It’s been more than three weeks since guitarist Dave “Brownsound” Baksh announced he was leaving Sum 41, and in that time he’s managed to avoid public comment on the matter.
But it’s not because the split — which shocked much of the Sum fanbase when it was confirmed early last month (see “Sum 41 Guitarist Quits Group To Focus On New Metal Band” ) — was a bitter one. In fact, Baksh maintains that his primary beef is with the music industry.
“In a lot of ways, mainstream rock is a competition, like politics,” he told MTV News. “Feelings get hurt — like at radio stations or in the press — and for someone like me, who just wants to play music, all of that means nothing. I’d rather not spend eight hours appeasing someone just so they can give us a little bit of press that probably won’t help us in the long run at all.
“The vibe was still really good at our label, but at radio stations the vibe actually changed — you’d be waiting a little bit longer in the lobby, or some stations didn’t even know you were coming,” he continued. “I started noticing it toward the end of the cycle for [2002’s] Does This Look Infected?, but it took me two years to make the decision [to leave]. The business is so soulless and so heartless, and it was so little about actually playing music, that I just lost interest.”
While Sum were taking a break (they wrapped the tour in support of 2004’s Chuck in September of last year), Baksh decided to turn his attention to the Brown Brigade, the jokey side project he formed with his cousin Vaughn Lal in 2003. And it turned out that he instantly rediscovered everything that had made music fun for him in the first place.
“Brown Brigade was an open topic of conversation between me and the guys, but when I got off the Chuck cycle, I was so fed up with everything that Brown Brigade seemed like a greener pasture,” Baksh said. “As a guitarist — and this isn’t meant to insult Sum’s music — but it was getting way too easy to play. I really wanted to get into my roots and pay homage to the three bands that started me off in music: Anthrax, Megadeth and Metallica.
“I’m not the most serious guy in the world, so Brown Brigade songs are about funny stuff,” he added. “I think that Sum 41 lost a lot of their sense of humor, which is where things started to go wrong. The whole thing got a bit too dark for the public.”
But Baksh claims that Brown Brigade have reinvigorated him and that he’s thisclose to getting to work on the band’s debut. He’s already got a bassist (Vaughn) and a rhythm guitarist (a former Sum 41 guitar tech named “the Craigulator”) on board, and he’s in the process of auditioning lead singers and drummers. So far, though, he hasn’t been able to find anyone who meets his long list of requirements.
“We’ve got, like, 20 songs ready to go, and we just need to find a singer and a drummer. If you want to audition, you’re gonna need to have some chops. You’re gonna have to be able to sing everything from opera to nayabingi music. And if you’re a drummer, you’ll need to be able to play anything and everything,” he laughed. “The basic music is going to be metal and some thrash, some Iron Maiden with some Deep Purple thrown in, too. It’s going to be red-hot. I can’t wait.”
Baksh added that the Brigade will “probably” play some shows in Toronto this summer; there’s even the chance of an East Coast tour around the same time. But as he gears up to hit the studio with his new act, is he at all concerned that he’ll once again become a part of the music-industry machine he grew to hate?
“I guess I haven’t thought of that yet — I’d just be happy setting up behind a pool table and playing for a roomful of kids,” he laughed. “I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, and it’s not a bad bridge to cross. It most certainly will be a bridge lined with gold and platinum.”