CKY (short for "Camp Kill Yourself") is a 4-piece rock band from West Chester, Pennsylvania, United States consisting of Daniel Davies (vocals, guitar), Chad I Ginsburg (guitar, vocals, bass), Jess Margera (drums), and Matty Janaitis (bass). Deron (former singer) and Chad both played bass on all 4 of their albums, but Matty will take over when they record their next album, and he has now taken over for their live shows.
They share their name with a series of skate videos produced by Bam Margera, who is the brother of the drummer. CKY's music has been featured in the four CKY videos and Jackass, and the track 96 Quite Bitter Beings from their album Volume 1 also featured on the video game Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3. The songs Sporadic Movement from the album Infiltrate Destroy Rebuild and The Human Drive In Hi-Fi from Volume 1 were in the video game Backyard Wrestling: Don't Try This At Home. They were also featured in several movie soundtracks such as Resident Evil: Apocalypse.
It is very hard to categorize CKY into a specific genre. Their songs vary from soft slow ballads such as Sara's Mask and Close Yet Far to heavier songs such as Sniped. The basis of their songs is slowed down metal guitar parts with thick rock groove added and tweaked production laced with dense melody, which puts them in the loose genre of rock.
Formation and Early Career
In 1994, in West Chester, PA, friends Deron Miller and Jess Margera formed a band under the name Foreign Objects. In 1995 they released a 5-track EP on Distant Recordings called The Undiscovered Numbers & Colors, which was described by some as "Earth Crisis meets Rush." In 1996, they decided to start another band called Oil. After frustration with the band Deron changed the name to Camp Kill Yourself and decided to head in a new musical direction. In 1998, Jess' brother Bam, a pro skateboarder, was featured on the Toy Machine film "Jump Off a Building," so during the skit "Bam's Park Footy," they played CKY's song (which is now actually a Foreign Objects song) Genesis 12a. In the credits there was contact info on how to get more CKY recordings. Deron and Jess added Ryan Bruni to the band's lineup as a bassist and were ready to record. When they went to Groundhog studios to record the album, they met Chad I Ginsburg, who was working at the studio as a producer. The first CKY material he heard was the Disengage The Simulator demo, and he immediately wanted to be part of the band, and left previous band Rudy & Blitz to join CKY. When Bam Margera, fast growing in popularity, released a full-length video of similar antics through Landspeed Wheels called "Landspeed: CKY" in March 1999, he used CKY's music exclusively as the soundtrack. The band's first albums "Camp Kill Yourself: Volumes 1 and 2" were released on Teil Martin International to coincide with the videos, and both sold out quickly. The band went on the 1999 Warped Tour and played for Volcom but during this Ryan Bruni, the live bassist, walked out just before CKYs performance after an argument between himself and the band. Shortly after that a new live bassist took his place on the CKY roster, Vern Zaborowski from wet slit. Later on the tour CKY were kicked off after a protest in St. Louis over the prices the tour's vendors were charging.
By this time, the band had become superstars in the skateboarding world. In late summer, they were signed to the Volcom Entertainment record label, and released a remastered Volume 1 in December. In 2001 CKY moved over to Island Records where they re-released Volume 1 on their new record label. Then in September 2002, after being delayed by Island Records, the follow up album, Infiltrate ? Destroy ? Rebuild (IDR) was released.
Towards late 2002, CKY landed the intensely sought-after opening slot on Guns N' Roses' national tour after being handpicked by Axl Rose. Shortly after, another legendary band came knocking, and James Hetfield of Metallica invited CKY to play with them. The band is currently touring with Avenged Sevenfold.
In 2003, CKY released the DVD Video album, which contained music videos for each of the tracks on the Infiltrate ? Destroy ? Rebuild album plus "Disengage the Simulator" and "96 Quite Bitter Beings" off of Volume 1. Then in July 2004, the live bassist, Vern Zaborowski, and CKY split ways due to personal and performance reasons. This did not affect the recording process because Deron and Chad both play bass on the studio recordings. CKY chose a new bass player, Matt Deis, formerly of All That Remains. The original 3 members of CKY recently finished writing/recording their new album, "an ?nswer can be found" which was released June 28, 2005. It debuted at #35 on the Billboard Album Chart.
The band are extremely involved with their fanbase, dubbed the "CKY Alliance", and are constantly in contact with them via "Ask CKY", a feature on their website. Over 8,500 questions have been answered since 2001, and the band holds the "Guinessburg" (a play on Chad's last name) World Record for the longest interview ever conducted. The Alliance are heavily involved with the promotion and expansion of the band, and the band shares a symbiotic relationship with the Alliance. The Alliance's logo, an ?, is even featured on the cover of An ?nswer Can Be Found, as a tribute to the Alliance. Almost everything CKY releases is dedicated to their fans.
CKY have toured North America extensively, as well as most of Europe. The band recently wrapped up their first ever Australian Tour, and was headlining the Zumiez Couch Tour last summer.
On April 15th, 2006, CKY dropped their label Island Records, and on December 7th, signed with Roadrunner Records.
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.
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).
Despite MTV previously reporting that the album was nearly completed, CKY issued the first update on the recording process in August. In the update, the band wrote the following:
"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.
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".
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.