The Canadian punk rockers had to cancel most of their Aussie shows earlier this month, due to lead singer Deryck being hospitalised with pneumonia. However, with their fifth album, Screaming Bloody Murder, hitting the shops next week, we still managed to grab a word with drummer Steve Jocz (centre right)…

Hi Stevo. So, you weren’t tempted to step into Deryck’s singing shoes? Well I could perhaps, it’s every drummer’s dream, ha. I actually sing the last song of the show every gig. I’m sure Deryck’s dream is to be a drummer, everybody has an identity crisis.

You’re in Oz quite a bit aren’t you? Yeah, my wife’s Australian. There’s an area where my wife’s family is, about three hours north of Sydney, by Seal Rocks. I like going there, that part of the coast is like so empty, it’s really pretty. We like to look around whatever country we’re in. Australia’s got so much natural beauty and the cities are cool. We try and do tourist stuff as much as we can because we have this unique opportunity to travel around the world all the time.

The new album’s much darker and more aggressive. Is that because of Deryck’s divorce from Avril Lavigne? Well I’m sure that has a lot to do with it, but everything that anybody ever does reflects everything you’ve been through, so there’s a lot of that on the record, but I wouldn’t say it’s a break-up record because it goes deeper than just some superficial pop punk “she left me” record or whatever.

How come your fans are so dedicated? I dunno. We have this connection with them for some reason. We feed off of them and they feed off of us. I mean the last two shows we played were fucking enormous. Massive crowds with huge energy. It’s just great to be able to come back after a brief hiatus and have this waiting for us. It’s hard to explain, we’ve always had this connection. Really it just comes down to the music and the shows. We always put a lot of effort into our shows.

You’re renowned party animals… We definitely like to imbibe that’s for sure! I mean I’m 30 now, so me and Deryk have been doing this for half our lives. Unlike some bands where you meet people along the way through an ad in a fucking rehearsal space or something, we’ve been friends since we were little kids so it’s a unique way to stumble through life. Touring the world, partying and playing rock music with the friends you’ve had since you were a child.

Do hotel managers need to be worried? Haha, no, I’ve been through that before and had too much trouble.

You were nearly killed while filming a documentary in the Congo in 2004. Does that still effect you? Going through something like that, where people are getting shot and raped, and you’ve been close enough where you could have been next, that clearly has an effect. But now it’s turned into this crazy road story. That one’s hard to top. We’re thankful we’re alright, but watching the footage does make me uncomfortable. That was crazy. It was one of the closest calls we’ve ever had.

One of? Ha, there’s been a few.

Favourite superhero? I’m always partial to the guy who didn’t have the superpower thing, but is just a badass, like Punisher or Batman.

Dream drinking partner? Man, I’ve already met a few along the way, like Mötley Crüe, who have been pretty good. Screaming Bloody Murder is out Friday 25 March.