Canadian rockers Sum 41 are back with their latest album, Order In Decline. Frontman Deryck Whibley dropped by the ET Canada studio to discuss the new album, which features a very personal track about his estranged father, and give an update on his recovery and path to sobriety.
“I don’t think about it until somebody brings it up,” Whibley says of his battle with alcoholism. Five years ago his addiction left him hospitalized after his liver and kidneys collapsed from alcohol abuse. “It does get brought up now and then. But I don’t normally think about it. There’s just been so much going on and there is a part of me that feels like it’s ancient history, although I remember it very well if I think about it.”
Now a little older and wiser than he was five years ago, Whibley says his sobriety hasn’t affected the way he approaches songwriting and the creative process.
“That was the one thing I noticed after getting sober, is that nothing really changed creatively for me,” he explains. “I think I always just wrote when I was in a certain kind of frame of mind. Whatever it was I didn’t really use alcohol to write music.”
The 39-year-old musician says part of his recovery process was just getting back to interacting with fans, using their energy as part of the healing process. After more than 20 years of performing in Sum 41, Whibley is still amazed by the energy they bring to the band’s shows.
“Every time we play a show no matter where we go in the world it just seems like everyone comes to just go mental and it seems like violent out there but it’s not. Whether they’re getting out aggression or whatever. They’re having a great time. But everyone goes crazy.”
Whibley gets personal on Order In Decline, penning a song about his estranged father who has not been a part of the singer’s life.
“I always felt, because my relationship with my mom who’s a strong single mother my whole childhood, that I never thought about not having a father. So when I was writing it I just thought, Well where is this coming from? I thought, It’s coming from somewhere in my subconscious. So I owe it to myself to finish the song but I’m never going to put it out because of the way I felt at the time. And when the song was finished I still thought I was never going to release it. I thought I was going to give it to someone else. That’s how it ended up on the record. I played it for my manager and I said ‘Do you think we can give this to anybody?’ And he said, ‘Why would we give it to anybody? This should go on the record.'”
Called “Never There”, the song is one of the album’s most hard-hitting tracks.
“I thought, well, it sounds a little different than everything else. The record’s a little bit heavier. And he said, ‘This is the heaviest song on the record, just in a completely different way.'”