CKY’s Jess Margera: We Knew That People ‘Were Going to Get a Proper Authentic CKY Record’ [Interview]
Welcome back, CKY! It's been eight years since CKY released their Carver City album, but the band has gone through some changes since then. Vocalist Deron Miller exited the band, with guitarist Chad I. Ginsburg stepping over to handle the vocals for the group, making them a three piece that also features drummer Jess Margera and bassist Matt Deis.
The band's return has generated plenty of interest, with Loudwire's readers choosing the new album The Phoenix as their June 2017 Release of the Month. We had a chance to chat with CKY's Jess Margera about the new disc, which arrives this Friday (June 16). He spoke about the transition to the current lineup, their goal for the new album, hit on some of the key tracks and discussed their collaboration with Mastodon's Brent Hinds and commented on their summer plans with the Vans Warped Tour. Check out the chat below.
After the exit of Deron, that left the band with a decision of how to continue. Can you talk a bit about the mindset of where things were at right after Deron left and how you eventually came to the lineup you’re at now?
Honestly it was six years ago and my memory isn't so great. I remember we got Daniel Davies in the band for a bit, we started working on an album and played some festival gigs. Then Daniel was so busy with the John Carpenter tour that we just started over from scratch and recorded a new album as a trio.
Obviously, it’s never an ideal situation when you the voice in your band, but it does provide you an opportunity to reconsider your approach moving forward. What does having Chad take on vocals allow you as a band to do and are you able to broaden the scope a bit?
Chad has always been a great singer and frontman. I wish we did this years ago.
Take me into the studio a bit. I hear you guys recorded at Rancho De La Luna which has a rich musical history. What was it like recording at this studio where so many great records were made and any good stories from the experience?
That place is unbelievable, it's in the middle of the desert and you just live and breathe music all day long. The equipment there has so much character I would go as far as to say that there are sounds there that can't really be replicated. The desert sound was born there, and we have always been fans of that scene.
This far into your career, you have a good idea of what works and what fans will respond to. Can you talk about your approach to recording? Are there certain things you wanted to accomplish when recording the album in terms of what sound you put out there to listeners?
We got into a room and hashed out the tunes, the way an album needs to be recorded. We have tried to arrange music in the studio before and that usually doesn't work out. Sometimes you get lucky but there is nothing like going into the studio fully prepared. We knew from the get-go that people were going to get a proper authentic CKY record.
I’ve seen Chad commenting that this album feels like a follow-up to Infiltrate*Destroy*Rebuild. Was that a goal going in or something that just seemed to develop as you were putting the album together?
It feels like the follow up to Infiltrate because that was the last album we made properly. The last two CKY albums we made in the studio with mixed results. There are definitely some good moments but overall those albums suffered because of it.
Getting into the album, the first song we had a chance to hear was “Days of Self Destruction” that features a guest turn from Brent Hinds. First, can you discuss how the song came about and second, what is the relationship with Brent and how did he come to be involved?
We became good friends with Brent on the Soundwave tour in Australia. Chad partied with him at Rancho and we told Brent that we did a new album there and he offered to play some guitar on a song, so Chad went over to Henson studios where Mastodon was mixing their new album and recorded Brent's part in the lounge. They had a facemelting session back and forth and it turned out amazing.
I’m digging “Replaceable” that you guys premiered here at Loudwire and “Head for a Breakdown” as well, but wanted to get your take on the album. Do you have favorite songs on the disc and if you can speak about why those tracks stand out to you?
"Head for a Breakdown" and "The Other Ones" are my two current favorites. I saw my wife digging through my laptop to play those songs while she was cooking. That's something I have never seen before! (laughs)
I know there’s a big summer of touring ahead. Of the new material, which songs are you most psyched about getting out there for the live performance? And also, and I realize this may change depending on the day, but which older CKY song is feeling great to get out and play again as well?
All the new songs translate really well live, it's almost effortless. The older songs I really have fun playing is "Rio Bravo" and "Escape From Hellview." We pretty much rewrote a good chunk of that song live and it's so much fun and really gets the crowd hyped up.
You’re spending the summer on the Vans Warped Tour, once dubbed the “punk rock summer camp.” But it’s a little bit more diverse now with seemingly more harder bands on the bill this year. What’s your take on the lineup and are you ready for what the Vans Warped Tour will provide this summer?
I really think they stepped up the lineup this year. It's pretty amazing to be back on the road with Gwar and Valient Thorr. And I'm looking forward to seeing some of the newer bands on the tour.
I saw on your social media that you’re partaking in what’s been dubbed the “Warped Wheel of Wonders.” What is the plan there and are you ready to step up and do whatever comes up?
I just hope it doesn't land on the square that says I have to do a shot of hot sauce then squirt a lemon in my eyes. No bueno.
What’s on the horizon for CKY at this point?
Lots more music and lots more touring. I want to play the countries we have never been to and get on some interesting festivals. My favorite part of doing this is playing to new people that don't necessarily know us.
Jess, many thanks for your time. All the best with CKY on the new album.
Thanks, it's going to be a fun year for sure.
As stated, CKY's new album 'The Phoenix' will be released this Friday (June 16). You can pre-order a copy via Amazon and iTunes. And you can look for the band on the Vans Warped Tour this summer. Dates and venues can be found here.
CKY, "Days of Self Destruction"