It has been over a decade since punk rockers Sum 41 burst on to the scene with their perky no thrills attitude and their emphatic debut studio record ‘All Killer, No Filler’. After several setbacks, the odd health issue and the launch of their brand new PledgeMusic campaign the guys are back and ready to tear it up on The Kerrang! Tour.
We recently had a chat with bassist and all round awesome guy Jason “Cone” McCaslin ahead of their eagerly anticipated return to the UK.
AH: It’s been a long since you have been in the UK, are you excited to come back over this side of the pond?
Cone: Yeah, I think it’s been about four or five years maybe. I remember we always have good shows in the UK. So I am pretty excited.
AH: We do get a bit of a crazy crowd in the UK, we just go for it, we just don’t care.
Cone: I remember from some of the early shows we played and people would walk away with a shoe missing or their shirt missing.
AH: Do you feel proud when you see fans walk away like that?
Cone: I don’t know about that, I don’t want to see anybody hurt but I know they had a good time at least. Or maybe they didn’t, they got beat up.
AH: I should think they had a good time. How are you preparations coming along for The Kerrang tour?
Cone: We actually have some rehearsals before we are in England. We have just done some shows in South America so a lot of that will a warm up for the tour. We are still working on a setlist. It should be great though. It is the first time in a long time we have toured for a period of time. It will be a three week tour.
AH: Will you get a chance to chill out in between and explore?
Cone: I think there may be a few days off in between shows. It depends how long the drives are. Normally touring the UK nothing is a massive distance. So I think we have about four days off, so it won’t be too bad for us.
AH: So with the new album you decided to use PledgeMusic, what made you decide to use that platform?
Cone: It was an idea our manager had. We aren’t on a label right now for the first time. We are off of Universal and Island, I think it was just an idea to use it as a tool to engage fans. It’s kind of cool that you can post stuff and you can buy stuff, pre-order the album, and get an insight in to the process of the album. Order whatever drum heads that were used on the record and stuff like that. I never had stuff like that when I was growing up. I can only imagine if I could get a drum head from some album when I was 16 or something it would be amazing. I think a lot of fans like it. I never knew we would ever do something like this because we were always on a label and now if you are independent, then it is a pretty awesome thing to do.
AH: Do you feel closer to your fans now that you’re are able to share more of the experience with them?
Cone: I guess. It would be more from a fan perspective where if I could buy something from Bob Dylan’s record, like the snare drum or something they used. Everything that is made goes back into the record. I also think it is a cool thing because it is the way of the future.
AH: If you could choose any record that you could get a piece of what would you choose?
Cone: I would probably want something from ‘London Calling’. I am not sure what I would take, maybe Joe Strummer’s guitar, which would probably never happen. That would be like my dream.
AH: So you have a new album coming out. What has influenced this new record?
Cone: A lot of it I think stems from Deryk (Whibley) and what he has gone through in the last few years. With him being sick and being in the hospital, over coming it, so there is lyrical content about all that on the record. The whole album isn’t solely about that but there is a lot about overcoming those kinds of demons and being in a better place at the end. We haven’t been a band for almost two years now, you can hear the excitement of us being back.
AH: Do you follow social media? When you first started out it didn’t exist but now it is at the forefront of most of what we do.
Cone: I am on it here and there. I think it is a necessary thing now if you are in a band. I wish it was around when we started because. We used to do the same kind of thing. We would video tape ourselves out on the road, we couldn’t just post it up on YouTube, we had to go and manufacture VHS and hand them out to people. It took up a lot of space, we had boxes of VHS tapes all the time in our van. If YouTube had been around it would have been a lot easier. Some bands do it better than others. There are some that don’t use it enough and then others use it too much. There is a happy medium. If you are a fan of a band then I think you like that aspect of knowing what is going on. Whether it is studio updates or tour updates.
AH: How have the fans reacted to you guys being back out there again?
Cone: It has been great so far. We have only done a handful of shows but the excitement is definitely still there. I don’t know whether it is because we have been gone so long or what, but for us, we are just really excited. It has been such a long time. It feels like it has been ten years since we have been gone even though it has only been about two. I think the excitement has been mutual.
AH: So you are pretty keen for getting back out on the road then?
Cone: Yes I am. That is the thing. I love being in the studio and recording albums. But I really love playing live the most. For me being off for the past few years has been crappy.
AH: Once the album is out there and the tour is completed are you hoping to continue past that?
Cone: The album is almost done, so once we figure out a release date etc then a year will pretty much have gone past. It is being planned out right now of where we are going to be in the next 12 months. We will be on tour this whole year with select weeks off here and there.
Sum 41 will kick off a UK and Ireland tour in Dublin on Wednesday February 10th. Support comes from Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, ROAM and Biters.
10 The Academy, Dublin
11 Uni Great Hall, Cardiff
12 The Institute, Birmingham
13 O2 ABC, Glasgow
15 Uni, Newcastle
16 UEA Nick Rayns LCR, Norwich
18 Albert Hall, Manchester
19 Forum, London
Words by Georgie Robbins (GeorgieJourno)