Phoning from one of the asshole centers of Los Angeles, the Bel Age Hotel near the Sunset Strip, Baksh and his band are taking a breather from an extended road trip with Unwritten Law. The plan is to knock out a round of headlining dates before embarking on a summer outing, opening for none other than Motley Crue.
"What else can you think?" Baksh says. "Pure excitement. It's still kind of surreal. We've been fans of the Crue for a long time, and Tommy Lee and our singer, Deryck, are friends."
Any concern that rock's best-known cock will steal all the hot groupies?
"Well, not concern as much as knowledge," Baksh says, laughing. "It's a fact. There's no stopping him."
Pairing the Canadian pop-punk upstarts with the California hair-metal godfathers might not be as strange as it sounds -- both bands have sold millions of records, despite being raked over the coals by the rock press. But even Sum 41's harshest critics had kind words for the quartet's third effort, Chuck, hailed as its most mature to date and a big step up from the frat-boy mugging of older fare such as "Fat Lip." Chuck debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard album chart, which shocked just about everybody in the music biz.
Predictably, Baksh doesn't have kind words about that.
"The music industry in Canada is a piece of fucking crap, let me tell you that right now," he says. "They wait for the States to jump on something before they get anything remotely close to it. Part of the reason we got singed is because there was a closeness between us and Blink-182. We were considered a pop-punk band. It seems like you can get signed because of your genre more than your music now. "
Now that pop-punk has gone the way of the Cabbage Patch Kid and the macarena, one might assume that Sum 41 has concerns about its future prospects. Not so, Baksh says.
"The fact that it's out of the media eye is a little bit concerning," the guitarist concedes. "But I think we survived that whole thing. We've been able to release three records. That's good enough for me if it all ends tomorrow."