Just like everything that surrounds Sum 41, Chuck, the band’s fourth full-length album, has an outlandish story behind it. Last May, the group of 20-somethings were in the Congo, doing the charitable rock star thing by filming a documentary for War Child Canada about the civil war there, which has claimed over three million lives. In the midst of their altruistic act, the band suddenly found themselves in the midst of a serious violent outbreak as gun-fighting and bombs began falling just outside of their hotel. We caught up with Dave “Brown Sound” Baksh to talk a bit about dodging rocket-propelled grenades, plus we got the goods on his daily life, which includes chasing down artificial-limb-stealing loogans and showing up on magazine covers touting strippers, ecstasy and cocaine.
Did being trapped in your hotel in the Congo change your outlook on life?
Dave Baksh: I think the whole thing in the Congo just kind of reassured me that the things I hold really important and the things I appreciate at home were the right things. The only things I could think about during the whole ordeal were friends, family and getting back to being able to play. We were scheduled to play a festival in England about a week after we got back and I wanted to make it there.
What were you guys saying to each other during those hours?
We weren’t saying anything. Me, personally, I thought I was definitely going to die. In the African war, there’s a lot of fear tactics being used: soldiers would come and basically just destroy towns emotionally by raping women and stealing everyone’s valuables. It was just a really terrible time, so thinking about that coming into the hotel room was really scary.
If you would have died in the Congo and gone to the big rock ‘n’ roll party in the sky, what would you want on your tombstone?
I don’t know. I’m not into that fancy stuff, so probably just the years I was alive and maybe that I was a good man or something.
We all know the war in Iraq has a lot to do with oil, but the world is also running out of water. Do you think the U.S. will ever invade Canada considering we have 70 per cent of the fresh water on the planet?
I don’t know. Maybe Bush will try and do it all, like, very covertly, and just have a bunch of undercover Americans come and buy bottled water from us.
Do you think we’d win if they invaded?
I don’t think so. It’s really hard to win when there’s a crazy guy at the helm of it. It’s like the bad guy from Inspector Gadget – you can’t beat him.
You guys seem to have always kept your sense of humour through all your troubles and success, but does it ever get weird being you?
The weird thing is that a lot of crazy people come out of the woodwork. That’s only really happened to me once. I was walking back to my car after a MuchMusic performance and this kid came up to me with a tiara and started screaming Ã¦ she grabbed me by the arms and started shaking me.
What do you do when that stuff happens?
You definitely don’t hit back.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever autographed?
An artificial limb. We were at a baseball field and this kid hands his artificial limb over the fence, so we sign it, but then this other kid grabs it and takes off with it. The poor kid is standing there without his limb while security is chasing the other punk down, running after him down the field.
How much of what we see in magazines about your partying habits and the strippers and stuff is true?
It’s all true. We’re not going to be the kind of band that will say “no” if someone asks if we’ve ever done drugs because that’s lying and that’s not fair. I’ll probably get some questions from my kids if they ever read that stuff. Like, there was one magazine that had a headline about strippers, ecstasy, cocaine and some other drug right on the cover, but it’s up to the magazine if they want to dwell on that.