Deryck Whibley knows it's been awhile since
"Something like three or four years ago, I just started writing songs. We never intended to make a record; it was more like collecting music in a way. ... If I had an idea, I'd write, and it would come to me in 10 minutes, I'd throw it on a tape and forget about it," he said. "We didn't really care about any kind of deadline or whatever, because we'd been touring in the midst of all the writing, and any time we'd put on a tour, it would sell out. And I started to realize, 'You know what? I don't care if radio plays this, I don't care if the video gets played, I don't care if the critics like it, f--- everybody, because we have our fans, and it's about us, our music and our fans.' ... I'm not against anybody, but if nobody likes us in all the media, f--- it, it doesn't matter, we don't need them."
And it's with that attitude that Sum 41 return to the racks with Screaming Bloody Murder (due March 29), their first proper album in nearly four years. It's a rough-and-tumble, down-and-dirty affair, recorded on the fly and intended for just two groups of folks: Sum 41 and their die-hard fans. For better or worse, critics — and record labels — be damned.
"For the most part, I think people [at Sum's label, Island Records] thought I was f---ing crazy, and they thought that this was going to be a never-ending record and that I didn't know what I was doing, and it was sort of the Chinese Democracy of punk rock, I guess," Whibley said. "They actually stopped paying for stuff. At one point, we got to the point where I was like, 'I've got two more songs,' and they're like, 'This record is done. You are not getting any more money out of us, we are not going to put any more money into this thing, you're just wasting time.' And I just said, 'All right, f--- it, I'll pay for it.' And I ended up paying for the last few songs for the record. So, yeah, I feel strongly about this record, mostly because I feel like, it's when we realized we had complete freedom."
And if Whibley seems rather, uh, brusque about things, well, he has good reason to be. After all, the past few years have been pretty rough for him, starting in 2009, with his divorce from wife of three years, Avril Lavigne, and running right through a bar fight that left him hospitalized last year. All those things are covered on Bloody Murder, and because of that — and his unfettered freedom to create exactly the kind of album he wanted to — Whibley said he's found a happiness he's never known before. One he now wants to share with his fans.
"I wrote a lot of these songs in a dark period, because, going through the divorce period was a very hard, dark time. And what I realized, I guess, is, when you're going through something — whether it's a death in the family, a divorce, something that's very unexpected and painful — you go super, super low, and then when you can come out of it, what you thought was your highest point becomes even higher," he said. "And that's where I'm at now, and that's where I was at making the record. When I was writing it, it was in the low period, and now I'm at a highest point that I didn't know existed."
What are you expecting from Sum 41's new music? Let us know in the comments!