Watch Rob Halford make all Sum 41's teenage metalhead dreams come true

Sum 41 Rob Halford Tommy Lee
(Image credit: Scott Gries/ImageDirect)

They may have been the princes of pop-punk, but Sum 41 were never afraid to express their metal cred - as their star-studded performance at MTV's 20th anniversary show in August 2001 attests. 

Things start out pretty much as you'd expect - the band are playing Fat Lip and bouncing about like they've just discovered sugar. But Sum 41 are soon switching things up as guitarist Dave Baksh starts playing the iconic opening notes to Beastie Boys' No Sleep 'Till Brooklyn

Next thing you know, Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee is being wheeled out on a moving platform to play on the most Hot Topic-looking drum kit we've ever seen and the band are rapping away like they're going to make the leap to full nu metal. 

Sum 41 then dial the clock back just that little bit further as they go into Mötley Crüe's Shout At The Devil, showing that unlike their grunge forebears they had no ill-will towards the days of hair metal (which is also fairly evident from their trad metal-style banger Pain For Pleasure). 

The real crowning achievement, though, is getting Judas Priest's own Rob Halford to stride out onto the stage for You Got Another Thing Comin'. Considering this was four years before Halford rejoined Priest, it's fair to say this was the moment a generation of youngsters would have discovered the magic of the Metal God in all his bullet bandolier and body armour glory.

In 2021, Whibley posted a picture of the performance on social media, stating "this was a dream come true, and also the performance that changed our lives forever.” 

“We were fairly unknown at the time when we were asked to open the MTV 20th anniversary special. Fat Lip had been out for a few months and was doing decently well but we were still a new band to the public. We were asked originally to just perform Fat Lip, but we had the idea (inspired by past MTV collaboration performances we’d seen) to reach out and ask if some of our favorite artists might do a cool medley with us.”

Not only were Halford and Lee happy to jump up on-stage with Sum 41, Halford even called Sum 41 "the great heavy metal band of the future", which is a pretty ringing endorsement from a bloke who goes by the moniker Metal God. 

As it turns out, he might have had a touch of Nostradamus to him, as Sum 41 recently announced plans to issue a pop-punk/metal double-album titled Heaven And Hell for later this year. 

Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.