September 5, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 5  

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Sum 41 has an image
And they like it.

By Lori Mastronardi
Gazette Staff

Gazette file photo
DON'T BE FOOLED BY THEIR INNOCENT LOOK. These guys will do anything to induce some laughs, even - gasp - throw plants at you.

"We don't really do anything."

Drummer Steve Jocz is eager to delve into Sum 41's uniquely chaotic and carefree lifestyle. The remaining three members of this crazy quartet are Derick Whibley and Dave Baksh on guitar and vocals and Cone McCaslin on bass. These four guys from Ajax managed to stumble upon a lot of exposure in a short period of time, thus making them a staple in radio and video play - and theyĠre enjoying every minute of it.

"It's really easy and you get everything for free," Steve explains. "I can't believe it's a job. We're encouraged to do things you were brought up never to do."

Steve reveals the band doesn't feel any pressure to maintain an image "like Avril Lavigne," but rather get to behave however they'd like. "The best part is that our image is that we're dumb goof-offs - we just get to act like ourselves... the trouble is writing music, not maintaining an image."

On girls:
"I live in Toronto near Ryerson, so I always see girls. I always see them at the grocery store. All the girls that go to college are pretty cute. I'm looking at them right now! Out the window!"

On school:
"I would take something dorky and boring like history or political science - something that sounded smart, so i could appear to be smart."

In reference to the Britney, Madonna and Xtina moment:
"That's pretty hot. The idea is hot, but I hate all three of those girls... give me an episode of Melrose Place any day."

Apparently, the band has morphed over the past couple of years, dropping and adding members with relative frequency.

"We've gone through so many bass players - we're like Spinal Tap. We kick people out of the band just for fun... but our bass player Cone is the best looking one. We need him for his good looks. He's handsome, no - he's adorable."

It's obvious Steve is easily distracted and enjoys recounting random events from his life. "It's Cone's birthday today! I have to remember to call him!" Following this sudden burst of energy, he calmly continues, "I'll call him and remind him what friends do on each others' birthdays... I didnĠt get a call on my birthday... and Derick's mom gave him a birthday party and we all had to go."

Steve's rants do lead up to some pretty interesting disclosures. He recounts his odd experience with a fan at Warped Tour. "This guy asked me to sign his leg... and pulled off a prosthetic leg and handed it to me! Another guy grabbed it and ran off with it... the guy probably had to buy it back on Ebay."

Sum 41 has also played their share of evil pranks - perhaps more than their share. "You pick your friends on tour and then you have to pick an enemy," Steve slyly reveals. Steve insists there's a strategy involved in choosing your friends on tour.

"Pennywise are all big and weĠre little guys. We need big guys."

And who are the latest victims to suffer the wrath and pain of Sum 41's pranks?

"We spent time tormenting Placebo with Flex from Pennywise. Derick fucked up their dressing room, he threw plants at their wall... huge tree plants."

The band indulges in everything that is cliché rock, as well as more guilty pleasures than they would like to share. "Our guitar guy, he left, so we had to get him," says Steve.

"Our favourite thing is to use fire extinguishers and we dumped water and put hot sauce in his eyes."

Steve admits the band is proud of how the last album turned out and are optimistic about their presence in the industry.

"We're glad where we are. We know what kind of band we want to be. As long as we keep things fresh and keep making music that we think is good and not phony."

These guys aren't afraid to experiment, as long as it's not something too drastic. Their next album will embody a slightly different sound, as fans can expect to hear more heavy metal.

"Being in the studio can be tricky, but Derick does the grunt work - we do the drunk work," laughs Steve.

He discloses that playing is the easy part of the job and reveals that he gets his exercise from performing on stage.

"We're still growing," shares Steve. "We haven't plateaued. As long as we keep things fresh we have five to seven more years. The four years after that is when people start to hate you... we'd like to be around when people really hate us."

 

 

 

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