The Re-Birth of Sum 41

When I first learned of the news that Deryck Whibley, frontman of Sum 41 was in a coma I broke down and cried. Years of excessive drinking and partying finally caught up to him as he collapsed in his Los Angeles apartment.  After being rushed to the hospital, Whibley was placed into a coma after his liver and kidneys shut down. In a recent article in Rolling Stone, Whibley said the doctors told him, "You're barely hanging on, we'll know in the next few days if you're gonna make it."

For me, Sum 41 has always been "that band." I have all their albums including their greatest hits album 'All the Good Shit,' I have all their EPs, hell I even have a tribute album. To put it lightly, Sum 41 saved my life. When I thought life could not get any worse, when I thought I could not sink any lower, their music was there for me. So you can imagine how I felt when I learned the frontman of a band that helped me through some of the roughest moments of my life was in a coma and on life support.

Photo: Deryck Whibley

Photo: Deryck Whibley

Then in 2015 at the Alternative Press Music Awards (APMAs), after being on hiatus for the last few years, Sum 41 came on stage to play as a band again with formerly departed guitarist Dave "Brownsound" Baksh as part of the crew again. It was a triumphant return for a band that once stood atop the punk rock world.

Fast forward to the present. Sum 41, fresh of a stint around the United States on Warped Tour are now on a headlining tour for their new album '13 Voices.' I was fortunate enough to photo their set at Warped Tour in Hartford, CT, and then see them live at the House of Blues in Boston on October 11th. I would be lying if I said I wasn't crying while standing inches away from someone who had such an impact on my life. Being able to shoot their set at Warped Tour was a surreal experience.

Their latest album, '13 Voices' is understandably the darkest album the band has written. Focusing on subjects like death, war, and murder, it's quite a change from their pop-punk anthems like 'Fat Lip' and 'In Too Deep.' 

When asked about his recovery, Whibley said told Alternative Press in an interview, "There were moments where it certainly felt it was easier to give up and go back to the old ways.  There were moments of being on a tipping point: I can fight harder because it's going to take more than I've already been giving to get better or just say, 'Fuck it,' ... That's what it felt like for the longest time. I had to have a lot of hope that if I just kept pushing, working, fighting, that I'd get there. I've always known I have a pretty strong drive."

After all I've been through, those words really hit home, as does what Whibley told Rolling Stone. "I'm glad I went through something so difficult because it made me a better person. I like where my life is at right now, and it wouldn't be this good without all that bad shit." Amen, brother. Amen.