Before CKY released “The Phoenix” on Friday June 16th 2017, there had been a eight year recording hiatus since they were last in the studio recording “Carver City”. “The Phoenix” was recorded at the famed Rancho Del La Luna Studios. (read OVERDRIVE’s album review HERE!)
Chad I Ginsburg (Vocals/Guitar/Synth), Mike Deis (Backing Vocals/Bass/Synth) and Jess Margera (Drums) make up the current CKY line-up, which you may have noticed has undergone some structural changes recently.
OVERDRIVE got the opportunity to talk to Ginsburg before CKY performed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada about the new album, recording at Rancho De La Luna studios and the thought process that was behind recording “The Phoenix”.
“Recording this new record as a three piece; nothing really felt too different honestly. It’s just the way we do it.” Ginsburg stated about the fact that CKY is now a trio, before adding that “Jess, Mike and I make music together; we have made music together for a long time. It wasn’t any bit new or different this time, other than we had a lot more time to focus on the material this time, so we demoed a bunch before we went into studio. We worked out the songs in the rehearsal room for quite a while.”
Regarding stepping into the front man position, Ginsburg let OVERDRIVE know that “singing these songs posed no trouble for me, they’re all songs I’ve wrote. I’ve sung CKY songs in the past on several records; I’m just singing a whole lot more now days.”
Ginsburg let OVERDRIVE know how recording at Rancho De La Luna came to happen, as well as letting us into his friendship with Dave Catching (guitarist of Eagles Of Death Metal):
“Dave’s a very sweet guy; a friend. I happened to be hanging out over there, when another friend of mine’s band was recording at Rancho; I had such a good time that I just told Dave “I’m gonna bring CKY over here” and that’s how it went down.
“I was living in LA and Joshua Tree is about 2 hours away outside of LA; sometimes a good place to get out of LA to cool your head is a place like Joshua tree. Tt just made sense for us to cut the new CKY album over there at Dave’s because the vibe is great and the people who run it are amazing! While I was there, I also ran into an old friend; Brent Hinds from Mastadon. Since I got the idea to do the CKY record there, at the same time I thought “maybe I’ll ask Brent to do a guest solo on it”, so that’s how all those ideas came together. We had a lot of fun together in the desert over there, and about a month or two later we went and cut the record there.”
Ginsburg explained another reason as to why CKY recorded at Rancho De La Luna:
“Like I said; we chose Rancho for a reason; because of the vibe. We wanted to make a very true record with really good vintage gear and Rancho has really unique equipment and a great vibe there! “An Answer Can Be Found” and “Carver City” were kinda done last minute with less pre-planning. “Carver City” was done at my home studio in Philadelphia.; that was more of a hassle because it was more of a computer record and just non-musical bullshit. This record was far more musical and written ahead of time; last two records we did were written on the spot in the studio and more stressful because we weren’t as prepared.” Ginsburg continued; “Mix prepared-ness with a great vibe and great people around you; everybody’s happy and there’s no turmoil within the group; we had a good time making the music!”
Ginsburg let OVERDRIVE in on something that came as quite the unexpected shock!
“We didn’t make this record for a record label. A record label is putting this album out! We made it before we signed the deal. This record was on our own dime, on our own time; we didn’t go and tell anybody that we were making a record; we didn’t tell the fans. We kinda did it quietly on our own and when it was done we plugged the machine in. I’m sitting on a tour bus in Vancouver and I’ve been out on the road for over a month now, including the UK tour. Things are cooking for CKY; more-so than they have been in well over a decade actually!”
In reply to OVERDRIVE’s comment about things being stressful this last month with the UK/British Columbia tour and the album releasing Friday June 16th, Ginsburg stated that:
“I mean, it’s not that it’s stressful; it’s everything I want to do. It seemed to be more stressful, sitting around in inactivity whilst we planned what we wanted to do. What we’re doing now is all I’ve ever wanted to do and all I’ve ever asked for.” Ginsburg also added that “so if I bitch about things being stressful or hard; you kind of have to look at and see where you’re at and be thankful. No matter how hard today gets, I’m able to play guitar in front of a bunch of people who are happy to see it happen!”
Ginsburg also let OVERDRIVE into what drives him to create music:
“My heart is in the tour; I got into this business for a few reasons: the first is to travel and to keep moving. I never knew what I wanted to be and I never liked staying in one sport for too long, so I get to travel, keep moving and wake up in a new spot every day. The other reason was I like to meet girls; there’s pretty girls out there on the road if you keep looking around. Music is the fuel for it all; to be able and even have the ability or luck to travel and meet new people through music is a blessing. Who knows how it really works; we’re just lucky.”
In regards to “The Phoenix” being considered a spiritual successor to “Infiltrate-Destroy-Rebuild”, Ginsburg cleared the air:
“I base that statement on how the record was made; on our first two albums we had a minute to get the songs together, doing pre-production on the songs, make sure they were perfect; there’s always writing in the studio. This record we had more time to write the songs, more time to demo it. These songs were done with real drums, much like our first two records; they were done with very little manipulation by any computers. It’s all done with real amplifiers and microphones.”
Ginsburg pointed out some of the problems that arose during the third and fourth albums:
“It’s after “Infiltrate” that the band started to kind of; everything started to eat us alive and we were kinda burning ourselves alive. Touring during both the “Answer” and “Carver” periods were down points for the band.” before following up with “There was great songs on those records; they were done in a different manner that I’d make a rock record for my own band. They weren’t as perfect as I’d like them to be. This record went very smoothly just like the first two records did; as a successor, in the way CKY rolls and the way our records should be made, the new record was made much like that, in the proper way that CKY makes their records.”
So did CKY wait until their 20th anniversary before coming back with the appropriately named “The Phoenix” album?
Ginsburg was quick to point out that “if we could have done it years before; if we could have done it 5 years ago or 3 years ago, we would have done it then; it definitely has nothing to do with the twenty year mark. I’ve been recently reminded that it’s almost twenty years, which blows me the fuck away! That just happens to be coincidental; the band put a record out as soon as we felt comfortable, as soon as it felt right.”
“It took a couple of things to adjust; we had a singer named Daniel Davies in the band for a minute. We did a couple of one offs, we wrote a bunch of material with him, recorded a bunch of stuff but never released it. It was great music but Daniel could not commit to the band. Daniel went and played with his step-father Johnny Carpenter who scored all the Halloween movies, The Thing, and a ton of amazing 80s movies that he also directed; he’s just a legend. Daniel has been touring around with Johnny Carpenter and when Daniel said he couldn’t do the CKY thing anymore, he asked me if I felt comfortable to do it. I had just done a solo record which had kinda set me up, I was ready if I had to do it. Jess made a couple of records with other people; he’s got a couple of side projects (“Fuckface Unstoppable” and “The Evesdroppers”), so we just felt that we had gotten the mini creative kick that we needed.” Ginsburg also let OVERDRIVE know that “it was just the right time to do it again, as we all get along so well together as a band; it’s really been very natural and we’re having a great time. It wasn’t business; like I said, we didn’t tell people we were making it so we didn’t know what the outcome was going to be; we didn’t know we were going to sell out a UK tour, we didn’t know if we were going to get a record released! We just needed to rock; it was time!”
Ginsburg reflected about how much CKY has matured over the last two decades:
“It’s been great. We don’t have any trouble anymore; we’ve grown up, we’ve learned our lessons from our mistakes. You know, times are different and it’s just time to be positive, do things that make you happy, take care of everybody around you, live life and appreciate what you have.”
So when will Australia get to see CKY grace our stages again, for the first time since Soundwave 2012?
“We really are planning to get to Australia as soon as possible; we had an opportunity that I not sure is panning out properly, that was a little bit more recent. Hopefully by the winter (summer for Australians) it would be best for us to get over there. We love touring Australia; we’ve tried to do it as much as we can. We have a lot of great friends out there and the fans of CKY are second to none, so we’re definitely trying to come back!”