Sum 41’s Deryck Whibley Talks Sobriety, Going On Tour

By Victoria Kim 04/25/18

“I was having such a great time when I was drinking and partying and I thought sobriety would be boring, but it’s really not.”

Sum 41’s Deryck Whibley

Sum 41 is going back on tour this month to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the band’s album Does This Look Infected? Frontman Deryck Whibley is doing it sober, and he’s making it look easy.

He doesn't have much of a choice. The 38-year-old singer and guitarist had a near-death scare in 2014 when his liver and kidneys collapsed from years of excessive drinking.

It’s now been about four years since Whibley had his last drink. But he’s not letting sobriety dampen his punk rock career. “If anything I actually kind of enjoy it more now, which I wasn’t really expecting,” he said in a new interview with People. “I was having such a great time when I was drinking and partying and I thought sobriety would be boring, but it’s really not.”

In a 2016 interview with The Fix, Whibley explained that the band’s non-stop schedule of touring and writing music provided an “excuse to party as hard as I did—because I worked so hard, it was like I felt I was allowed to do this.”

Since he stopped drinking, the band has reignited its career, releasing new music and getting back to performing.

For the band’s upcoming 15th anniversary tour, which kicks off in San Francisco on April 27, Whibley isn’t fazed by his inability to partake in some of the festivities.

“Everyone’s supportive, but at the same time they still drink and do their own thing, which is fine because the last people I feel like drinking with is my band,” he told People. “I’ve done that. I could be on the tour bus and they can be drunk and doing their thing, and I can walk past them in the bus and listen to conversations and be like, ‘Nope, I want none of that.’”

Whibley doesn’t seem to miss all of the partying with the help of booze. “There’s nothing about that that makes me want to get in on this,” he added. “I’ve been there a million times at five in the morning sitting on the bus, sitting with these guys talking about nothing.”

Sum 41 first hit it big in 2001 with their album All Killer No Filler. After a brief hiatus from 2011, the band released the album 13 Voices in 2016, which chronicles Whibley’s battle with drinking.

Now that he’s come out the other side, lucky to be alive, Whibley reflected on his career as a veteran of the music industry. “I feel like everything gets better—and not because of drinking or not drinking,” he told People. “As you get older and you’ve been around longer and it’s still working after this long, it’s just a different feeling than it was in the beginning.

“When you’re so young and you have success, it goes by so fast that you don’t quite have the capability to appreciate it. When you get older and you realize how difficult it is to maintain a career, you can feel a sense of accomplishment and pride.”

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr