Sum 41 revisits the group’s first platinum record
“We went in (the studio) with half an album and I kind of tried to write some stuff while we were there, and it didn’t go so well,” recalls Whibley.
In fact, it took several more sessions, interspersed with touring over almost a year, to complete “All Killer No Filler”.
Yes, says Whibley, he felt pressure to write songs. But that’s not to say doing “All Killer No Filler” was entirely stressful or a chore. In fact, Whibley has fond memories of being in the studio with producer Jerry Finn and his bandmates and having record company money to spend on whatever they wanted — sometimes to the detriment of the work on the album.
“We were really going crazy because we were so young and we liked to party. And we really spent a lot of time and money partying,” Whibley admitted. “And Jerry Finn liked to party. No one was like keeping us in line.
In the end, of course, Whibley came up with the remaining songs needed for the album. “All Killer No Filler” arrived in May 2001, with the first single, “Fat Lip”, released a month before the album. That summer, Sum 41 joined the Warped Tour, and it was in the midst of this touring alt-rock festival that everything changed pretty instantly for the band.
Sum 41 had been offered a slot to open MTV’s 20th anniversary celebration concert broadcast and recruited Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee and Judas Priest singer Rob Halford to join in on the performance. a mix of songs. The performance drew praise, and when Sum 41 joined the Warped Tour, their sets drew bigger and bigger crowds, as “Fat Lip” took off. Before “All Killer No Filler” ended its run, it had gone platinum and produced two more popular singles, “In Too Deep” and “Motivation”.
Then it was on to the second album, and Sum 41 discovered there was some truth to the saying that it took six weeks to make the second record. In fact, it was more like five weeks to write and five weeks to record what became the 2002 release, “Does That Look Infected?”
Despite the compressed schedule, Whibley and Sum 41 delivered another solid album. If it’s not as successful as the debut album, “Does It Sound Infected?” went gold anyway and gave the band a top 10 modern rock single in “Still Waiting” and a top 15 single in “The Hell Song”. More importantly, it cemented Sum 41’s place as an established group.
The band went on to release five more studio albums, going through several personnel changes along the way. Today the band includes Whibley, longtime bassist Jason “Cone” McCaslin, guitarist Dave Baksh (who left the band in 2006, but returned in 2015) and newer recruits Tom Thacker (guitar/keyboards ) and Frank Zummo (drums).
And while Sum 41 revisits their first two albums on tour, they’re also planning to release a new double album, “Heaven and Hell,” later this year. Half “Heaven” will be in the vein of Sum 41’s early pop-punk sounds, while “Hell” will align more with the heavier, more metal-influenced songs of the band’s more recent albums. Whibley had no idea he was embarking on such an ambitious project at first.
“I was writing music because I had been contacted by managers, labels and artists who wanted to know if I would be willing to write songs for them,” Whibley said. “And as I started writing them, I started to think well, actually, I like them. I don’t want to give them away. So I wasn’t sure what I was going to do it.
“I said OK, I have to listen to all these songs,” he said. “I’m going to put all the pop-punk songs in a row, then I’m going to put all the big songs in a row, put them on a record and roll listening to them. So I did. And when I walked through it, I was like it felt like a [expletive] double album for me, and it sounds pretty good.
Sum 41 with simple plane
7 p.m. May 24. $37.75 – $43.75. The Tabernacle, 152 Luckie St. NW. Atlanta. 404-659-9022, tabernacleatl.com.