Sum 41 Readies 'Infected' Release

Excerpted from the magazine for

For most people, passing out in a deserted field while large birds peck at your head would be unpleasant. For Sum 41, it was an experience that inspired the title of its latest release, "Does This Look Infected?," due tomorrow (Nov. 26) via Island.

Finding themselves incoherent in strange places is nothing new to the members of the pop-punk Canadian quartet, who -- since the multi-platinum success of their 2001 debut, "All Killer, No Filler" -- have enjoyed a whirlwind of wild debauchery while "totally exploiting the fact that we're 21 and in a rock band," as drummer Steve "Stevo 32" Jocz puts it.

With so much expendable energy, only a quick month-and-a-half was spent in New York recording the sophomore vehicle that would enable them to return to life on the road.

Produced by Greig Nori, who also manages the group, "Does This Look Infected?" delivers frenetic drumbeats accompanied by the unlikely combination of melodic guitar sections and aggressive vocals, showcasing a harder and more thoughtful sound than the pop leanings of its predecessor.

"We definitely sought to make this record heavier," singer/guitarist Deryck "Bizzy D" Whibley says. "We wanted a different kind of record without sacrificing any of the melody or harmony we had on the first."

Of the songwriting process, Whibley says he came up with most of the concepts in a little makeshift studio in the back of the bus during the group's first tour. "I write a song and do as much as I can with it before I introduce it to the group," he says. "Then everyone has their input, and it sounds totally different once the band is playing instead of just me."

In sharp contrast to the group's devil-may-care veneer is the vulnerable "Hell Song," which Whibley wrote after learning his best friend had contracted HIV. "That song just came out in, like, half an hour when I just found out," he says. "I wasn't even meaning to write about it, but for some reason that just came out right away."

Along with lead guitarist Dave "Brownsound" Baksh and bassist Cone McCaslin, Whibley and Jocz are in the middle of a small Sum on Your Face club tour to promote the album. The group will then embark on a club tour of England, followed by an eight-week stint in the U.S.

Capturing the kind of crazy antics that made a name for Sum 41 during the success of its first album is a bonus DVD featuring a "mockumentary" of the band's alter ego, Pain for Pleasure. The Spinal Tap-esque expose takes the viewer on a journey from the band's first performance to a rock'n'roll suicide.

Released in a limited run of the first shipments, the DVD will also feature short films illustrating the mishaps of Sum 41's recent international tour through Australia and Japan, along with music by labelmates Autopilot Off.

The first 500,000 copies of the album will also include an access code to a secret Web site that will enable fans to pick from a series of live shows and burn a customized EP for themselves.

Excerpted from the Nov. 30, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the members section.

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