When it came time for Sum 41 to start work on their fourth Island album,singer/songwriter/ guitarist Deryck Whibley wasn't even sure there was a band after the exit of original member, guitarist Dave Brownsound, and the split with their old management company.
"We were kind ofleft with nobody," says Whibley, who ended up producing the album himself. "And all the odds were stacked against us. People were saying we couldn't recover from all these changes. There was so muchdoubt."
The result, Underclass Hero, marks a step in a bold new direction for the group, whose three full length albums, 2001's All Killer No Filler, 2002's Does This Look Infected and 2004's Chuck,have sold over 7 million units worldwide.
"We haven't been this together since our first album," boasts Deryck. "I would only have done this record if everyone was into it. There was no point otherwise.There was a lot of negative energy out there."
For the new album, Whibley was forced to look inward and make the songs his most personal yet, dealing with his absent dad ("Dear Father ") and"Walking Disaster"), Dave quitting the band ("So Long Goodbye"), and his inner demons ("Speak of the Devil" and Count Your Last Blessings").
Continuing the direction of more political songs like Does ThisLook Infected's "Still Waiting" and Chuck's "We're All to Blame" are harsh condemnations of the current administration such as "Confusion and Frustration in Modern Times," "March of the Dogs" and "TheJester," the latter two particularly critical of Bush.
"I had to decide what I wanted to say with my music," explains Whibley. "I asked myself all these questions and then just pulled up my ownanswers and started writing songs based on those themes. I wanted to make an album that meant something important from beginning to end. I wanted it to have relevance and significance. It's not a...