Published Mar 09, 2018Believe it or not, one of Sum 41's biggest hits almost became an entirely different song, as an early version of "In Too Deep" was actually a reggae song featuring '90s Cancon legend Snow.
Ben Cook (of No Warning, Fucked Up and Young Guv fame) made the reveal to the masterminds behind the Blink-155 podcast, saying that early version of "In Too Deep" really did exist.
Treble Charger's Greig Nori was a frequent presence around Sum 41 when the Ajax pop-punks were coming up in the early 2000s, producing and managing the band for most of their early career. Nori gets songwriting credits on "In Too Deep" on Sum 41's 2001 All Killer No Filler, but he initially recorded it as a collaboration with Canadian rapper Snow, according to Cook.
"I've heard it, it's amazing," Cook revealed on the podcast. "One of his early ideas was to mix pop punk and reggae."
Cook went on to describe the early version for those who haven't had the pleasure of hearing it.
"The original version of 'In Too Deep' is Snow on the verses going, [adopts Snow voice] 'Maybe I'm not trying too hard,'" he explained, adding, "It's such a good song for what it is, so it doesn't matter who did it."
According to a source close to the band, "In Too Deep" was actually written while frontman Deryck Whibley was still in high school. While Greig Nori has a composer credit on the song, it's also possible that its reggae influence was developed with Len's Marc Castanzo, who was an early producer for the band.
Either way, Cook's relationship with Sum 41 doesn't end there. He later went on to ghostwrite for the band, most notably co-writing "We're All to Blame."
"They just had the chorus," he recalled. "They were like, 'Can you help us build a hard sounding song around this?' In my head I was like, 'No, I don't have any idea how to do this.' But then I tuned the E string down to D and I just came up with a riff that sounds like System of a Down kind of, and they were like, 'Sick.'"
And it's only fair to say that Sum 41 have influenced his own work too.
"If you listen to 'Wound Up' on the Ill Blood record, that's a Sum 41 song that Jordan just heard on the radio," Cook said. "This was before we knew those guys, and he just changed one note and it's like a complete direct lift."
Listen to the full interview clip below via Blink-155. Full disclosure: the Blink-155 podcast features Exclaim! editor Josiah Hughes.
[Ed. Note: A previous version of this article suggested that Greig Nori had written this song in its entirety. It has been updated to explain that "In Too Deep" was initially written by Deryck Whibley while he was still in high school.]