The Sum of all years
Apart from celebrating Sum 41's 20th anniversary, frontman Deryck Whibley is also toasting a personal victory
Sum 41 is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year.
But frontman Deryck Whibley, 36, almost did not live long enough to reach this milestone with the Canadian rock band, known for hits like Fat Lip, The Hell Song and Still Waiting.
Just two years ago, he was hospitalised for liver and kidney failure, caused by years of heavy drinking.
"One day, it hit me really hard and I just collapsed and had to go to the hospital. I didn't know what was happening," Whibley told M over the phone from Los Angeles.
"I woke up in the hospital and I didn't know where I was, and was told that I'd been in a coma for three days."
He was hospitalised for a month and continued to receive treatment at the hospital in Los Angeles for the next three months.
However, due to severe nerve damage and muscle atrophy in his feet from being bedridden, it took a year and a half of physiotherapy before he could walk normally again.
Whibley no longer drinks alcohol and is back on his feet as he prepares for the release of 13 Voices - Sum 41's first album in five years - which will be released on Oct 7.
Its first single, Fake My Own Death, is out now.
Released by their new label, Hopeless Records, it has 10 main tracks that were all written and produced by Whibley.
You wrote on Facebook that 13 Voices saved your life. How so?
At the time (when I came out of hospital), it felt like it was almost impossible to recover because I was in such a bad shape.
Having music to make, a record to make and a tour to go on gave me a reason to get better because I had no choice...
Music was the only thing that I loved, I realised. It's the only thing I wanted to do. And I had a second chance at life, and the only thing I could think of was to make a record.
How did you feel when you heard about your condition in hospital? Were you worried that your music career would be affected?
For the first week, I was sort of in and out of consciousness, so I don't think it really set in...
I didn't really feel at that time that (my music career) was going to be taken away until I got out of the hospital and I couldn't walk, and how long that took to come back from.
(From left) Drummer Frank Zummo, lead guitarist Dave Baksh, bassist Jason McCaslin, guitarist Tom Thacker and lead singer Whibley. PHOTO: SECRET SIGNALS
Why is the album titled 13 Voices?
While I was making this record, there was so much chaotic noise in my head all the time...
I used to call (the noise) the dark voices, and 13 is a dark number. It represents the chaos and noise surrounding me at the time I was trying to do everything sober for the first time and trying to recover at the same time as writing. It just felt like my mind was singing and screaming the whole time.
How much of 13 Voices was influenced by your recovery?
It influenced the entire record, including the music and lyrics. I would say I (started writing the songs) immediately after coming out of the hospital.
Lyrically, it tells the entire journey, entire story, the whole process of coming out of hospital, being at the lowest point of your life, picking yourself back up and coming back stronger at the end.
13 Voices marks the return of lead guitarist Dave Bakshsince leaving for his own band, Brown Brigade, in 2006. What is it like to have him back?
He left on good terms. There was no bad blood. We never really spoke for about 10 years because he was doing his thing and we were doing our thing...
I don't know what led us to speaking (again). He reached out to me one day in 2013 and we started talking and became friends again.
And when I got out (of hospital), he came down to visit me and we stayed friends... and in 2015, we decided to start playing together again...
When he came back, it just felt like he had never left.