A previous lineup of CKY performing in 2009. From left to right: Chad I Ginsburg, Deron Miller, Jess Margera (back) and Matt Deis.
|Also known as||Camp Kill Yourself, Camp|
|Origin||West Chester, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Genres||Alternative metal, experimental rock, alternative rock, post-grunge (early)|
|Labels||Distant, Mighty Loud (2010–present)
Island Def Jam (2001–2006)
Teil Martin, Distant (1998–2000)
|Associated acts||Foreign Objects, Rudy & Blitz, Gnarkill, World Under Blood, Viking Skull, The Company Band, All That Remains, Year Long Disaster, Karma to Burn|
Chad I Ginsburg
|Past members||Deron Miller
CKY (sometimes stylized cKy) is an American alternative metal band that formed in West Chester, Pennsylvania in 1998. Traditionally centred around core members Deron Miller (vocals, guitar), Chad I Ginsburg (guitar, vocals) and Jess Margera (drums), the band shares its name with a skateboarding and stunt video series produced by Bam Margera, brother of drummer Jess. CKY is closely linked with the crew of the same name, and their music is often featured on the crew's productions including the Jackass and Viva La Bam television series.
The band was originally formed as Camp Kill Yourself with live bassist Ryan Bruni. He was replaced by Vernon Zaborowski in 2000, who was later fired from the band in 2004. Matt Deis joined in 2005 as the first full-time bassist of the band, but left in May 2010 and was replaced by Matt "Matty J" Janaitis, previously a live keyboardist with the group. In 2011 frontman Deron Miller left the band, and in 2012 he was replaced with Year Long Disaster vocalist Daniel Davies. CKY has released four studio albums.
1992–1998: Formation and early years
The foundations of CKY can be traced back to 1992, when vocalist/guitarist Deron Miller and drummer Jess Margera met at East High School in their hometown of West Chester, Pennsylvania. The two became friends and began performing music together soon after, forming experimental metal band Foreign Objects in 1994 and releasing EP The Undiscovered Numbers & Colors the following year. Miller and Margera later changed their approach to making music and formed new "radio-friendly" band Oil (stylised oiL) in 1996, with live bassist Andy Smith, and released their debut EP Lifeline in the summer. Ryan Bruni, who Miller and Margera met working at UPS, later replaced Smith, and remained with the band (as CKY) until 2000.
Oil recorded new material in January 1997, which was released as a self-titled EP later in the year, and began recording their first full-length album at Holland, Pennsylvania studio The Groundhog in November. During these sessions, Miller and Margera met Chad I Ginsburg, a record producer and audio engineer working in Pennsylvania at the time, who they asked to join as a full-time member of the band; impressed by the duo's song "Disengage the Simulator", Ginsburg agreed to join as a guitarist. The band refer to the addition of Ginsburg as "the true beginning of CKY." In 1998, the band dropped the name Oil and replaced it with Camp Kill Yourself, proposed by Miller as "the new band name, the new direction, [and] the new movement," thus dropping their "mainstream ... pop appeal" approach.
1998–2000: Debut album and initial recognition
The band completed recording their debut album in February 1998, and released the finished product as Volume 1 (still under the name Camp Kill Yourself) on February 27, 1999 through Teil Martin International/Distant Recordings (limited to 2,500 copies), in addition to "unofficial compilation" Volume 2 on the same day. In 1999 the band joined the Warped Tour, an extreme sports and music festival in North America, but were kicked off near the end of the tour for joining in with a fan protest. Later in 1999, CKY was signed to record label Volcom Entertainment, based in California. Volcom reissued Volume 1 in December, printing 1,000 copies of the album still credited to Camp Kill Yourself, which were later sold on the following year's Warped Tour.
Bruni was fired from the band in February 2000, after four years with Miller and Margera, due to his general abilities and performance on the Warped Tour, with Ginsburg taking over live bass duties until later on in the year. Bruni's tenure with the band had been questionable throughout, with the band choosing not to tell him they were recording an album until near the end of the process (resulting to his contributions to "Lost in a Contraption" and "The Human Drive in Hi-Fi"). Responding to a question from a fan in 2002, Ginsburg described Bruni, simply, as "boring". Attempting to justify Bruni's exclusion from the recording of Volume 1, Miller suggests that "he wasn't quite good enough yet [to perform on the album] and he did not have enough money to contribute to the cost of recording." Miller made it clear that there was no "bad blood" between the two, although Ginsburg has said that Bruni "sucked and wasn't rock", also labelling him an embarrassment.
Following their original reissue of Volume 1 in December 1999, Volcom requested the band change their name and album cover, which they deemed to be too offensive. For a 2,000-copy April 1, 2000 reissue of the album, the band was credited as Camp and the album titled CKY, with a photo of Ginsburg performing on the previous year's Warped Tour used as the album cover (changed from the original cover depicting politician Budd Dwyer famously committing suicide).[not in citation given][not in citation given] Just one month later, however, at the band's request, Volcom reissued another 4,000 copies of the album with the band name as CKY and the album title as Camp. CKY recruited Vernon Zaborowski as a permanent replacement for live bassist Ryan Bruni in June 2000, in preparation for that year's Warped Tour, and the following month Disengage the Simulator was released as the band's first EP, to be sold on that tour. With the band's popularity increasing due to exposure on MTV and through episodes of Jackass, Volcom released another 20,000 copies of the band's debut album, under the title Camp Volume 1, in October.
2000–2004: Second album and international exposure
Throughout the end of 2000 and the beginning of 2001, the band continued to perform on tours in promotion of their debut album. In April, another 5,000 copies of Volume 2 were released, before in May the band signed with The Island Def Jam Music Group for a worldwide distribution deal with Island Records, labelling Volcom as a "small, unorganized franchise with poor distribution". Soon after the deal was finalised, Island released a "re-mastered and enhanced" version of Volume 1, on June 26, 2001. Four editions, with different coloured printings of the album cover (featuring Ginsburg), were printed and issued – 5,000 copies each in blue, orange and purple, and unlimited copies in red, thus making it the largest release by the band to-date. When CKY had finished touring, they began writing new material for the first time since 1998, for a second full-length studio album; recording started in November 2001 and the album was completed by January the next year. Whilst preparing the new album for release, Island made Volume 1 available worldwide for the first time in June 2002, distributed through Mercury Records.
On September 24, 2002, over three years after the release of Volume 1, CKY's second studio album Infiltrate•Destroy•Rebuild was released in North America. An enhanced CD album containing music videos for "Attached at the Hip" and "Flesh Into Gear", the original September pressing of the album was faulty and the enhanced portions of the disc did not work. Shortly after this faulty first pressing, Island fixed the problems and reissued Infiltrate•Destroy•Rebuild in North America, although did not apparently recall the defective copies of the album. IDR gave the band its first experience of chart success, when it reached number 99 on the Billboard 200 albums chart; promotional single "Flesh Into Gear" also charted at number 38 on Billboard's Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. The band continued with a promotional tour which began before the release of the album and finished in December.
The day after the release of CKY's second album, legendary hard rock band Guns N' Roses (which by now included vocalist Axl Rose as the sole original member) announced that they would be embarking on their first tour in almost nine years, beginning in November of that year. Three days before the tour was due to begin with a show in Vancouver, Canada, CKY received the news that Rose had chosen them to appear as a support act, from a shortlist of approximately ten bands. Speaking about receiving the news on such short notice, drummer Margera said the following:
|“||All of a sudden, Axl [Rose, Guns N' Roses lead vocalist] picked us. We had to cancel two sold-out shows in California and turn right full rudder all the way to Vancouver. We were at least 2,000 miles out of the way when we got the call. We've been driving for three days, but this is an awesome tour so it's worth driving all that way. I'm psyched because that's probably the biggest tour of this year. And we've all been fans of Guns N' Roses for a long time. I got Appetite for Destruction when I was 10 years old, so I've been listening to that for a while. And I'm a big fan of [guitarist] Buckethead and Brain is a really awesome drummer. I can't wait to hang out with him.||”|
However, due to apparent "mechanical troubles" delaying Rose's arrival in Vancouver from Los Angeles, the first show of the tour was cancelled 20 minutes before it was due to begin with CKY's performance, with the band onstage setting up when the cancellation was announced and was followed by riots. Most of the rest of the North American tour continued as planned, until it was cancelled almost a month prematurely before a show in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (thus making it CKY's 'hometown gig'), which also ended in riots.
Following the 2002 tours, CKY began 2003 by performing on the Out on the Noose Again Tour, which continued until March when Ginsburg broke his tailbone and thus postponed the tour until May. Two-song 7" vinyl EP Hellview was released on March 18, featuring "96 Quite Bitter Beings" (from Volume 1) and "Escape from Hellview" (from Infiltrate•Destroy•Rebuild). On May 18, the band supported heavy metal veterans Metallica at the first of a series of four shows at The Fillmore in San Francisco, California, following a personal phone call to Miller (who considers Metallica "iconic") by the band's lead vocalist and guitarist James Hetfield shortly after the Guns N' Roses Chinese Democracy Tour. The Out on the Noose Again Tour continued until July, when the band took time out and prepared for an upcoming show at Electric Factory, Philadelphia on October 31 (Halloween) dubbed "Live from Hellview" which was to be recorded for a proposed DVD release. In November a full-length video album titled Infiltrate•Destroy•Rebuild: The Video Album was released, featuring music videos for all ten tracks from the album and two Volume 1 tracks, as well as behind-the-scenes videos for all music videos; and beginning in December, ending in March 2004, CKY completed their first tour of Western Europe. During the recording of the video for opening song "Escape from Hellview", guitarist Ginsburg was almost killed while pretending to be hung from a tree in reference to a line in the song. Speaking about the incident, Ginsburg explained that he "hung there for close to a minute" and "passed out 10 seconds in", assuring however that he "never came that close to dying".
2004–2006: Third album and deal with Roadrunner
Following the tour of Europe ending in March 2004, the band began recording their follow-up to 2002's Infiltrate•Destroy•Rebuild on April 7. During recording, the band also performed a number of free shows around the country, but in June it was decided that live bassist Zaborowski should be removed from the band; in the same fashion as when Bruni was fired, Ginsburg filled in on bass at the remaining shows. In order to focus on recording, the band went on 'hiatus' and "cut themselves off from the outside world". An Answer Can Be Found, which Ginsburg labelled an "instant classic", was released on June 28, 2005, debuted at number 35 on the Billboard 200, and at the same time it was revealed that Matt Deis was to become the band's first full-time bassist, beginning in July. "Familiar Realm", the lead single from An Answer Can Be Found released on May 25, surpassed "Flesh Into Gear" by charting at number 32 on the Mainstream Rock singles chart. Throughout the remainder of 2005 and into 2006, the new-look CKY toured extensively in promotion of their music, headlining the Rock Adio Tour between August and September of the former year.
In 2006, however, "things finally came to a head between CKY and Island Records", with the contract ending by mutual consent and the band issuing the following derogatory statement:
|“||Today we were finally released from our contract with Island Records. We had been asking to be let go since 2003 when it was clear that the label had no idea how to market a band that doesn't write songs about breaking up with their girlfriends. To this day I truly don't know why they signed us in the first place. They wanted to do our 4th album, but giving them a fourth chance to deliver disappointing empty promises seemed ludicrous. It wasn't making sense. To be fair, I want to say that I don't blame them for not knowing what to do with a band that isn't a flash in the pan. Major labels are afraid of bands that don't do what they're told to do. I want to say to Paul Pontius, the guy who signed us... thanks for the 5 years. I'm sure we all learned a lot about how much the music industry sucks and why it's all going downhill. The clock is ticking for major labels... to all of our fans worldwide, present and future... thank you for your undying loyalty... the best is yet to come.||”|
With the majority of the remainder of the year spent touring, it was announced on December 7, 2006 that the band had signed a worldwide distribution deal with major record label Roadrunner Records, with Miller calling the label "one of [his] all-time favorite[s]" and Margera proclaiming that "It's seriously an honor to be working with such a legendary rock/metal label like Roadrunner".
2006–2010: Hiatus and Carver City
The band began writing material for their fourth album, and first with Roadrunner, in 2006, with a 2007 release planned. Recording began in January 2007 at Ginsburg's "Studio CIG" in New Hope, Pennsylvania with the guitarist once again at the forefront of the album's production. Frontman Miller said of the band's approach to the recording of the album:
|“||We are approaching this record very differently than previously... this process has proved to be amazingly productive and successful, because the two of us [Miller and Ginsburg] have been coming up with amazing melodies, rhythms, beats, and harmonies that we never had time for on our other albums.||”|
In March MTV reported that the band were "almost done" with the album, revealing that it would contain a song entitled "The Boardwalk Body", which Margera revealed was written by Miller about a childhood trip on which he discovered a dead body. The update, which also named "Hellions on Parade", also came with the news that Margera had formed his own "cool as hell" supergroup with Fireball Ministry guitarist Jim Rota and Clutch vocalist Neil Fallon, which eventually became The Company Band. In July 2007 it was revealed that CKY would be performing on the newly-formed Viva la Bands Tour founded by Jess's brother Bam Margera taking place from September to November, after their inclusion on the albums Viva la Bands (2005) and Viva la Bands, Volume 2 (2007).
|“||The new album is coming along quicker and smoother than any record we've ever done, and the excitement of being with a new label with many possibilities has me writing non-stop. I'm still coming up with music for the new record, which the band and I are reluctant to elaborate on the details of the material and direction because it raises and/or lowers fans' expectations; but it's obvious in typical CKY fashion that if we didn't feel it was better than what we've done in the past that it wouldn't be worth working on. Some of the song titles we're working with are "Hellview III: Hellions on Parade", "Karma Works its Way", "Underappreciated", "Making Contact", "...And She Never Returned", "The Boardwalk Body", "There's Two of Me" and other classics to be. Our work ethic has been more along the lines of Volume 1 and IDR where we tend not to overexamine things and just go with what sounds great right away. There's still a lot of work to do but the album will easily be out by March/April '08.||”|
However, following this news, rumors began to surface that the band had, or were due to, split up. In October MTV reported that "there's trouble in the world of CKY", alleging that "a physical altercation recently broke out between various members of the group", quoting Ginsburg as saying that Miller "has quit CKY to pursue his own band" and that he and Margera would continue as CKY. Miller was also quoted as explaining that after hearing them "talk smack" about him, "he confronted the rest of the band, after which a fight broke out", threatening legal action should any of the songs written for the band's album appear without his consent. Following this incident, the band went on a short hiatus, focusing on side-projects and personal lives for almost a year.
In October 2008 the silence was finally broken, as Miller reported that the band were back together and were "98% done tracking the new CKY record". It was also revealed on the band's MySpace page that two shows were scheduled for 2008, on October 30 and 31 in West Chester dubbed "Hellview III". Recording ended in November of that year. On January 29, 2009 it was finally revealed that CKY's fourth studio album would be called Carver City and be released on May 19 Further song titles revealed were "Karmaworks" and "Woe Is Me", and Miller praised "the undying hardcore support of our fans, our unorthodox musical approach and a brand new partnership with Roadrunner Records" for "keeping CKY strong". Described as "more inventive ... more layered ... [and] the most inspired album [by the band]" by Ginsburg, Miller revealed that Carver City contains a "dark summer vacation vibe" and explained the album's title thus:
|“||The fabled town of Carver City has a history of bad luck and misfortune, all the while giving the impression that it’s a pleasant family getaway. Much like CKY's town of Hellview, Carver City's events are depicted in the songs, with story lines coming from real life events.||”|
In March the album's cover artwork was revealed; in April it was revealed that "Hellions on Parade" would be the lead single from Carver City and that a music video directed by Bam Margera (for what was eventually revealed to be "A#1 Roller Rager") was to be recorded on April 20 with fan involvement; and on May 19 the album was released in North America. On July 3 Carver City was released as an LP album, following a petition started by members of the CKY Alliance, the band's official fanbase. Following the release of their fourth album, CKY toured North America and Europe extensively.
2010–2011: Departure of Matt Deis and B-Sides & Rarities
On April 28, 2010, Ginsburg revealed on his Twitter profile that he was to be "recording new CKY with Deron [Miller]" that day, and on the following day noted that he was "Still recording with Deron". On May 5, Margera revealed on the band's official website that "we are going to finish recording the stuff we have been working on next week", while Miller explained that "anything we release musically will be done by ourselves", rather than being released through a record label, despite the band's continuing association with Roadrunner. On May 5 it was also revealed that the band will perform at the Sonisphere Festival in Knebworth, England held between July 30 and August 1, which frontman Miller described as "bound to be the biggest highlight of cKy’s summer touring schedule by far." On May 16, Ginsburg posted another update on his Twitter profile, stating that he was "Still in the studio. Gettin a lot done too. New n old stuff", also revealing that he "sang lead [vocals] on a new [song] too". At the end of May it was revealed that Matt Deis had left the band, after many rumors and hints by the band toward the outcome, with Miller explaining that he "can no longer commit to CKY ... [which] we all knew was going to happen months ago".
On August 1, 2010, the band returned to the United Kingdom to make an appearance at Sonisphere Festival, appearing alongside such artists as Iggy Pop, Iron Maiden and Alice Cooper, playing in front of 60,000 people on the main stage. This was followed by a tour of Australia and New Zealand. On September 1 it was revealed that a new song titled "Afterworld" will be featured on the upcoming movie Jackass 3D, to be played during the credits of the film. It is the first material released since 2009's Carver City and the band's first song to feature someone other than Deron Miller on lead vocals (in this case Chad I Ginsburg) and new bassist Matty J. The band are also due to record a music video for the song in the first week of October, after which it will be made available for download on iTunes. The "Afterworld" single was released on September 29 backed with an acoustic version of the Carver City track "The Era of an End".
In March 2011 the band released B-Sides & Rarities, a collection of previously unreleased, out-of-print and alternative version songs, supported by the single release of "Afterworld". It is currently unclear as to the band's future intentions: Miller has proposed that the band produce four solo albums, one by each member, and then release them as a four-disc CKY package, although Ginsburg has displayed opposition to this idea and would prefer to record a fifth CKY record. After spending much of 2011 to take a break due to turmoil within the band and to focus on other projects, CKY were announced to be playing the Soundwave Festival in Australia scheduled for early 2012. Only one show in the USA has been announced for the last half of 2011, with the band stating the is the last show within the United States for quite some time, fans are unsure if the band is still to continue after the scheduled 2012 dates. On December 18 the band played its final show of 2011 in Reading, Pennsylvania, at an event dubbed "Christmas with CKY". In response to a fan's praise of the show on Ask CKY, Margera responded with "thanks for the nice words but that show flat out sucked", describing the performance as "totally embarrassing" and noting that "the night started out great but halfway through the set it got really awkward and shitty".
2011–present: Internal tensions and departure of Deron Miller
In March 2012 the band performed at the Australian festival Soundwave, with Daniel Davies (with whom Margera has previously performed) performing vocal duties in place of Miller. On March 19, Miller confirmed on his Facebook page that he is no longer a part of CKY. In an interview at the festival, the group confirmed that they are going to continue without Miller and are planning on writing new music in the near future with Daniel Davies, as well as touring the United States and elsewhere.
On March 20, 2013, Margera posted the following on Ask CKY:
|“||Me, Chad and Matty J wrote about 5 or 6 awesome songs at my house a little while ago, will it be called CKY? I don't know, I don't really care what it is called to be honest. I feel like the CKY name can sit around for a little bit, recharge the batteries. 15 years is a pretty long time. Also, people want what they can't have - and right now they can't have CKY and if that renews interest in the band, great! And if not, great. I don't care. There is too much going on right now for me to rush and figure out the status of CKY. After years of turmoil, destroyed tour buses and hotel rooms, pissed off promoters and many, many, many burned bridges, this is a well deserved break.||”|
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- Phil Bowman (director, producer); Deron Miller (interviewee); Chad I Ginsburg (interviewee); Jess Margera (interviewee); Matty Janaitis (interviewee) (July 19, 2011). CKY - What Next?. CKY (YouTube). Retrieved 20 July 2011.
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- Ask CKY. Retrieved March 23, 2013.