Killer album sums up band's talent

MIKE BELL

, Last Updated: 2:42 AM ET

There aren't many more unlikely success stories than that of Sum 41.

On the strength of their second full-length CD, All Killer No Filler, the snot-nose, smart-ass Canadian quartet has become an act of considerable stature.

The album has sold three million copies, garnered them a Juno nomination, an appearance on that show, as well as on Saturday Night Live, and, most importantly, earned them attention from people in high places.

"Noel Gallagher had the best quote," says Sum 41 guitarist Dave Baksh. "He was asked what he thinks of bands like Sum 41 and System of a Down. He said he was happy he was alive during the existence of the two worst bands ever.

"That's awesome."

And surprising.

It's surprising -- though not entirely undeserved -- that one of the Oasis lads has even heard of Sum 41, let alone took the time to slag them so fabulously.

But as baffled as the rest of us are, imagine what the four relatively young Ontario friends are going through.

"It's surprising to us, too, dude," says the 21-year-old Baksh.

"We're just four kids from Ajax; basically still a garage band. Even if it's over before the next album, at least we had this ...

"I don't see why people get bitter in this business. Some bands don't even get the chance to play in front of a thousand kids. That still blows our minds because we come from playing in front of no kids, in front of softball teams just trying to eat cheap chicken wings."

It won't be a handful of thrifty poultry-lovin' pitchers who pack Max Bell on Saturday night to see Sum 41.

With their punk energy and comic, but accomplished, approach to old-school metal, the band is appealing to the same kind of crowds as, say, blink-182, which shared the Edgefest bill with them last year.

Actually, comic is an especially fitting term for Sum 41 these days, considering they contributed the song What We're All About to the Spider-Man soundtrack, and appear in the video with Spidey powers.

"We got to watch a little bit of the movie, except it wasn't with the digitally enhanced Spider-Man," says Baksh, explaining the first time they'll get to see it is in Calgary with some contest winners.

"It was with a shrinky dink Spider-Man. This little shrinky dink on a piece of wire doing flips and stuff.

Another film the Sum boys contributed to has a Calgary connection.

The band covered Helix's Rock You on the soundtrack for the Calgary-made, headbanger mockumentary Fubar, which was critically acclaimed at the Sundance Film Festival.

In fact, joining Sum this Saturday is the band Creeper, featuring the Deaner character from the film.

It's a far cry from who Sum 41 will share the stage with in August when they head back to Britain -- the U.K. and Canada are the band's biggest supporters -- for major outdoor festivals like Reading and Leeds, which boast other headliners like Guns 'N Roses, The Strokes and Jane's Addiction.

After they return, they can put the finishing touches on the follow-up to All Killer.

According to Baksh, it's just a matter of heading back to the studio -- with Greig Nori from Treble Charger, who produced Sum 41's debut -- because, in spite of the hectic pace they've been keeping for the past year, most of the writing is already done.

"Deryck (Whibley, the band's vocalist and main songwriter) -- we haven't really seen him for the past month because he's been sitting in the (bus') back lounge writing -- we have sort of a little studio set up back there.

"Well, he says he's writing," laughs Baksh. "We think he's watching the Playboy channel."


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