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About Sum 41

The late-’90s alt-rock landscape was hardly lacking for smart-ass pop-punk bands with their eyes on Warped Tour supremacy, but Sum 41 crowd-surfed above the fray by rewriting the rules of the genre. Formed in the Toronto suburb of Ajax in 1996, Sum 41 swiftly landed on the Island Records roster thanks to the unconventional combination of Deryck Whibley’s endearingly bratty NOFX-schooled whine, guitarist Dave Baksh’s Iron Maiden-worthy shredding, and drummer Steve “Steveo 32” Jocz’s tendency to interrupt their breakneck bops with some Beastie Boys-inspired rhymes and breaks. (They even tore a page from the boy-band playbook of the day, busting out synchronized dance moves onstage.) But while instant stage-dive anthems like “Fat Lip” and “In Too Deep” belong to an alternate early 2000s, where life is one big teen-rom-com pool-party scene, Sum 41’s playful insolence eventually hardened into genuine discontent: On 2004’s “We’re All to Blame,” the band leaned into their metal roots more forcefully to explore War on Terror-era anxiety. Sum 41’s output slowed in the 2010s, as Whibley recovered from an alcohol addiction that nearly killed him. But a fortified five-piece version of the group emerged in the latter half of the decade, with a sober but still seething Whibley aiming his crosshairs at the Trump administration on 2019’s furious Order in Decline.

ORIGIN
Ajax, Ontario, Canada
GENRE
Rock
FORMED
1996

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