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If you watched skate videos from the early 2000’s it was pretty difficult to miss alt rockers CKY. A band that focuses on heavy riffs with an unexpected twist of clean vocals they brought a little something new to the table. A grassroots movement that eventually turned into a rock and roll powerhouse they never seemed to lose the integrity of a band that just wanted to rock and was fearless in their pursuit. Now, things have definitely changed for CKY with a member change that for some bands can be death, their old singer left and the band whittled them down to a three piece. It’s a tale as old as time, members bouncing back from a seemingly devastating role change and bounce back they have. The three members, Chad Ginsberg (Vocals and guitars) Jess Margera (Drums) and Matt Deis (bass, keys and extra vocals) have not only redefined their sound but, just might have improved on it. Their new record, The Phoenix is the first record since 2009 and marks the first record that CKY have recorded as a trio. We talked to Matt a bit about how the dynamic of the band had changed, especially in the sense of writing a new record.

“We were in a rehearsal studio in Los Angeles that we’d rented for a couple weeks, we just played the song that we had as a band, as a three piece band, and said ‘Do these songs sound good coming out of our amps?’ Can someone say ‘Wow that’s a cool song!’ as we play it rather than a mish mash of ideas that people had. We really took our time to say, let’s make these songs make sense as a three piece and translate well live as well. It was certainly a more organic writing process than the past couple albums that the band had done.”

Old CKY fans need not worry about the music thinning after losing an additional guitar player and vocalist. More harmonies and experimentation with keyboards really fills out a sound that is already plenty full. At no point listening to their new songs did I feel like the songs were hollow, in fact just the opposite. The riffs feel fat, the beat solid and the harmonies a nice touch. “Replaceable” one of the new tracks off The Phoenix really let’s you hear what Chad is bringing to the table as a vocalist. There’s some real passion in the singing that wasn’t necessarily represented as strongly in the previous incarnation of the band. The song has a distinct stoner rock vibe to it, as does the other song I had a chance to hear “Days of Self Destruction” which to date is my favorite CKY tune. “We never really intended it as being a single or anything like that, we thought it was a good representation of the sound we’re going after now.’ Matt said, and he couldn’t be more right. It’s heavy, melodic and the outro guitar solo is melodic shredding at its absolute best, the song is on fire. I admit my initial skepticism after being a fan of the band for so long and hearing some of the changes that had been made but, all of that has absolutely been put aside. By the release of this article The Phoenix will be at your local music store. If you want to hear what triumph of a changing rock band sounds like, this is it. CKY is back and I for one hope they don’t go away for a long, long time.

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