In 2015, Frank Zummo joined Sum 41. Since taking over on drums for the storied group, they’ve released two full-length albums and are gearing up to drop their final double album, Heaven :x: Hell, out March 29 via Rise Records.
The ending of Sum 41 is a weird thought. Anyone who grew up on pop-punk knows the band’s legendary status, and their active presence will be missed, but I’m excited to see what the guys decide to pursue once their final tour wraps up later this year.
Zummo has always been involved in a variety of cool projects that I’ve followed for years.
In 2004, he helped found the band Street Drum Corps. A name I was very familiar with because of my obsession with The Used. From my teenage memory… Street Drum Corps were seemingly always with The Used. They toured together, made a Yoko Ono-approved cover of “Merry Xmas (War Is Over),” and Bert McCracken headed out on Warped Tour with them just because he wanted to help the band out.
And, if you aren’t aware, Street Drum Corps wasn’t your average band. I remember seeing them banging garbage cans, wearing insane punk/gothy attire, and packing an energy like no other. It has now expanded into a nationwide drum and percussion show with constant performances of local drummers at sporting events, carnivals, cruise ships, and more.
Since departing from Street Drum Corps in 2022, Zummo has continued work with the School of Rock workshop, which has turned into another community-based event. This one being a drum workshop where people in the surrounding communities can come and drum (or jam on any instrument, for that matter) in front of a crowd of their peers. They can also participate in an open discussion that often leads to the topics of mental health, an important topic Zummo feels many kids and teens don’t have the opportunity to discuss.
So, while saying goodbye to Sum 41 is a sad chapter in music, it was wonderful to not only hear Zummo’s excitement for the upcoming dual-album release (which finally gave him a chance to record some more pop-punk oriented Sum 41 tracks following the previous two heavier albums) but to also hear about the rad stuff he’s continuously working on. From his latest project, Gavas, to always looking for ways to include local communities in things like the Street Drum Corps and School of Rock—catch my full interview with Frank Zummo here to see what he’ll be up to in 2024 with all of this and read an excerpt of it below.
It’s gonna be coming up on 10 years that you’ve been in [Sum 41], but the band is also coming to an end, and you guys are gonna get ready to release Heaven :x: Hell. As it’s coming to an end, how has that run been for you?
I just got to be in the dream gig with one of my favorite bands and just to do the things we’ve done and the fun we’ve had, and it’s just getting bigger and bigger. And just to see how big this final world tour is gonna be… it’s really special. Since we’ve come back from the pandemic—all this amazing touring we’ve done with Simple Plan [and] The Offspring—it’s just all been so great.
It’s a great record that we poured a lot into. That was a kind of therapy through the pandemic. To have this fun side and then this heavy side, kinda get both out on the record, you know? I can’t wait for everybody to hear it, and it’s gonna be a great way to celebrate. I’m just focused on enjoying every night, and let’s just go out on top and celebrate what an amazing career this band has had. Have fun. The future doesn’t even matter right now. It’s just enjoy every day. I think it’s a very cool way to go out.
You mentioned the School of Rock [earlier]. I was looking at videos of it. It is such a cool thing that you have going on with these drum workshops. It’s not the typical workshop vibe that I was thinking. It looked like a full-on concert. So, what is going on with the School of Rock that you’ve been spreading the word all about?
I’m so passionate and proud of it. It’s blowing up. I’ve been doing this since, like 2017 or 2018. It started in China. I got offered to go to China and do drum workshops. I was just like, “Okay if I’m gonna do this, it’s gonna be on my own terms.” Because I just wasn’t a fan of what drum clinics and all those were growing up, you know? It’s all about technique and every note you can play.
It’s very by-the-books.
Yeah, and I wanna do something that’s more of an experience and hang and do it in rad venues. Places that kids wanna be at, you know? And not just for drummers, but for all musicians and their families and for the teachers. Just something different, and it just kept growing and growing and growing. In the pandemic, I actually did a couple [of] tours. I would go to the schools and just do them in the classrooms. It’s so much fun.
The most special part is we kind of open the floor, and it’s an open Q&A where it’s super organic. It’s whatever the kids wanna talk about. The theme that organically has come up every time is mental health, suicide… all of these really difficult issues. And for some reason, the kids feel very comfortable talking with me about it, and we’ve had really healthy conversations with the parents. So now it’s grown to where we have.