Sum-thing to talk about

Cone gazes adoringly at Brownsound.
Cone gazes adoringly at Brownsound.
Whibley presides over the faithful.
Whibley presides over the faithful.
Photo: 

Prior to the Frosh Show, the Journal managed to snag a moment with Dave “Brownsound” and Cone, the guitarist and bassist for Sum 41. In a rather candid pre-show interview, the zany duo reflected upon everything from dropping out of high school to George W. Bush and Ron Jeremy.

JOURNAL: Tonight you’re playing the annual Queen’s Frosh Concert, and I’ve noticed that you’ve got several university stops for your current show dates. What made you choose to hit the campus circuit?

DAVE: Oh, well it’s a good way to warm up before you go out and start touring rigorously, especially across Canada, because there’s so many colleges close to home, so you can just drive home and sleep in your own bed after.

CONE: We’re trying to get a feel for the college life.

DAVE: Yeah, it’s a little stain on our past, we never went to college.

CONE: Or university.

DAVE: College first though, I don’t think we’d get into university.

CONE: You didn’t even graduate high school, so you wouldn’t be going anywhere.

DAVE: Yeah, I’d be going to ... the gas station.

A lot of Canadian musicians are reflecting heavily—in their music and in interviews—upon the political tumult that’s going on in the U.S. right now. You even contributed “Moron” to the Rock Against Bush: Volume 1 album. What inspires you, as Canadians, to join in American political protest?

DAVE: Well, they’re right below us ... there’s only a couple of inches that separates the United States and Canada.

CONE: On a map.

DAVE: Yeah, on a map. [Laughs] So, I mean, of course we should be worried, because it’s North America. And I know, just because they’re such a powerful world power that everything they do affects all the countries around them, and of course we’re the closest. We should be scared, [George W. Bush] is an idiot.

One of the most noted characteristics about you guys is your desire to not take yourselves too seriously. How do you think this has benefited your career thus far?

DAVE: I never really sat down and thought about it.

DAVE: It’s not really something I’ve ever really thought about. It’s not really too much of a conscious effort.

CONE: I don’t even think it’s benefited us at all, it’s just the way we are.

DAVE: Yeah, I suppose.

You’ve probably met some pretty interesting people by now.

Any favourites?

CONE: Tommy Lee, he was one of my favourites ... Iggy Pop was cool ...

DAVE: All of them have been really cool so far, we haven’t really met any dicks yet.

CONE: Big Wiggy was cool.

DAVE: Yeah, Big Wiggy was nice.

CONE: That’s Will Smith, for those people who don’t know.

By now, most have heard about your harrowing experience in the Democratic Republic of Congo last May. Has it negatively or positively impacted your interest in political activism?

DAVE: Well it’s definitely negatively impacted my opinion on going to war zones—I definitely won’t be going back. But it’s just made us realize more what those people have to go through every single day, as opposed to the three days that we had to go through it.

I mean, it’s just such an unpredictable thing that war can just explode out of nowhere, even just little firefights that we were in just kind of happen, there’s no real warning for them. So, it sucks, and those people have had to go through it for the past seven to eight years.

CONE: I agree.

DAVE: [Laughs.] He concurs.

I read an article on rollingstone.com where Deryck [Whibley, lead singer] declared that you’re “getting old.” How so?

DAVE: Wrinkles, look at me.

CONE: Just this year I’ve been able to grow sideburns. I’ve been trying for a long time, and now I’m 24 and they’re finally coming in.

DAVE: And I sweat more now. Ever since I turned 24 ... I don’t know, it could have been the amount of toxins ingested on my birthday, but now I’m just uncontrollably sweating. I’m sweating right now! Is it hot in here?

You’re playing the 2004 Gravity Games next weekend, and the bill also includes Fat Joe and the Terror Squad. What do you think about that — can you “do the rockaway?”

CONE: I think that track’s hot.

DAVE: Yeah, that’s a hot record right now. I don’t know, Fat Joe ...

CONE: I thought The Donnas were playing ...

Yeah, they are too.

CONE: I’m more into The Donnas.

DAVE: Yeah. Fat Joe’s cool, but I lean more towards the guys like Mos Def and Talib Kweli.

What do you think about the fact that 86 per cent of the kids at your show tonight are going to be underage, thanks to the elimination of grade 13?

CONE: There’s going to be a lot of underage drinking.

DAVE: That’s not as troubling as the fact that 99 per cent of them are going to be coloured purple. I got terrorized by purple kids a few years ago in Kingston.

Oh really?

DAVE: Yeah, they left purple handprints on my mom’s car!

So, are you freaked out by the FRECs and the engineering people? The purple ones?

DAVE: Doesn’t it have something to do with the Titanic? Engineers were shoveling fuckin’ coal and turned purple or some shit like that? [Laughs.] They buy these nice jackets and dye ‘em purple. Aren’t they like 500 bucks?

Yeah, they’re pretty expensive.

DAVE: What the hell, dude. I’m tellin’ ya, I wouldn’t be dying something purple.

It’s recently been announced that you guys are doing a movie with Carmen Electra and Jenny McCarthy called Dirty Love. Um ... is this the type of movie that it sounds like?

DAVE: Um, it’s not a porno, as far as I know. We’ll see if Ron Jeremy’s there or not.

Are you open to that possibility?

CONE: I have a girlfriend, but if it’s a movie ... well, it’s acting. [Laughs.]

DAVE: Not really. I’ll probably just sit there with my camera like a pervert.

So what about Carmen Electra and Jenny McCarthy? Have you met them yet?

CONE: We’ve met Carmen before.

DAVE: Have we?

CONE: Yeah, in Miami. Yeah, she’s nice.

Watch out, Dave Navarro might be on set.

DAVE: All you’ve really got to do is grab the perfume from his pocket and spray it in his eyes. [Laughs.]

What do you find yourselves doing after shows now? Has the after-party scene gotten old yet?

DAVE: It depends—on this tour, I’m always driving home with my wife. It’s not exactly the rock ‘n roll lifestyle you’d expect—Tim Horton’s and chocolate dip [doughnuts]. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be right now, but once we get on the road, I’m sure we’ll be back.

CONE: We’ve had a couple nights on this tour which have been pretty fun.

DAVE: Yeah, your birthday.

CONE: My birthday was fun.

DAVE: We spent an entire dinner trying to get a stripper for him for his birthday.

CONE: And she came late. And she was boring. Steve was better.

DAVE: Steve actually got up and started stripping, and it was pretty entertaining.

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