What happens when four exceedingly different and distinct personalities come together to create heated, inspired music? Well, as CKY have shown over their ten plus years as a rock and roll force, it can lead to intelligent, provoking riffs and lyrics, meticulously detailed production combined with magical multi-textured melodies and heady drumming. But, “it also creates tension, tension that must be let off,” says the band’s singer/guitarist, Deron Miller.
Not too long ago, ten years of tension caught up with the West Chester, Pennsylvania outfit. Producer/guitarist Chad I Ginsburg says the band “ended up physically beating each other up at once on their tour bus,” CKY decided to take an extended timeout. “We needed a break, more than just the kind of break you think,” explained Miller. A break leaving drummer Jess Margera and bassist Matt Deis wondering what future, if any, there would be for CKY.”
The band were halfway through the writing of their forthcoming album, Carver City (which was recorded and produced by Ginsburg at his new Studio CIG in Pennsylvania), CKY found itself unable to resolve internal issues, resulting in the band being put on the backburner. For an entire year, Ginsburg and Miller did not speak, nor did Miller and Margera. This extremely uncomfortable time away from the thing they loved most would allow the band to overcome the many lingering obstacles standing in the way of their greatest effort to date, Carver City, which hits stores May 19.
“We could have just said, ‘Fuck it. We’re not going to finish the record.’ But no one could make that decision.” says Ginsburg. “When we finally got together to resume the sessions, we didn’t talk about the past or what had happened. We didn’t look back. The passion came back blazing, in a distinctly different, effective and inspiring way. Yeah, We took a year off by accident. But, I really think it helped the music greatly.”
Carver City is CKY’s first album of new material since 2005’s An Answer Can Be Found, and the band’s first studio offering since its split from Island Records in 2006. “Having a studio at my house, gave me the ability to work on [Carver City] for literally several thousand hours, for two years straight,” Ginsburg says. “We added a ton of new textures. Layering has always been something we’ve been into; guitar textures alone tend to bore us, [Carver City] is sonically, our best effort to date.”
Thematically, Carver City is part fantasy, part autobiography. To assist in the completion of the album, CKY concocted the fictional town of Carver City to help them. Miller and Ginsburg inhabited this imagined municipality with notoriously bad luck with dozens of illusory characters, and even created an elaborate history behind Carver. At its heart, Carver City is a late 1970’s/early 80's-era seaside resort town, much like Wildwood, New Jersey - a place Miller visited often with his family when he was a child. The song “The Boardwalk Body” was directly inspired by one such visit, when Miller says police discovered a corpse underneath the boardwalk. “Lyrically and musically, it all reminded us of that nostalgic beach vacation feeling,” Miller says.
Carver City (which features album art by Travis Smith) is perhaps CKY’s most challenging and creatively gratifying endeavor to date. Conceiving Carver City and its folklore helped the band complete what was becoming an exhaustive writing/recording process, at a time when they were still recovering from their near-meltdown. The band is back on solid ground again, back with a vengeance and a record that the band’s allegiant fans will appreciate. As Ginsburg puts it “the world didn’t end, CKY still exist and are better than ever.” “Trying to please each other and ourselves…that’s always the challenge,” says Ginsburg. “We wouldn’t release a note at this point if we didn’t dig what we were doing. This whole record was done basically without speaking to each other. It was just the music, and work, work, work all the time, with no bullshit. Learning to solely communicate through the music alone was tough but I know we did the right thing taking our time with Carver City.” This summer, to coincide with the resurgence of CKY and the release of Carver City, Ginsburg, Miller, Margera and Deis will be hitting the road bringing the unique energy and atmosphere that only a CKY show can.