Sum 41 hit worldwide radar in 1996 after tiny Ajax, Ontario, proved unable to fully contain the foursome's blathering mixture of punk-pop riffing, hip-hop poses, and toilet-bowl humor. Led by guitarist/vocalist Deryck Whibley, who looked like a mash-up of the Prodigy's Keith Flint and cartoon land's Calvin, the band also included guitarist/vocalist Dave Baksh, bassist Cone McCaslin, and drummer Steve Jocz. Wooed by the boys' goofy antics and incendiary live show (and excited about the prospect of promoting their very own blink-182), Island put Sum 41 on the payroll in 1999. The Half Hour of Power EP followed, and Warped Tour dates got the word out. They returned in 2000 with the fun-filled full-length All Killer No Filler, and the singles "In Too Deep" and "Fat Lip" became staples of both modern rock radio and Total Request Live.
An extensive tour followed, and Sum 41 enjoyed their boffo success the way all near-teenage boys would, with plenty of towel-snapping, groupie-loving, and self-depreciating, low-ball humor. In 2002, they returned to wax with Does This Look Infected? While the album was a bit harder-edged, it found the band just as jazzed as ever to mix punk-pop business with sophomoric pleasure: the video for "Hell Song" featured the fellas acting out a sort of rock star debauchery cage match with the aid of a few celebrity action figures. Metallica, Jesus Christ, and the Osbournes all made appearances in the hilarious clip.
Not all fun and games, however, their involvement in the charity group War Child Canada had Sum 41 lending a hand in the making of a 2004 documentary covering the effects of war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Five days into filming, fighting and gunfire suddenly erupted around them, and they barely escaped unharmed -- these events led to 2004's slightly more mature and serious effort, Chuck, named for the UN aid worker, Chuck Pelletier, who was instrumental in getting them to safety. The DVD Rocked: Sum 41 in Congo was released at the end of 2005 and the live album Go Chuck Yourself appeared the following March. Guitarist Dave Baksh left the band during the spring of 2006 due to creative differences, going on to form the metal-punk outfit Brown Brigade. Sum 41 continued on as a trio, and their first album as such, Underclass Hero, appeared in July 2007. ~ All Music Guide
Members include Dave "Brownsound" Baksh, guitar, vocals; Steve "Stevo 32" Jocz, drums; Jason "Cone" McCaslin (born in 1980 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada), bass; Deryck "Bizzy D" Whibley, guitar, vocals.
Group formed in Ajax, Ontario, Canada, 1996; signed with Island Records, 1999; released debut EP Half Hour of Power, 2000; released All Killer No Filler, 2001; contributed to Out Cold soundtrack, 2001; performed in Vans Warped tour, 2001; headlined Tour of the Rising Sum, 2001-02; contributed to Spider-Man film soundtrack, 2002; headlined Sum Like It Loud tour, 2002; released DVD Introduction to Destruction (Video Treats to Move Yo Feets), 2002.
Albums: (Label: Aquarius Canada, Island US)
All Killer, No Filler, 2001.
Does This Look Infected?, 2002.
Underclass Hero, 2007.
Screaming Bloody Murder, 2011.
This information is provided as a brief overview and not as a definitive guide, there are other sources on the net for that. If however you have a story or information that is not generally known we would love to hear from you. Content@rokpool.com.
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The Prodigy might as well be called The Paradigm, their story so closely follows some kind of Spinal Tap rock and roll ideal. Formed around 1990 by driving genius, writer, and producer Liam Howlett, the live act featured a key member of the band whose sole role was live dancer – surely a first – Keith Flint.
Often shortened to “Experience” (the name this article will use), their first album more properly called “The Prodigy Experience” was released in 1992. Echoing the emergence of what was then known as the Pink Floyd sound in the mid-sixties, The Prodigy were already a well established and acclaimed live act on the underground and rave scene in the early nineties. Despite the controversy that surrounds the band, with its drug and drug culture overtones, and the subsequent somewhat irrelevant “Smack My Bitch Up” furore, the live success clearly instilled excellent music and musicianship skills, and some kind of upside down puritan work ethic underscores their development into the band that produced an era defining album in “Music For The Jilted Generation” (1994). If “Experience” brought heavy dance into the mainstream, which it did, “Music For The Jilted Generation” was iconic, and is a landmark album in its own right. Messianically, it charted at #1.
The Prodigy were on their way to combined critical and commercial Nirvana.
The Prodigy’s third album, “The Fat Of The Land” (1997), has like its predecessor become an acknowledged straight five star album, essential to an understanding of modern rock music, and is frequently listed in the low numbers of the most important album of all time. There is a “Sticky Fingers”/”Beggars Banquet”/”Exile On Main Street”, argument about whether this or “Fat of The Land” is their best to date, and it’s a fair argument, but for me the appearance of Keith Flint elevated from dancer to lead vocalist (echoes of Sid Vicious?) clinches it for “The Fat Of The Land”. With “The Fat Of The Land” like its immediate excellent co-releases, such as “(What’s The Story) Morning Glory” (Oasis). “OK Computer” (Radiohead), “Parklife” (Blur), and of course The Verve’s “Urban Hymns” , The Prodigy peel off killer tracks like some kind of instant “Greatest Hits”. What an era.
Hardly a jilted generation. I will never forget listening to “The Fat Of The Land” for the first time. The hype was so great, and the sound so different, I set aside time to listen to the album for the first time, to make up my mind if it was worth all the fuss , and it was, and how. The Prodigy had defied gravity and had followed what for lesser bands might have been in “Music For The Jilted Generation” a defining album. I made myself revisit “Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned” (2004) and “Invaders Must Die” (2009) as prep for this article. Like Radiohead before them, with "OK Computer" they suffer from an equivalent to they’re not “OK Computer”. But by re-exploring their rave dance roots, The Prodigy have rediscovered themselves as one of the world’s great live acts. Perhaps they’re not as innovative as they were, but who is, and is innovation really relevant in an art form that’s about to be sixty?
My own feeling is that their latest two albums are more than adequate additions to a great stable. The Prodigy’s current status is that they have avoided “The Fat Of The Land” pastiche, and they’ve certainly got at least one more landmark album in them. I suspect more.
Only the scant legacy that is Joy Division and the seminal The Velvet Underground join The Prodigy in having their complete works on my i-Pod. The Prodigy and Radiohead are by a country mile the most important bands still active from the golden era of Brit Pop, and I await the next The Prodigy album with the same excitement as I awaited the previous two.
This information is provided as a brief overview and not as a definitive guide, there are other sources on the net for that. If however you have a story or information that is not generally known we would love to hear from you. Content@rokpool.com