Guitarist Dave "Brownsound" Baksh may have surprised his fans last week when he announced through a press release that he had left Sum 41, but in an interview with Rolling Stone, he says the departure came as no surprise to the band members themselves. Admitting he was "very distant" with singer-guitarist Deryck Whibley, drummer Steve Jocz and bassist Jason "Cone" McCaslin, the twenty-five-year-old Baksh says, "All three of them, when we actually spoke, said, 'We saw this coming.'"
As he built up courage to leave the multiplatinum pop-punk outfit he joined nine years ago, Baksh says he withdrew from friends because he didn't want to sound like he was complaining. "Let's just say I was pretty much your cookie-cutter depression case," he says of his mood over the last two years.
Finally, Baksh, based in Pickering, Ontario, decided to phone each of his bandmates and give them the news personally. He rang up Cone, in Toronto, and Whibley and Jocz, in Los Angeles. "The biggest decision was whether I wanted to go out and be a detriment to this band and just be doing it for the fans," he says. "It would have been really unfair to go out and treat these guys that I respect in that manner. It would be totally rude and not like me in any way."
While it sounds like a cliche, Baksh claims he left because of the musical direction of the band, admitting, "As a guitar player, growing up I always used to practice the entire album of Symbolic by Death, you know what I mean?" While Sum 41 are currently at work on the follow-up to 2004's Chuck, Baksh hasn't really been involved, only writing a handful of guitar solos.
Clearly, the man had his heart set on something heavier. He has since connected with his first cousin, bassist Vaughn Lal, with whom he used to play before joining Sum 41 and continue to jam when he was off the road. "It was always a release for the two of us," he says, "where we could just get together and hang out and write songs and stuff like that."
Baksh says the pair is serious and has already dubbed the group the Brown Brigade -- complete with the logo of a brown knight. He's found a drummer, Lee Fairlea, and a second guitarist, "The Craigulator" (his guitar tech from Sum 41), and is now seeking a singer who lives in the Greater Toronto or Durham, Ontario, area.
"We're really just looking for somebody who fits the bill," says Baksh. "They have to be able to go from Death to Blood, Sweat and Tears at the drop of the hat. It's me, so of course it's going to be heavy metal. But that's all I'm going to say."