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Music Preview: CKY ~ No stunts, just rock

Friday, February 28, 2003

By Scott Mervis, Post-Gazette Weekend Editor

Guns N' Roses fans may remember CKY as the opening band that addressed the crowd at Mellon Arena by replacing the "P" in Pittsburgh with "S-h."


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Official Band Site


Bassist Vern Zaborowski, just waking up at 3 in the afternoon in South Carolina (and not happy about it), says the band didn't mean anything by it.

"I was saying it because at our shows people love it," he says. "Kids love it there. But our fans are a lot less offended by words than Guns N' Roses' drunken idiot ignorant fans."

Zaborowski will tell you that CKY's truncated run with the troubled GNR wasn't as bad for them as people might think. Sure, they weren't able to hear themselves very well and were prohibited from taping their own sets. But they did get to jam with Buckethead and, he says, "there was a riot on the first show and the last show. That's a perfectly symmetrical tour."

Although CKY shared a bill with a dying '80s act, the band could just as easily be playing the Warped Tour or Ozzfest. CKY, which formed in West Chester in 1998, has a '70s dark rock quality that's hard to pin down as either punk or metal-influenced. The band's third and latest record, "Infiltrate*Destroy*Rebuild," uses Moog synthesizers and bits of Pro-Tools to layer a sound that's reminiscent of a '70s supergroup -- like Boston on a Sabbath trip.

As Zaborowski describes it, "It's kind of like introducing a new scary beverage on the market and everybody's afraid to try it, because they don't know what it is; it's blue and it's got fizz coming out of it, it changes color when you touch it."

Of CKY's influences, Zaborowski says, "Most of the band, besides me, is into Kiss. I think they're annoying. I guess they're good at what they do, and we have some of the aspects of that. I'm a big Zappa fan. We all like Sabbath, Mike Oldfield, a lot of weird [stuff]."

The apocalyptic lyrics are the result of singer Deron Miller's cinematic interests.

"He's really into horror movies and that's where Camp Kill Yourself [CKY] came from," the bassist says. "And death metal. It's like a construction area when he listens to that. You gotta wear a hardhat when you're in the same room with him. He's not a normal guy, I'll tell you that. It wouldn't be the same without him."

Early on, CKY was perceived as a skate-punk band after they did some videos with skateboard star Bam Margera (drummer Jess' brother) doing wacky stunts. Bam and the music of CKY would become part of the culture of MTV's "Jackass" show and movie.

As for whether that's been a help or a hindrance to CKY's career, "A little bit of both," he says. "When people keep bringing it up, it's a hindrance" -- hint hint.

And then there are unrealistic expectations.

"Some people come to the shows expecting Bam and for us to do Steve-O stuff."

Scott Mervis can be reached at smervis@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2576.

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