CKY – Interview

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I laughed my way through this interview. You see, Chad has this amazing knack for cracking you up. He’s sarcastic, but so very funny. It’s the combination of his dry humor and nonchalant tone of voice. My eyes were watering because I laughed so hard. He never stops.

Chilling at home?

Yeah. I haven’t slept all night.

Did you have a show last night?

Well, we just got off the Deftones and Godsmack tour. We’re just going to go right back into the studio and be in there for the next few weeks hopefully.

Is that tour still going on or did you just bail?

No, we were booked for the whole tour, it was really just a gay tour to be on. (I laugh) It was kind of embarrassing. I realized we were an opening act at first, then a supporting act. Then I realized who we were supporting. Supporting Godsmack is the last thing I want to fucking do.

What did they say the difference was between supporting and opening besides the words?

Some people might take it as we were cool with it and that they are cool guys, but they weren’t. They weren’t nice to us and they had every opportunity to be, so we gave it time, but it didn’t happen. We toured with other bands and played in front of people who actually like to go to concerts rather than people who are told to go by radio. They think it’s the only concert there was. Believe me, I’ll be happy if it’s a long time before we play another amphitheater. Deftones were great to us, so we are going to catch up with them in the fall.

Do you find people in groups being cool or the majority being jerks?

Well, Fred Durst ignored us and he was backstage chilling with Godsmack, just homeboy chilling style. (we both laugh) Two guys under five-foot-six just chilling out. (I laugh) It must be the year of the little big man. (I laugh again)

I often wonder if people I interview are just being nice to get good press. I hate that. I find that I’m pretty easy to get along with so it’s just weird because I don’t always see them acting like the jerks they might really be.

Big corporation rock groups over the last ten years have been so run by the industry, they’ve been told how to act so that they aren’t really rock-n-roll acts or rock stars. What we have is disposable razor rock stars. (I laugh. How in the hell couldn’t I?)

That is classic. Disposable razor rock stars. Classic.

We’re not disposable razors, so we are going to cut and keep on cutting. We are cutting straight into this industry with a sharp blade and some of the bands are going to bleed.

I’ve been reading this book about Black Flag and the Minutemen and it just seems a lot of what those guys were willing to go through for the sake of their music is long gone.

It’s true. These bands get signed off a demo and never sell an album and then go and sell a hundred thousand. It doesn’t make sense. There is a lot to know about a band in the middle there. People are buying it for some reason and it’s not because they’ve seen the band play but because someone is jamming it down their damn throat, telling them it’s the only record to buy right now. They tell them, ‘You’re cool. You’ve got to buy this damn record.’

Do you miss people listening to music, like on a mix tape or some vinyl they got from a swap meet? It was for the love of it.

That’s what I’ve wanted to do. I’ve been wanting to do this since I was five years old. So no industry guy is going to tell me what to do or how my music should sound. I’m a fan to the death. Anything that is good that I can get my hands on, I’m happy. Nothing has effected me in any meaningful way probably since Kurt Cobain died. It’s just been a bunch of crap and I’m not a moron. It’s a shame that kids weren’t dealt as fair a hand as I was. I had a wider choice of music growing up and it’s a shame that what they have to listen to is either what their parents listened to or the crap they get shoved down their throats every day. Most of them I know aren’t done with it. It seems like they are, record sales may say they are, I mean, Staind sold like seven hundred thousand copies their first week, but I think that is the dying end, the cherry pie. I still think we are in the ’90’s. I thought when two thousand hit, I thought something would change, but America is so far behind and we have our heads so far up our asses that we can’t catch up to ourselves. We have so much great technology and kids can make their own records at home, and they are, far better than the records we listen to from major labels. They’re not being heard.

The thing is that with the Napster thing they got dogged, but I liked the fact that I was downloading things I once had on vinyl or cassette, or a mix tape when I was a kid. It was sweet.

I know. We had everyone taking our whole album off there. It was the only way for people to get their hands on our music at the time. It’s just a shame it came out the way it did and that the artists who are really broke couldn’t get anything from it because they were the ones who were really losing money because it’s the only way we can make money. I’ve lived so long, so hard, that the little bits of money that we make seem like a lot, a lot of paying dues.

I wonder what the hell happened to the guys in those great punk bands who made music for music’s sake and made no money. I wonder what the hell happened to them because they weren’t making scratch like a Motley Crue was.

I wonder too. The industry killed so many things. I’m a part of the industry now, but CKY is going to get involved, not to just bring it down but to help it out. I think it’s a bit confused. They think they can tell us what we want to hear, but we don’t want to hear it anymore.

I hope you can put some sense back into it. There are those groups who have tried, but failed in the past.

I know.

There seems a lot to know about CKY that even I don’t have a full grasp of yet.

We come from the skateboard community and we just toured skate parks and went on tour with skaters for the first couple years and Warped tours. I mean, we have more than just the one record, we also have a Volume 2, which was self-released. We’ve done things a lot on our own. There was no reason to get anyone else involved. We have loyal fans. I’m happy we have the fans we do. They are a new generation of kids who are into the things we are into and suffer from the same things we do, boredom. Music is entertainment but everything that comes out lately is boring. We try to make music and movies that are entertaining. We try to entertain with the live shows. The show is terrifying and hell-filled. (I laugh)

I love that do-it-yourself attitude.

You’ve got to do it the way you want to do it. We just want kids to open their minds, be objective, and if you have to be sarcastic about things to get your point across then great. Everybody should have a good sense of sarcasm so we can find the humor in the mistakes we made and to move on to greater things.

Rey (CKY’s publicist) told me a funny story about an incident at a party for you guys in Cali.

Oh, that swara. (we laugh)

Yeah, I have the feeling that you don’t fit into the whole wining and dining thing. How does this all come off to you?

It’s very Spinal Tap. Everything is so comparable to Spinal Tap. We’re real people watchers and it’s all Hollywood. We’re from Philly and pretty grounded, we’re not stupid so no one is playing us. So we’re overwhelmed by this fancy-smancy thing with our heads up our asses in CKY world. The wine story you heard was true. I mean, there was expensive wine there and what better to do with it than spill it on people? (we laugh) I didn’t mean to hit our publicist, I just tossed it over my shoulder and hit him, it was meant for the girl from Metal Edge.

That is classic.

I’m glad he didn’t get offended by it because I doused him bad. (laughs evilly)

I read something that you signed a specific deal.

Yeah, we own the record right now. I think that is why we aren’t being pushed like a regular corporate Island record would be pushed.

Going into Island, was it what you thought? I mean, nowadays it’s the big-ass contract.

There was a big-ass contract. It went three or four times. Luckily we have a great A&R guy. We got hooked up with a lot of great schedules. The president of the label took time out of his busy day to meet us, and for a guy as loaded and as powerful as he is to take time out to meet us is a positive sign. It was a goddamn respectable thing to me. When he can talk about my band CKY and actually be interested in us, it showed us a lot. We met with a lot of major labels and any of them could have had our record for distribution, which was our main concern, and the other reason why we did it was to get enough money to record our new album.

Did you find the major stumbling block being that you wanted to maintain complete ownership of your work?

Yeah, that took a while. It’s only because we’ve been doing it for so long and on our own. No movies were out yet and it was just us with a great record and it hasn’t changed since. We sold forty thousand copies without a record label.

That is insane.

It’s hard. But with our fans and Jackass on Mtv we got some added exposure. We had a video on Mtv without a record deal. That’s a pretty sneaky con there. I don’t think the industry knows what happened, I still don’t think they know, but they’ll find out.

It seems to me that a lot of bands do really want to control their destiny and their music, but the labels are quite controlling. So it seems a lot of bands have to pay lip service to saying they did it their way in order not to look like they got screwed by the label.

We went through the contract several times and I wasn’t interested in signing unless we had a lot of creative control. No lip service, we have full creative control on anything we do because we know how to do it. Any band that puts a record out should know how to record themselves, how to mix and all that. They should just put the band in a room and say ‘Make me an album’ without some guru and a million-dollar record. They tried pushing that shit on us too, like ‘Get this producer,’ or some other one. We did our first one and it came out great and the new stuff is coming out better than ever.

The reason I like Volume 1 is it doesn’t have that corporate polish. I like it because it’s raw.

Good. The reason you’re getting that vibe is because it’s just the band. You’re getting nobody else’s input except ours. I engineered, produced, and mixed it with Deron (Miller, guitars/vocals) and Jess (Margera, drums). That’s how we’re doing [the new album]. We’re recording it at the Y. I just think too many people have jobs in this industry.

Or job titles.

Yeah. I think everyone has created a job. We’ve handled our own business and it’s worked fine. It’s strange working with a major label where someone is there to do something for you and they tell you to just chill out and hang out. We don’t know how to do that. We are working every day toward what we want.

We bust our asses too, man. We are independent of a big corporation and I wake up in the morning and I can’t wait to work.

You’re doing it man. We’ve got all kinds of opportunity. I think for our website that we are designing, I’m going to give the opportunity to young web designers like under twenty-two to design our CKY website and we’ll put it up for a month or two at a time and change it up and get their name out there.

There is just more passion in something that is yours.

I know. That’s why we want to do the new album on our own.

Do you have songs done?

Yeah, we pretty much write in the studio, but are itching to finish it up. We’ve got to record some vocal tracks and get some killer mixes. It should be coming out in January. I wish it was coming out for Christmas.

One thing that drives me crazy is how the labels hold albums forever and have all the set up times and stuff. I hate that sometimes. Do you have any control over this in your deal?

Well, we never had a release date set and half the new album was recorded before the deal. So we are ahead of schedule. They’re still trying to figure out CKY. A lot of people are.

It must drive musicians crazy to watch their material sit. Some artists’ albums get held for a year and by the time it’s released they have a new album done that will be held for another two years.

It’s just someone making a mistake and then covering it up with excuses. The industry should be run by musicians. I’m not trying to take anyone’s job because it’s helping me right now, but someday I will. (laughs) We’re the youth and we are going to have to run this industry and I want it run properly because I’ve lived and dreamed about this since I was a kid. I came in loving this and I better go out that way.

I grew loving it too, I just realized I couldn’t sing or play guitar very good. (we both laugh)

There are plenty of good players, you just need to fake it good. (laughs) Maybe if you learn how to flip it around your neck. Whenever I’m out of tune I’ll just flip it around my neck a few times.

That’s some talent right there. Believe me, I’ve tried the whole guitar swing thing, and who knows why, but it doesn’t want to work for me.

You know we have an interview with Guitar magazine tomorrow. It’s our first deal with that and it’s pretty much a dream come true. (laughs)

I learned a few licks from them.

I know. I can’t imagine what they are writing about now. ‘How do you play that open E chord in that song?’ (laughs)

You should ask them if they are going to print “Stairway To Heaven” again any time soon.

That’s a good question. I’ll ask them when they are reprinting “Stairway To Heaven”. I mean, how many times have they printed that one? (we both laugh) I still haven’t learned how to play it. I seriously can play like one cover song and it’s not even like the complete version of “Paranoid”.

I can play “About A Girl”.

Well, at least Nirvana is a good band. You know, I think something has happened since Nirvana.

Well, nothing really has happened.

That’s what I mean.

What did you listen to before Nirvana?

Mr. Bungle, Ween, and GG Allin.

So you have to miss a lot of that because none of it is really new anymore. No one is doing anything new.

I know. Rock-n-roll is supposed to be dangerous. Hopefully we can bring a little acceptance back to it. Maybe Fred will take his hat off in this video. I mean, what is there to look forward to?

+ charlie craine

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