Interview With CKY At Manchester Academy

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Ahead of the bands show with Skindred and Danko Jones we sat down with CKY and asked the band some questions.

AS: After such a lengthy hiatus, how does it feel to have spent the last year out back on the road touring and plugging a new album?

Matt: It’s Great, It’s the most fun we can have and we’re happy to be in the UK as well. Fans here are some of the greatest so we’re having a good time.

Jess: It was great to you know, not have a deadline, in making The Phoenix, No one knew we were even back. So we could kind of take our time with it, instead of having some crazy deadline where we had to rush things.

Chad: I’m not sure that was the question, but…

Jess: Well I mean the hiatus.

Chad: Oh Yeah. But other than that, we’ve been out supporting The Phoenix, the latest record for about a year now. We came here (Manchester) headlining our first tour back, which was the UK, headlining in April, last year.

AS: At a venue called Rebellion, I was there.

Chad: Yeah, that was hot, we were just talking about a Napalm Death show I think, but our gig was probably hotter than that gig. It was fucking crazy. Plus it was also, two days before what happened at the Ariana Grande gig.

AS: So you were still in the UK at the time?

Jess: Yeah, we were in London the day before?

Chad: Yeah the day before.

Jess: We had a press day in London and it all got cancelled because it was all just crazy, y’know?

AS: Yeah, it was definitely a very surreal thing to have happen in your home city, but it’s a great city, and everyone really came together throughout it.

AS: What was the overall feeling before releasing the new album, after such an extended period away, apprehensive, cathartic, relief?

Chad: Yeah, we had no idea what was gonna happen.

Jess: Yeah I think with our last album, there was still a decent amount of CD stores, so we were kinda like “How do people get this now, streaming, vinyl?” which funnily enough outsold CDs. So we were kinda out of touch with that I guess. So no idea what to expect.

AS: Which conveniently segways into my next question. How has this change in music content delivery affected you, did it allow for more creative control?

Chad: Oh, We’ve always had full creative control.

AS: Of Course, because you produce as well?

Chad: Yeah, I produced and mixed every record. But It’s funny, I don’t know this business to be a business that even messes at all with creative control. No one has ever told us what to do creatively. I don’t even know if that does exist. Does it?

Jess: Oh Yeah, big time.

Chad: In like hard rock? Does it really?

Matt: It’s gotta be that shiny kind of metal.

Chad: The biggest kind. I’m not gonna name bands, but I think we know, where they have like a team of old metalheads writing all their shit, stylists, and life coaches. Okay Fine, I do remember we had one manager who asked for our sizes, when he started managing us, he wanted our sizes. And, I thought “That’s weird what do you want our sizes for?”, and he said “So we can dress you, and figure out…” and we were like “uh?”, and that was it.

AS: I guess it could have been worse, at least it never got as far as them having the tape measure upside your leg.

Chad: Yeah, that’s what it felt like, we just thought it was really weird, and just not going anywhere. But then again, we probably would have been the biggest band in the world, if we had dressed up, in whatever costume they decided. 

Jess: Played the game a little bit.

AS: So, has the album reception for The Phoenix, been everything you’d hoped for with fans and critics alike?

Chad: Critics, loved it yeah, and the fans. Since we took off so much time, getting all the fans to know there was even a record out was tough. Then we had to do a lot of touring and hit a lot of places over and over again. Because there’s so much to pay attention to out there, how’s anyone gonna know we even put a record out? When there’s no real music video channel. Our stuff really doesn’t… we don’t really have hit songs. CKY had “96 Quite Bitter Beings, which is a recognisable riff from movies and video games, but we never really had a hit song on the radio, that got constantly played over and over again. You never know how anyone’s gonna hear about us. The new record, we’re still introducing people to it, as well. 

AS: Chad, how was the move for you progressing from backing vocals, and taking the lead on vocal duties for the new album?

Chad: I’ve been asked this question a lot.  My normal answer was, I didn’t want to sing in this band, I didn’t plan to sing in this band. And I’m doing it now. But I’ve answered questions like that, yet the last song song we put out (Afterworld), with a video, was also in a major motion picture, Jackass 3, that was me singing on lead vocals. It’s not new. This was 2011.

Jess: 2010

Chad: The last song we put out, 2010, I was singing. I’m the only person in that video singing. I’ve been singing lead vocals in this band for 8 years. The last song we ever released was me singing lead vocal. I forgot that, so people ask “what’s it like now?”. Yet, the first song anyone ever heard from CKY was a song called ‘The Human Drive in Hi-Fi’, which was the first song on Landspeed CKY, Bam Margera’s first skate video, that lead to Jackass. The first song that opens that first video, is me singing. 

AS: So there was never any trepidation about stepping back in to that role, or did you contemplate bringing in someone else?

Chad: Yeah there was trepidation. I didn’t want the responsibility. I’ve enough shit to do, but y’know I’ll do it.

AS: And any contemplation of someone else coming in to do that?

Chad: Yeah, we did have a singer for a minute, and we did tour with him. His name is Daniel Davies, son of Dave Davies from The Kinks. He’s out with John Carpenter, he’s John Carpenter’s guitar player. So he’s now touring with John Carpenter the film director. 

AS: I actually managed to catch the John Carpenter tour when it was over in the UK.

Chad: Oh, so you saw Daniel, he was singing with us for about a year.

Jess: He was also in a band called ‘Year Long Disaster, short lived, but very good. He got that John Carpenter tour, and I didn’t think I could swing and voc, so Chad was up.

AS: Did any of you manage to see the John Carpenter tour?

Matt: Yeah, I caught it in New York City. It was incredible.

Chad: I missed it, I’m still pissed about it.

Jess: He’s still on tour, I’m sure it’ll come back around.

AS: Leading on to guest appearances, the new album features none other than Mastodon’s Brent Hinds, can you tell us, how did that come about? 

Chad: We met Brent at Soundwave Festival, in Australia.

Jess: Yeah it was Australia 2012.

Chad: Yeah we just pal’d around. Brent’s a super nice guy, he’s one of the greatest guys in metal. Really nice, hilarious dude, we partied with him a bunch in Australia. Then I ran into him over at Dave Catching’s house, a studio called Rancho De La Luna, where we did the last record. I was just there, hanging around, one of my buddies was recording at the time, and Brent showed up and we had some fun out there in the desert. The idea came up then, to do the record, and hanging out together, I just said “Hey Brent, wanna do a solo?”. Meant to be. It all basically stemmed from Joshua Tree.

AS: With the title of the album being The Phoenix, is there anything you can possibly hint at what we can expect, with this obvious rebirth of the band?

Chad: Yeah it’s a symbolic name, often at times, we feel like it’s our first record, since we had so much time in between. So it’s kind of a rebirth for the band, the next record we almost consider our second record. 

AS: And are there any thoughts of direction to where that next album may lead to, or is it still early days?

Chad: We started an EP, so we kinda have a little idea of where things could go. It’s definitely…I think it’s gonna be the coolest thing we’ve ever put out actually. The first record we had to consider what we did in the past, and where we should be before we put the Phoenix out. So we had to consider what our old fans might expect to hear. But now that that’s out, we can kinda take it anywhere. 

AS: One of the singles ‘Head for the breakdown’ has become a bit of a fan favourite, considering all the available places, what made you decide to shoot the video around Camden and the rest of London?

Jess: It was due to what we mentioned before with the Ariana Grande attack in Manchester. We had a day off in London with the Costa Sisters.

Chad: The day that happened here in Manchester, we were just supposed to be doing press in London, and that all got cancelled. So we had the day off, with our friends the Costa Sisters, who are amazing chicks, who have cameras, and are very artistic and they were just hanging out and filming. 

Jess: So we went to Abbey Road.

Matt: We told them we’d been to London a hundred times and we’d never seen any of the cool places, and they said “Let’s go, we’ll just shoot you guys all day”. We got to see Buckingham Palace.

Chad: We never set out to make the video. We were just outside Buckingham Palace and I realised I had headphones, and I had the song from the new record, so I just started lip synching right in front of Buckingham Palace. 

Matt: The Queen was having her garden party that day, so that’s why you have the shots with the fancy hats.

Chad: Then all the live stuff was shot at the Underworld in Camden. 

 AS: What have your favourite moments been on tour since plugging the new album, any favourite shows, festivals or fan interactions that spring to mind?

Jess: I was definitely excited to play Mexico City for the first time. With the HIM farewell tour. We’d never been there.

Matt: Just the other day, we were at a rest stop, and Chad looked at me and said “It’s crazy, it’s been a year and we’re still doing this, it’s fun and we’re having fun.” Every day that goes by, we’re just happy to be doing this. It’s a lot of fun. 

Chad: Summer last year, we did the Warped tour across the United States. It’s all great man. 

Jess: London, coming back, we had no idea what to expect, it’s been years since we’ve been here. Then to book an Underworld show, and to add another one, and they both sold out.

Chad: That entire first UK tour was completely rewarding every day. We had no idea what to expect and the UK pulled through for us.

AS: Having played nearly every major festival and supported numerous A lister bands over the years, is there anything left on the band bucket list that has eluded you so far?

Jess: There’s still a ton of places we need to get to. We’ve never really hit Greece, or…

Matt: Absolutely none of South America so far. Big patches of land we’ve got to get to.

Jess: We’ve only been to Japan once. Still a lot of parts of the world we’re yet to see.

 AS: I imagine there must be some demand for you in those places by now then?

Jess: I hope.

Chad: If we were that much in demand there, we probably would have been there already (laughing).

Jess: In South America, we had this tour lined up with Killing Joke, I don’t know what went wrong, but that would have been amazing. Still kinda bummed it fell through. South American tours have been sketchy at best for us. We were supposed to do something and then, no contact, all of a sudden about a week before it, they sent our deposit and went “Okay, is this cool?” and we hadn’t heard from them. We’d already moved on to other things. 

AS: Are there any bands out there you’re currently listening to you believe should be on everybody’s radar?

Jess: We’re playing with this band called Witchcraft, in Las Vegas coming up, and I don’t know how they’re not massive. They have an album called ‘Legend’ and it’s completely flawless. It’s amazing. Lee Dorrian signed them to his label Rise Above.

Chad: Who’s Lee Dorrian?

Jess: He’s in Cathedral, he’s in like a million bands, if you know metal, then you know him. He’s like the James Hetfield of metal.

Matt: Isn’t James Hetfield the James Hetfield of metal? (Laughing)

Jess: Okay, wait, he’s like the James Hetfield of doom metal, you could say.

Matt: Ah okay, of stoner rock and doom.

Jess: Yeah, the dude’s been around forever.

AS: You’re currently touring with Danko Jones and Skindred, how are you enjoying sharing the stage with one another?

Matt: Awesome. Skindred are so welcoming, they’re like the nicest guys on Earth. They know what they’re doing, they work the crowd, put on a huge show, have great production. It’s incredible. Danko, we’ve known those guys a while, they’re the nicest, we’re actively fans of their band. So, just being able to hear them every night is fun. 

Chad: This tour definitely has the nicest people. Every band. It’s good for us to learn what that’s like. 

Jess: We haven’t always been the nicest band to tour with, now we’re a lot mellower. It’s cool now. 

Chad: We weren’t trying to really make friends, we were just basically happy with our own fans, so never really wanted to connect ourselves to any scene. We’re very social with other bands, but in the end we ended up with very little friends. We make a lot more friends now. 

Jess: Especially being in this business for this long, you just see people over and over, and it’s like “What’s up man?”.

Chad: Now we just respect anyone who’s in this business.

Jess: Who are still doing it. It’s not easy.

AS: Do you have any pre show rituals or preparations?

Chad: 30, 40 push ups, that’s about it really. Only sometimes though, as the floor can be too sticky and gross. Otherwise no. Prep before used to be, finish one bottle of Jack, crack the other one, and then we were ready. We never get wasted before a show now, there’s plenty of time for that after, and we play better when we’re not wasted. 

We would like to Thank Chad, Jess & Matt for a great interview and insight into all things CKY.

For more information on all things CKY please head to the bands official Facebook page HERE

 

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