CKY is either an Alternative Rock or an Alternative Metal group whose roots date back to 1992. They are known for utilizing unique sounding distortion and heavy rift based songs. The band currently consists of singer/guitarist Chad I. Ginsberg, drummer Jess Margera, and bassist Matt Deis.
Two of its key members met in high school in West Chester, PA: 14 year old Jess Margera (brother of Bam Margera) and 16 year-old Deron Miller. Years later in 1995 they started a Sci-Fi Death Metal band called Foreign Objects, producing an impressive sounding 5 song EP. Eventually they started a more radio friendly project called Oil.
The two began recording new material in January 1997, which would be released months later as their self-titled second EP cassette (referred to as the Gold Tape), limited to 500 copies. Oil continued on through November 1997, when they started recording their first official album (which would later become CKY's Volume 1). It was during these recording sessions where they met engineer / producer Chad Ginsburg. Chad was attracted to Oil's song "Disengage the Simulator," and was asked to join the band as a second guitarist. This addition is the true beginning of CKY.
By 1998, with a concrete writing core of Chad Ginsburg, Jess Margera, Deron Miller, and their live bassist Ryan Bruni, Oil dissolved. Sitting around a pizza place in West Chester, Deron came up with Camp Kill Yourself as the new band name, the new direction, the new movement. No more mainstream and no more pop appeal. Camp Kill Yourself finished writing and recording their first album as a group. The album, titled Volume 1, was released on February 27, 1999. The same day, they released an unofficial compilation album titled Volume 2; the CD contained demos, B Sides, and prank phone calls, serving as a soundtrack album for Jess' brother's first skate video.
That June, preparing to play the 2000 Warped Tour, Chad recruited their fourth live bassist, Vernon Zaborowski, who would be their most concrete bass player to date. During the tour, the band put out their first EP, Disengage the Simulator, which was limited to 2,000 copies. Starting that October, CKY's music appeared on the hit MTV show Jackass generating a flood of new fans. The show also featured band members themselves on certain episodes. The band went strong for a good while after that, releasing four studio albums total up to 2009.
Although the band is still going, The New '10s saw nasty inter-band drama that caused a lack of releases for eight years and ultimately resulted in long time frontman Deron Miller quitting and fronting his own version of itnote . CKY itself now performs as a trio, with Chad now performing vocals. After a short break, in which Chad released a solo album, Rock n Roll Alibis, the band finally released their fifth album in 2017, fittingly titled The Phoenix.
The group is also known for their "Ask CKY" section of their website which features over 10,000 questions from fans answered by the group as well as being very approachable honest people offstage.
The band has examples of the following tropes:
- Dwindling Party: in "Escape From Hellview", a group of people are lost in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by monsters. The singer finds the corpses of his friends, including some hanging from trees or impaled on barbed-wire fences.
- Early-Bird Cameo: In some early CKY videos, demos of future songs (i.e. "Sporadic Movement," "Flesh Into Gear" note ) appeared in the background of bits.
- In the documentary of the making of Haggard, during the final section on Brandon Novak's drug troubles, Deron is shown performing an instrumental on an acoustic guitar... Which was released several years later on An Answer Can Be Found as "Behind the Screams."
- Evil Is Not Well-Lit: Hellview certainly isn't. Justified as the protagonists of "Escape From Hellview" are lost in the woods at night and the fire has just died.The air as black as can be, can't even see that my hand is in front of me.
- Fatal Method Acting: Almost. In the video for "Escape From Hellview" Chad does a stunt where he gets hanged to fit with the lyrics, but the knot slipped and he started being choked to death for real. Apparently he was unconscious for close to a minute before being rescued.
- Genre-Busting: Although their sound can generally be described as Alternative Rock and Alternative Metal, they take in a whole lot of influences and are generally an experimental band.
- Harsh Vocals: Deron sometimes used these, most prominently on "Sniped". It's worth mentioning he has actually has some experience with death metal, with the aforementioned Foreign Objects and later his Melodic Death Metal project World Under Blood.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Generally around a 6, sometimes drifting to 5 or 7, and they can approach 8 or go a lot lower than 5.
- Revisiting the Roots: The Phoenix is basically a deliberate return to their very old sound: it is a follow-up to the band's early sound from Volume 1 and Infiltrate. Destroy. Rebuild, with An Answer Can Be Found and Carver City basically ignored during the writing process.
- Rock Trio: Not originally, but the modern lineup has shifted to this.
- Step Up to the Microphone: Chad picked up lead vocals during the The Phoenix era, as well as for the non-album single "Afterworld".
- The Undead: "Escape From Hellview" is about a group of defenceless people trapped in a town that is overrun with undead monsters who "hunger for the living." It's not clear if they are zombies, vampires, or some other kind of undead.