Sum 41 broke out in 2001 with the pop punk classic All Killer, No Filler and the hit “Fat Lip,” and essentially ever since frontman Deryck Whibley had been touring, recording and drinking his way through the music business.
Things came to a head last year when the band’s final remaining founding member was hospitalized for alcoholism, along with word that doctors told him if he had one more drink he’d die.
Sum 41’s Deryck Whibley Hospitalized for Alcoholism: ‘If I Have One Drink The Docs Say I Will Die’
Whibley is now sober and spoke with Noisey about everything he’s been in, revealing he’s working on new music still and recording tracks for Sum 41’s sixth studio album this month, while management is planning a tour.
“I’m glad it happened now and not when I’m like, 50, because my body wouldn’t have been able to handle it,” he said. “But it’s unfortunate that it had to even come to that. However, now I’m feeling better than I’ve ever felt. I’m healthier. I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m more productive. Well, I was always really productive, but I was just good at being a functional alcoholic.”
The recovery will take time. Whibley said he is still having trouble walking because his muscles are depleted after being bedridden in the hospital for so long.
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“There are so many exciting things now,” he said. “So many things are new for me. I’d never done anything sober. I’ve been a hard partying drinker since I was 17 and on tour all the f—ing time, never taking a break. Now there’s this whole world out there and things I’m realizing I’ve never done.”
Whibley looked back at his alcohol-fueled career and said that hard partying had just become the norm, it was a part of the band’s functioning.
“It’s a lot of stress, it’s a tough lifestyle,” he said. “It’s hard to go at that pace without using something to cope. I drank to wake me up and get that fake energy. There were a lot of times I didn’t even want to drink, but I was so tired that shots of Jack were all I could do to get onstage.”
Now he said he’s about halfway through a new album, but it’s not like he’s ready to go back fully just yet. When asked if he had any any fears, he paused for a while before saying, “I have slight fears. Not really drinking fears, but I hope my balance for my legs is going to be fine. I just don’t want to fall over. But I have no idea yet, really. I don’t know what it’ll be like. I’ll have no idea until we go out there, but it could be the best thing I’ve ever done. I mean, if I could be on tour right now, we would be on tour. We’re working on it, though. If there’s a stage, I’ll play on it.”
Read the full interview here.