2016 has been a remarkable year for band reunions and new material being released by old favorites. This year’s Vans Warped Tour has welcomed a generous helping of early 2000s demo and pop-punk for millennials to indulge in and relive the ultimate nostalgic live music experience. Sum 41 made their recent triumphant return with the first single titled “Fake My Own Death” off of the highly anticipated album, 13 Voices, out on October 7 via Hopeless Records.
With the addition of Frank Zummo (Street Drum Corps) and the return of guitarist Dave Baksh, Sum 41 are stirring up mosh pits this summer as fans jump around and throw fists to popular hits including “In Too Deep” and “Fat Lip.” Bassist Jason McCaslin, better known as Cone, and drummer Frank Zummo sipped a hard-earned beer after their phenomenal set in Bonner Springs, Kansas while they discussed the band’s comeback and their favorite ink with Tattoo. Enjoy!
How does it feel to be on Warped Tour in its current state compared to the past times you guys have been on the lineup?
CONE: Frank has done Warped Tour with other bands before this, but for Sum 41, our first time doing it was in 1999. We did Toronto and Montreal, and then we did the whole thing in 2001. It’s somewhat the same, but in some ways, it’s a little different. It wasn’t as diverse in 2001. Now you’re getting bands like Sykes, who is like more of a pop thing, so in 2001 there was none of that. I guess along the way it started getting more diverse, which is cool because it doesn’t all have to be punk, punk, punk… Even with metal back then— there was no metal on the tour either. So it’s not necessarily like a punk festival anymore, but it’s more of a rock festival, which is cool to me.
FRANK ZUMMO: Actually, it’s an everything festival. There’s hip-hop on it now, there’s dance, there’s metal, punk, rock, pop— it’s a good all-around festival. We enjoy it— to hear different music every day rather than just a whole festival with one genre.
CONE: There are still things like the barbecue band [laughs]. And there are still all the people that go and help out, and there is still that camaraderie between the bands. So in that sense things are still the same.
Photo via Groezrock
How does it feel to be rejoining the tour on a year that a lot of bands from the same era and genre are also headlining?
CONE: I think this stage that we’re on is kind of like an early 2000s stage, which is what also kind of enticed us to do it. If you stick a band like us on a stage where there are newer bands it might not go over as well. Just because everyone knows that our stage is kind of a throwback, which is working for everyone. Good Charlotte have been getting great crowds, New Found Glory are having good crowds, Less Than Jake— all those bands, so it’s working for everyone.
Frank, as you are fairly new to the band, what led to you joining Sum 41? How did you all meet?
FRANK: Actually, it was Warped Tour. I played with Street Drum Corps back around 2007 when Sum 41 were doing a couple Canadian shows. I was a huge fan even before now, So I went to go see them play and was just blown away by the live show. Afterwards, we all went out and were just drinking on the buses and stuff—
CONE: I don’t remember this [laughs].
FRANK: [laughs] Yeah, you were definitely there. It was like Pennywise and Bad Religion—
CONE: That’s why I don’t remember [laughs].
FRANK: Deryck and I live in LA. Even just in LA we would constantly bump into each other, and then Deryck was actually a guest for Street Drum Corps residency at Hard Rock in Las Vegas a couple of years ago. It was the first time we had ever played together, and it just gelled really well. He was like, “Come to the house, and let’s jam,” and it just turned into bringing the guys out. It turned into spending a few weeks there just hanging, grilling, and jamming and became what it is now. This Warped Tour brings it full circle.
Photo via Gigwise
It seems that bands on Warped Tour are encouraged to play their more popular songs, especially given the shorter time that’s allotted. How does it feel to play the older stuff versus this newer and exciting material you’ve been working on? How have fans taken to it?
CONE: We only have six shows left on this tour, but we still come back to the bus after we play and discuss the set list every single day. It changes, because you’re just never satisfied, you know? We go city to city and try to guess what the next city wants to hear. You only have half an hour, and since we’ve been around for so long we have all these songs that we’re trying to think what each city will like. So it’s always a guessing game. You know, no one has ever said on the tour, “Please play your bigger hits.” Like, Kevin Lyman doesn’t come up to us and say, “Hey, I want you to play ‘Fat Lip’”— we’re gonna play “Fat Lip” [laughs]. So, we’re forever changing the set list, and I guess we tend to play the “singles” during a half hour set— the crowd favorites. We’re not Radiohead. We’re not gonna play the songs that no one knows [laughs].
Shifting gears a little bit, you guys both have a bit of ink. What were your first tattoos, and what led to you getting them?
FRANK: You know what’s crazy? I never wanted to be a tattoo guy, and now I’m covered in them. I was on Sunset strip— my first trip to LA. I was probably 18, and I walked by— randomly— Sunset Strip Tattoo where all the Guns N’ Roses and Motley Crue videos were. They’ve all gotten tattooed there, and so I walked in just to browse and haven’t stopped since. Cone and I are going to get tattoos two days from now. It’s just a non-stop thing. You think you’re done, and you’re not.
CONE: Yeah, you’re never done. I think I was 21, and we all got the number 41. That was our first tattoo—
FRANK: —Which I’m actually getting in Utah.
CONE: So yeah, our whole band and our manager at the time got the 41 tattoo altogether. That was my first.
What about some of your other ink? Tell me the story behind your favorites.
FRANK: My whole chest is for my family. Both of my grandmothers had the same name— Carmela. And I was really close with my mother’s mother, so I got a huge chest piece to honor her when she passed away. I have a piece for my mother, and just recently before this tour started I got a piece for my son. I’m a new father— we’re actually both new fathers. So chest is the most important, like, right on my heart kind of thing. The rest is just a lot of really cool artwork and old school stuff. My wife and I got matching tattoos for the wedding, so it’s probably fifty percent art and fifty percent family stuff.
CONE: I don’t have a ton of meaningful tattoos. I kind of pick images like this bee. I just saw it and was like, “Eh, that could go on my arm” [laughs]. I like gambling and stuff, and I like the images on the cards, so I got a Royal Flush tattoo, which is the most memorable one. It took about ten hours, and it was this Cuban guy in Toronto. I got hooked up with him, and all he did the whole time was listen to death metal turned up to like 11 the whole time. He would stop because he knew I was into music and was in Sum 41— he would stop the tattoo every so often, shut off the death metal, and talk to me with the needle kind of like waiting in the air for five minutes each time. Then he would start up the music and stop again twenty minutes later to talk. This constantly went on and on for ten hours. So that’s the most memorable one because it was torture [laughs]. I have an Elliot Smith tattoo from the song “Coast to Coast,” which is my newest one, so it’s probably my favorite.
Click here for more info on Sum 41, tour dates, and the release of 13 Voices, out on October 7 via Hopeless Records!