Music History

Published on May 28th, 2014 | by Alan Cross

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The Rise and Fall of Sum 41

First, the good news:  Deryck Whibley seems to be on the mend after hitting rock bottom.  If you haven’t read his account of his near-death experience as the result of too much boozing, you should.

Now the more difficult news: Deryck and Sum 41 (what’s left of them, anyway) have a long way to go before they’re back on track.

The CBC’s Geoff Nixon takes a look.

It wasn’t so long ago that a group of young guys from the suburbs east of Toronto burst onto the music scene, just a few years after finishing high school.They called themselves Sum 41.

The Ajax, Ont., foursome were boisterous, fun-loving and ready to blaze a path in rock and roll, playing a type of metal-tinged pop-punk that quickly caught fire with fans.

2001 was the year they hit it big. Their hit album, All Killer No Filler, went platinum on both sides of the border.

Rolling Stone profiled the band and wrote about their rise to fame, which involved a home video mailed out to record labels, a bidding war, trashed hotel rooms and other hijinks.

Deryck Whibley, the lead singer, had been given a two-year time limit by his mother to make it before she expected him to get a job or go to school.

His stepfather, Kevin Gordon, recalls that he and his wife believed that they were being strict when they set the make-or-break deadline. Not so much, it turns out.

“All the other parents had only given their kids one year,” Gordon told CBC News in a recent interview.

Gordon said they expected him to stay focused on his music and to meet expectations — that included respecting the fact that his parents held regular jobs with regular hours.

Sum 41 soon blew up big time. Whibley and his pals were on their way to becoming bona fide rock stars.

“He proved us wrong really quick,” Gordon said.

Continue reading.




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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ 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.


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