Simple Plan and Sum 41 Bury the Hatchet with New Collaborative Single "Ruin My Life"
"It's really great that, after all this time, we've cleared the air," says Simple Plan's Chuck Comeau
Published Feb 18, 2022If Avril Lavigne's return to her original sound and an impending Fefe Dobson single wasn't enough, here's more proof that the Canadian pop-punk renaissance is among us: Simple Plan's new single features guest vocals from none other than Sum 41's Deryck Whibley.
The track sounds like classic Simple Plan, with big guitars and catchy vocal harmonies, which all get elevated when Whibley's vocals kick in halfway through, marking a moment that diehard fans of either band never expected, given both bands' years-long penchants for slagging each other in the press.
In an interview with Exclaim!, Simple Plan vocalist Pierre Bouvier says, "We've never really done anything with those guys, and considering we grew up so close, and we're all Canadians, and we all came out the same time and have a very similar fan base, it only makes sense to finally do this."
Adds Simple Plan drummer Chuck Comeau, "There was a little bit of a history between the two bands and a bit of a rivalry when we were younger, when we were first coming out. And it's cool to see that, as we get older, we kind of just put that aside and realized that, 'Hey, it's really hard to survive as a band, and somehow both of our bands have the privilege to still be here today and still be doing this. And maybe it's just time to put all the differences aside and just do something cool together.'"
Bouvier and Comeau claim that the feud began after Comeau, during his freelance journalist days, reviewed Sum 41's Half Hour of Power back in 2000 for Montreal's francophone alt-weekly Voir. Tensions stemming from that critical review later resulted both bands trading barbs onstage and in interviews.
"I felt so bad, truthfully," says Comeau now. "I was really heartbroken, because at the time, Sum 41 came out maybe a year before us, and they were already doing well and they just a tiny bit ahead of us in some ways, you know, like in their timeline, like their record came out maybe a year before ours, like their first EP. So I was really like, 'Oh, my God, what did I just do? Like I can't believe this. This is snowballing and becoming so big.' And I felt guilty and bad for the rest of my bandmates, I was like, 'Guys, I cannot believe this. This little thing, this side job I'm doing, has somehow caused all this.' I just felt really really bummed about the whole situation."
According to Bouvier and Comeau, the hatchet was buried at the MuchMusic Video Awards in Toronto in 2008, when the band's dressing rooms were next to each other. They credit former Sum 41 drummer Steve Jocz for bringing the bands together after all those years.
Recalls Bouvier, "Stevo walked by me in the hallway and I was like, 'Oh shit, here we go,' and he was like, 'Hey, dude, I'm sorry for all the shit we've been talking for the last few years. It's so fuckin' dumb,' And I was like, 'Sweet, that's how I feel!' And we kinda hugged it out, and from there, we did a couple of shows together. We went out with Deryck and the boys and had some good times. We hung out backstage, and we buried the hatchet and all realized that it was an immature young little beef that really had no substance to it."
Adds Comeau, "It's really great that, after all this time, we've cleared the air."
Says Bouvier, "I think now this is, like, the next step of like, Okay, we're solidifying this friendship, and we're really burying the hatchet, so to speak, and are finally collaborating in every way. And it's really fun."
With the band's feud fully in the rearview, the collaboration came together last fall, when Simple Plan were looking to add some features to their forthcoming album.
Says Bouvier, "Every time we finish a record and we're all done, we always try to take a look and be like, 'Okay, What song feels right to have a feature?' Because sometimes it doesn't feel right — it feels like a song may be too personal or too deep." Their friend and collaborator Chad Tepper suggested Sum 41, and the result is pop-punk history in the making. Bouvier adds, "We went back and forth with a few voice memos and different things, and he nailed it."
In an email to Exclaim!, Whibley adds, "For me, it always comes down to the music. Pierre sent me the song and I thought it was great right off the bat. We talked a little bit about how our vocal ranges were a little different from each other on this song and that could be kind of a cool thing. I like the way it turned out."
Says Comeau, "It's a really nice way for things to turn out, and we're really happy that we're all on the same page."
Watch the "Ruin My Life" video below.