Sum 41: The Final Score
Written by Eric Mitts. Photo: Sum 41.


Like they’ve done throughout their nearly 30-year career together, Canadian pop-punk/heavy metal band Sum 41 have called it quits their own way.

Going out with an absolute bang, the Grammy-nominated, platinum-selling group has a massive tour planned all the way through their final show next January – including their last stop ever in Grand Rapids at GLC Live at 20 Monroe on April 26.

Not just their last hurrah as a band, the tour supports Sum 41’s final record, the double-album, Heaven :x: Hell, released late last month.

Already receiving rave reviews, the record features the band’s latest single, “Landmines,” which became their first song to top the Billboard Alternative Airplay chart in over 20 years, when their iconic hit “Fat Lip,” reached that milestone back in 2001.

“This is the perfect love letter to our sound,” Sum 41 lead guitarist/backing vocalist Dave “Brownsound” Baksh said about Heaven :x: Hell.

The double album has one side filled with 10 songs leaning more in the band’s pop-punk direction, led by lead singer/guitarist/songwriter Deryck Whibley’s signature vocals, and another side with 10 songs showcasing their shredding, heavy metal guitar power.

“One of the cool things about Deryck’s writing style is that he lets the music decide where to go,” Baksh said. “In this case we also listened to the music as far as when to stop. This record has everything we’ve wanted to do and have done on it. The rebuild since 2014 has been a fun and exhausting process to end with, so it’s the best way for us to go out.”

Formed in Ontario in 1996 while still in high school, Sum 41 has really seen it all, from mixing it up on the top of MTV’s “TRL” back at the turn of the millennium, to struggling through countless hardships until pop-punk’s recent renaissance in the 2020s.

After nearly a decade with the band, Baksh left Sum 41 in 2006 to pursue other projects, before officially rejoining in 2015.

“We all felt that without the whole unit there is no Sum 41,” Baksh said. “I think we are the tightest we’ve ever been. Thanks to this being our last run, I’m focusing more on the moment with our crowds than my lukewarm guitar abilities. That means I find myself in the room with the crowd as opposed to my past where I’d be a little more in my head about my most minute mistakes.”

Connecting with REVUE while on tour all throughout Asia last month, including becoming the first international band to play in Nanjing, China, Baksh said the surreal feeling of Sum 41’s return to success just as they’re calling it quits doesn’t escape him.

“At this point in life I’m not one to spend too much time in the past,” Baksh said. “I suppose it hits me most when I’m on stage, or we’re about to walk to stage, it’s usually me saying to myself: ‘Holy shit, how did this happen?’ It’s those moments of clarity that bring my head round and make me smile. Anyone can make music, the difference with us is our experience has been fueled by people taking time out of their lives to spend with us. I’m grateful, but I also know the more you think about your success the less time you spend on improving.”

Back in September, Whibley had a near brush with death due to having COVID-19 and pneumonia, so it comes as no surprise that the band savors every moment of this final tour together.

“I’ve known Deryck for almost three decades, and we share a bond that surpasses blood relatives of mine,” Baksh said. “My life went on pause for that moment when I heard. Kendra, my fiancée, and I immediately looked into flights to help with the kids, forgetting that he has a great mom who would drop anything to help. We felt positive though, because he assured us he was OK, and would pull through.”

Baksh had a health scare of his own near the end of the pandemic when both he and his mother were diagnosed with cancer.

“We had an amazing group of people around us that helped us heal,” he said. “As far as the band, it only made us hungry for more touring and shows. As soon as we returned, we hit the ground running with Simple Plan and toured the world.”

Now that they’re playing their final shows, Baksh said he can look back on what Sum 41 has accomplished, and how they influenced a new generation of bands, but he knows that it’s the fans that will truly carry their name into the future.

“We grew up on some amazing and inspiring music, survived the last wave of excess, and thrived in the new world of music,” he said. “I only hope that our love for what we do shines through in the recordings we leave behind. Interviews like this keep us relevant and in the people’s minds, so thank you. In the end, though, a legacy is decided by the popular opinion of the listeners.”

Sum 41: Tour of the Setting Sum

GLC Live at 20 Monroe, 11 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids

April 26, 6 p.m., $75.50+,