Name: Chad I Ginsburg
Links: CKY Facebook Page
How did your interest in music begin? Do you come from a musical family? Take us back to the very start.
When I was about six, my best friend’s older brother was a drummer and we would go to his house and watch him practice with his band, doing old Judas Priest, Def Leppard and Van Halen songs. It blew me away and my grandfather was a producer with his own studio in Philadelphia. He was a very accomplished drummer, more of a jazz drummer.
Were you always dead set on playing the guitar or did you try out any other instruments?
I started playing the drums initially, but I never got a drum set. I had a pad and my grandmother told me to hold the sticks the way the jazz guys do and I didn’t think that was cool. All my lessons I had to hold the stick that way and it really made me not want to play the drums because I never saw anyone cool the sticks like that at the time.
You’re originally from the Philadelphia area. How was the scene there growing up compared to now?
The Philadelphia scene growing up was awesome to me because I got to see bands like Cinderella go from local band to opening for massive acts at the arenas. And see other amazing bands up close and personal, like Ween, grow from their humble beginnings to the amazing legendary band they are still today.
You have been in the band since the start, meaning you have 20+ years under your belt with CKY. Looking back on this journey, what are some of the stand-out moments you think you’re going to remember for as long as you live?
We have toured the world several times over and played with such amazing bands and just met so many awesome people. Just to name a few moments, like playing a sold out Madison Square Garden when we toured with Guns N’ Roses for 19 shows. Or moments like being personally requested by Hetfield to open for Metallica, jamming on Deftones’ gear in an act of rebellion and so many other awesome bands we got to share the stage with and become friendly with.
You’re not only a songwriter on your records, you have produced each album as well. Is the production role something you enjoy or is it a control thing, where you don’t want to let go of the reins to an outside producer?
The reason I have produced all our albums and mixed of them is because yes, I’m a bit of a control freak for sure, ha… To our own demise, lol… Good or bad, I wouldn’t have had it any different. Mainly because I just did not want our albums to sound like anyone else’s. I think that was achieved. I have been recording bands and producing other bands since I was 13. It’s something I’ve always done and loved. I can spend days awake messing with sounds. Self recording, producing and mixing really gave our band a unique sound that was unlike everyone else, because it all came directly from us, start to finish.
Would you ever consider working with an outside producer? If so, who are some names you’d consider?
At this point, yes, ha… I would love to work with a different producer and see what happens. It’s just normally by the time that opportunity comes up, our album is already done. I plan someday in the future to experiment with other producers and mixers for sure. Quincy, u around?
For this record, you’re also doing the lead vocals. How was the transition from playing only the guitar to also handling the main vocal duties?
All good. I never played only the guitar. It’s been lots of fun. I’ve done many vocals before on other records but much more as of late. I’m having a blast experimenting and growing.
You have a pretty unique sound – a mix of all kinds of styles. Is there a certain formula for writing what goes into CKY or is it a organic thing with more of a “no rules apply” approach?
I think the unique sound comes from having very little cooks in the kitchen and doing it 100% ourselves. But in general when I write, it is definitely an organic process until I harshly criticize it during rewrites. I do a lot of rewrites. Sometimes ten or more versions of songs before settling on the final arrangements, lyrics and mixes.
What Toontrack products do you use and where in the creative process do they come in?
I find writing with EZdrummer 2 to be very helpful in getting ideas out quickly and arranging new songs before I meet with the other guys.
If you weren’t a musician, what do you think you’d do for a career?
I’d say produce, engineer or mix but I think being a musician is very helpful to those things. Maybe I’d do live sound or tour manage.
Best studio or stage moment ever?
Recording our Island Records album “Infiltrate•Destroy•Rebuild”, we had put in the contract that we had to record it in Honolulu, Hawaii. Being from Philadelphia, that was pretty rad at the time. I truly value most moments on stage. So hard. Probably the next show will be the best moment. Gotta keep playing ‘em.
…and on the flip-side: Worst studio or stage moment ever?
At a crucial time in our career, following a very successful album… Upon completion of the recording and editing before mixing of our 2005 album “An Answer Can Be Found”, the drive (we had one – big mistake) was corrupted and we lost 60% of the good takes and was left with scattered distorted randomly placed corrupted files throughout every song session. Costing us at the time 20k in data recovery and 30k in additional time to quickly emergency-fix. The album suffers drastically and is one of my least favorites and a horrible memory. Gut wrenching.
What’s next on the agenda for CKY?
Lots and lots more new music and touring coming.
Studio computer: Mac
Main guitar: Ernie Ball Custom CKY
String gauge: 10-46
DAW: Pro Tools