After more than a decade of making brash, catchy pop-punk together, Sum 41 and guitarist Dave "Brownsound" Baksh have parted ways.
In a statement released by Upper Management, the company that represents Baksh, the guitarist attributed his exit to the old standby of creative differences, but said the split was completely amicable.
"I couldn't continue on creatively in Sum 41 without being a thorn in the side of the band. As people grow, they change," the statement read. "All I can ask is that our fans understand and accept my thanks for being there for me whenever I was feeling happy, sad or depressed.
"The first thing Steve [Jocz], Cone [McCaslin] and Deryck [Whibley] told me was that they just want me to be happy. It was awesome to hear that we all had the same feelings," the statement continued. "We are brothers, and no matter what, they are Sum 41 and they will make an incredible album! Peace love and all of the above."
Fans on Sum 41's official message board were understandably upset over the loss of the band's original guitarist, with reactions running the gamut from alarmingly over-the-top ("This is the worst day of my life, I really want to kill myself right now") to wildly speculative ("Dave is having a child and wants to watch him grow up, and Sum 41 will continue, but with [Whibley's fiancee] Avril [Lavigne] as the guitarist").
According to Mike Renaud, the president of Upper Management, the split was simply a matter of Baksh wanting to focus his creative energies elsewhere.
"Dave and his wife are not having a baby. The reason he's going is because he felt it was time to go. He's got a new band called Brown Brigade, and he felt it was time to make a switch," Renaud said. "There's no bad blood between anyone in Sum, and Dave is incredibly proud of everything he did with the band. It's just that after they finished touring for [2004's] Chuck, they took a break, and in that time, Dave decided it was time to make a switch to Brown Brigade."
Brown Brigade will have more of a "classic metal" feel to it, Renaud said, adding that Baksh is currently working on songs and auditioning singers for the band. He also added that Sum 41 are in the early stages of writing a follow-up to Chuck (see "Sum 41 On Getting Serious: 'I'd Like To Think That We're Still Goofballs' ").
And though he didn't know if the band planned on hiring a new guitarist to replace Baksh (a spokesperson for the band could not be reached for comment), Renaud was pretty certain fans wouldn't be seeing Avril Lavigne playing the leads in Sum anytime soon.
"I don't think that would happen," he laughed. "In fact, I highly doubt it."