Warped Tour Preview: Sum 41's Steve Jocz on How The Group Are Professional Morons, Not Musicians
Interview by Mikhael Agafonov
Their latest release, Screaming Bloody Murder, is Sum 41's darkest one to date. Still, on August 10th, the Canadian punk band will make crowd jump during the annual Warped Tour, mixing classics like "Still Waiting" with brand new tracks like "Skumfuk." Steve "Stevo" Jocz, drummer and co-founding member of the band, sat down to discuss band's legacy and wasting ten thousand dollars on partying.
LA WEEKLY: Sum 41 has been around for a decade now. So you could witness you fanbase changing throughout the years. How did it evolve?
Steve "Stevo" Jocz: It's sort of regenerating in a way. We still have fans who've been with us for years, but we also have new fans who were too young at the time to really be there for "Fat Lip." But people who are 15 now still can get into it - they can always go to YouTube and watch our old stuff. Although I do think our videos look a bit dated now. Watch "Still Waiting" - such a video couldn't be made now.
And you haven't done a video for "Screaming Bloody Murder" yet. There's been a lot of drama with this one, right?
Ah, yeah. It's all been a fucking nightmare, so who knows what's gonna happen with this video.
The whole album feels a little bit indie in some way: You paid from your own pocket for a couple of tracks, still don't have a music video for a lead single ...
I just think that's the only way we could've done this album. The music industry has totally changed. So videos and radio don't mean what they used to mean. Fortunately for us, we're a band that can tour. And recently we played some of the biggest shows in our career, headlining the festivals in Europe for twenty thousand people. All of this with no radio or television.
Your music has gotten angrier with time, right?
Most of this album is indeed darker overall, but there's some light fun stuff on it, too. Like "Baby You Don't Wanna Know" and "Time for You to Go." Those are upbeat rock songs. "Fat Lip" was a fun song and it was our first big hit, so was "In Too Deep," so people associate everything with those. "Still Waiting" was an angry-type song. But the video was funny. Same story with "We're All to Blame." We're taking our music seriously, but with everything else we like to have fun.
You recorded Screaming Blood Murder in a rented house in the Hollywood Hills. And you stated in the interviews that it was both a working and partying space.
It was a total distraction! And we probably wasted tens of thousand dollars. But we've never been good businessmen.
Do you consider yourself a rockstar? Whatever that means ...
That's pretty fake [laughs]. I don't really consider myself a rockstar. My mom always said, "You're professional musicians, not professional morons." But I think we're professional morons.
And you're also directing music videos for other artists, including Katy Perry and 3OH!3.
When we tour I don't do anything outside Sum 41, but when we stop, I do it. It's fun, I love doing it.
Ever considered doing a movie with Sum 41?
You have a lot of material to choose from, but what song is the most fun to play live?
Obviously we like to play new stuff, but "Fat Lip," "In Too Deep" and "Still Waiting" are always great to play live. We performed "Fat Lip" more than any song. We play it every show and it's always fun - crowd always goes crazy to that one. It's all about the fans, really: If our fans didn't react certain way, I'd probably get bored of playing the same stuff. But because our shows are so nuts, it's still fun.
Sum 41 performs at the Warped Tour 2011 at Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson, CA, on August 10th.
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