: I’ve been following Sum 41 this whole time, all the way back to when they were still teenagers. I’ve introduced them onstage, hung out in recording studios with them, and interviewed members of the band many times. They were always just…there, you know? And soon they won’t be. That is going to seem very weird.

Details on the album and tour to follow.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38413 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “Sum 41 call it quits after 27 years–and this may be why

  • The guys were always so kind, my best friend’s brother knew Dave from Exeter High and so I ran into them a few times right before they exploded onto the music scene. I wish nothing but the best for all of them.

    Reply
  • Hate to play Devil’s advocate… but a band is planning a farewell tour? And we’ll never hear from them again? And they’re all in their early 40s?

    Reply

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