After tracking drum parts in Los Angeles, then shifting operations to their hometown of Toronto, Sum 41 have at least one more trip scheduled before they release the follow-up to 2002’s Does This Look Infected? And this one’s sure to give their frequent-flyer miles a boost.
The pop-punk quartet will visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo in mid-May to film a documentary on the war-torn African country, according to an Island Def Jam spokesperson. “From the Front Lines,” produced by the Canadian charity organization War Child, will detail Sum 41’s two-week trip to the Congo, where they will examine human rights, the history of the conflict, poverty and the role of child soldiers — some of whom were forcibly enlisted — as well as interview children for their perspective on the issues they face.
More than 3.3 million people, mostly women and children, have died in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s civil war since 1998. Most of the fighting stems from the desire to control the country’s natural resources, including diamonds, gold, oil, and especially coltan, a key metallic ingredient in cell phones, pagers, computers, stereos and other electronic devices. Rebel groups frequently attack villages for control of Congo’s mineral mines, then use the money to further fund their war efforts. The fighting has taken its toll on hospitals and clinics so that thousands of children die from common, preventable diseases. United Nations peacekeepers have been deployed in some areas.
Upon learning of the wide-scale atrocities and extraordinary death toll in the Congo, Sum 41 took the initiative and contacted War Child about getting involved, a War Child spokesperson said. The band’s look at the Congo will comprise one-third of the documentary. The remainder of the film will focus on two other African countries plagued with similar problems. “From the Front Line” is expected to surface by the end of the year.
Founded in 1999, War Child Canada is one of three War Child offices, with War Child UK and War Child Netherlands, that provides humanitarian assistance to children affected by war by working closely with the music industry. The organization also creates awareness and support for children’s rights worldwide. In 2001, it produced the award-winning documentary “Musicians in the War Zone,” featuring Our Lady Peace frontman Raine Maida and his wife, singer Chantal Kreviazuk, in Iraq, Sierra Leone and on the Thai/ Burmese border. More information on the organization can be found at www.warchild.org.
Sum 41’s African excursion will come a month after Sum 41’s anti-Bush tirade, “Moron,” appears on the 26-track CD/DVD compilation Rock Against Bush Vol. 1, due April 20. Others contributing to the album include New Found Glory, Green Day, the Offspring, the Ataris and NOFX (see “Good Charlotte, Green Day, NOFX To Rock Against President Bush” ).
Sum 41 are expected to finish work on their as-yet-untitled third album before leaving for Africa. Produced by Greig Nori, who also produced Does This Look Infected? and 2000’s Half Hour of Power, the album is slated to drop in late summer or early fall, according to a label spokesperson.