Anna Nicole Smith, drugs and HIV are just some of the diverse subjects punk/pop hooligans Sum 41 tackle on their new album, Does This Look Infected?, due November 26th. The album's first single, "Still Waiting," will hit radio October 15th. The band will also release a companion DVD featuring footage from its 2001-02 world tour.
"It's a lot more heavy metal," says guitarist Dave "Brownsound" Baksh of Infected, "but not new metal. It's like circa Metallica days when they were writing good metal songs."
Their album also features two tracks, "Reign & Pain" and "World War VII Part 1 & 2," from Sum 41's metal parody alter-egos Pain for Pleasure. They had wanted to do a full P4P EP but ran out of time. However, the guys appear on the DVD in full P4P regalia -- wigs and all -- in a faux documentary of the band.
Does This Look Infected?, the follow-up to the band's multi-platinum full-length debut All Killer No Filler, was mostly recorded at New York's Avatar Studios with Greig Nori producing, and Andy Wallace and Tom Lord-Alge mixing.
Singer Deryck "Bizzy D" Whibley doesn't write his lyrics until after the music is recorded, so he supplied Baksh, bassist Jason "Cone" McCaslin and drummer Steve "Stevo 32" Jocz with demos of him singing gibberish over the melodies. Although they didn't have a clue of the end result, none feared that Whibley would lose his edge and take the "baby, baby, I love you" approach to lyric-writing. "I know he hasn't had a girlfriend in six years," explains McCaslin, "so he wasn't going to be writing about girls too much."
Whibley completed the lyrics for "Mr. Amsterdam," "Hell Song," "Thanks for Nothing" and "Still Waiting" (song titles subject to change) in time for the New York sessions and wrote and recorded the rest in a two-and-a-half-week burst back home in Toronto at Metalworks. While such working titles as "Butthole" and "Asshole" pointed to juvenile themes, the singer ended up exploring some more serious matters.
"Butthole" was re-titled "Over My Head Better Off Dead," and "Asshole" is now "yesterday.com," which is about Anna-Nicole Smith. What about the buxom gold-digger-turned-TV star? "Just that she's a fuckin' loser," says Baksh. "Look what she's doing to herself."
"'Hell Song' is about a friend of ours that battling HIV right now," he adds. "There's a song called 'All Messed Up,' which is about doing drugs . . . just what we feel when we're on drugs."
Sum 41 previewed "Hell Song" and "Over My Head Better Off Dead" during their recent string of Canadian club dates. They plan to tour the U.S. in November.