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Most pop-punk bands who make a name for themselves singing about avoiding homework don’t make it too far beyond the adolescent phase. Understandably so: when your band is based on birthday party pranks and making funny faces it gets hard to find new things to fart about after 10 years. When Sum 41’s debut single “Fat Lip” first burst onto the radio, we could be forgiven for thinking the band would follow a similar trajectory.

But here we are over a decade later, and the rude dudes are still going strong, enjoying a successful run and having even (gasp) matured a bit over a career that already spans 15 high school graduations.

Naked Eye chatted with Jason “Cone” McCaslin while the Ajax, Ontario, punkers were in Montreal headlining this summer’s Warped Tour.

What can we expect from the upcoming Sum 41 album? It’s more heavy than say the last album. If you listen to Underclass Hero or Chuck, our two previous albums, it’s kind of a bit heavier.

Why the rage this time? We normally just do albums based on what we are feeling at the time. Deryck [Whibley] has been our primary songwriter, so it’s a lot of what he was going through at the time. Maybe he was in a dark place; that’s kind of what comes out.

So will this reveal any juicy tidbits about his personal life? Everyone is probably going to expect that it’s going to be a divorce album from him. It’s really not. There’s maybe two songs on there about his breakup and divorce [from pop-punk singer Avril Lavigne]. Everything else is just kind of what was going on with us at the time.

In the past, the band has collaborated with a number of artists from different genres. If you could join forces with any musician, who would it be? We are all big fans of Elvis Costello. That’s probably the biggest one for us.

This was originally slated to be an EP, and now it’s going to be an LP. How do you guys decide which songs are worth including on an album and which ones you’ve got to chuck? We did record a lot of songs on this one. I think when you listen back and try to put it in a sequence, you kind of see which songs are the weak link. It wasn’t too hard on this one – we did record 18 songs. I think this one is going to be 14 or 15, so there will probably be a couple of B-sides. It’s pretty obvious when you just kind of sit and listen to everything. You’re like, “Okay, I’d skip that one if I was a listener.” You try to listen as a fan and decide what fans would like.

Your trip to Congo ended abruptly. Will you guys be doing anything else like that in the future? Probably not. We’ll still get involved in charities and whatnot, but I think that trips to active war zones are probably out for us now.

Photography by: KARINE LaROCQUE