After four years since he officially and fully left the manic, tumultuous universe of CKY (or Camp Kill Yourself for the diehards); visionary guitarist, vocalist and frontman Deron Miller has not stopped for a breath since. In between writing and releasing four solo project albums, Miller has also been dabbling in the B-Movie segment of horror movies, signing with his new guitar sponsor Esoterik and raising three children with his gorgeous scream queen wife, actress of ‘80s slasher film Sleepaway Camp, Felissa Rose.
Released at the end of last fall, the band issued their crowd-funded debut record Camp Pain via Distant Recordings (Read our review of the album here.) We were fortunate enough to catch up with Miller just before his birthday in May for a long chat about his new band 96 Bitter Beings, horror movies, touring, and the cut-throat industry of modern music production.
Please note: Interview has been truncated to a more manageable size after we managed to talk for over 90 minutes.
Hi, how you doing?
Deron Miller: I’m good. How are you?
Good. Thank you, I’ve been busy, practising and playing a few live shows with my band. I saw you played a few gigs recently, didn’t you?
Miller: Yeah, we did a few warm-up shows, you know, we’re headlining the famous Whiskey a Go Go in Los Angeles. And I think we have the Blues show in August.
I mean, it must be really cool, getting back into the live music scene and just getting back to performing. I guess it’s been a while, hasn’t it?
Miller: Yeah, I mean, time is flown by so fast having a family and everything. And now that the kids get older, they get self-sufficient. So I find myself getting extra time to do what I want to do. And I’ve always been recording and putting out albums, but I do want to get back out on tour, get a record contract and get out there and just do it all over again.
Here is the just-released new single from 96 Bitter Beings for “On and On and On.”
There is just something about playing live that you can’t really replicate in the studio, or seeing people’s reactions. And it’s seeing people having fun, isn’t it at the end of the day? You’re having fun, they’re having fun.
Miller: I really, really like it. I like being on stage and I like playing long sets. And I like hearing requests and playing requests and stuff like that. The other 22 hours of the day when on tour are hard to fill up though.
The joy of loading out and being with the same people like all the time. You’ll be the closest friends and by the end of the tour, you don’t want to see them for weeks.
Miller: That’s why when I assembled this current lineup. I had to make sure they were people that I could handle every single day, all the time. And they definitely are. We’ve been together for about five years. And they’re just great guys. Very talented and just unbelievable. Like the way we sound live is just unbelievable. I’ve never sounded like that before.
That’s so cool. I’m looking forward to the day when you guys are going to come over to the UK shores. You’re spoiling the West Coast, but we need see it here too.
Miller: I know. We were in the middle of setting up a UK tour. We had someone putting a budget together. I just think it’s a matter of just waiting to the next record comes out. I think it’s gonna change a lot of where we’re headed. And I think it’s gonna spread to a lot more people.
As I understand it you are aiming to get a record contract with Synergy Restored. So you’re gonna have a lot more distribution channels going on? Hopefully a much wider audience.
Miller: Right, yeah, exactly. And doing things like this, like interviews and getting reviewed and all that stuff.
It all helps to get the word out. As they say, you know, there’s no finer representation than word of mouth. And then it just snowballs, doesn’t it? I actually contributed to Camp Pain and I have not stopped listening to it since I’ve got my copy. It’s such an awesome record. You’ve knocked it out of the park. That record is so nicely mixed, and the instruments. They’re all just so clean.
Miller: That’s so great. Thank you so much. I mean, we worked so hard on it. We record about five albums worth of material as well. Because of the campaign, and we did a lot of cover songs, and a lot of re-recorded songs.
Yes, I actually wanted to ask about the covers. I happened to discover your “What Else is There?” Royksopp covers this because I think the (private) contributor actually put it on YouTube. Considering the (type of) song, you’ve managed to encapsulate the character of the song, but you’ve put your own spin on it.
Miller: What’s interesting is I had never heard that band or that song ever. It was a request from somebody who donated to the campaign. And when I heard it, I thought it was really cool. It was perfect for our style. (96 Bitter Beings guitarist ) Ken (Hunter) laid down some guitars and the guys laid down their parts. And then I added some guitar and vocals. I really liked how it turned out. It allowed me to do more with my voice than I usually do with my own songs.
Right. Yes. Because you get a lot higher in that one. And there’s lots of levels that you have to contend with one after another, isn’t it? It’s not just a straightforward level. It’s loads of different ones.
Miller: Exactly, yeah. I mean, I never really ever considered myself a singer, even in the old days.
It feels like a good time for the CKY music video for “96 Quite Bitter Beings.” Hmm, wonder where Deron got the band name from…
I actually watched your interview with (Chris) Raab, which was an awesome podcast, that you were talking about the fact that you never were planning to be a singer, to begin with. It was really cool to see how your singing actually progressed. Because in “Volume One,” it’s kind of rough and ready.
Miller: Right before Volume One, we did the “Gold Tape Demo” for my band when it was called Oil, and my vocals are just terrible. And I had no idea how to project (my voice). I couldn’t sing, because finding vocalists is the hardest part of the band to find. It wasn’t until we started doing demos for Volume One that the demos turned into the actual album. But when we were doing the demos, I had a lot of time to experiment with what I was able to do vocally, whereas when we did the “Gold” tape we were on the clock, like 300 dollars an hour or something like that. It was very interesting to listen back and be like, “Oh my god, I can’t believe that’s me.” Songs like “Disengage the Simulator,” “96 Quite Bitter Beings,” listening back to songs and being like, “I can’t believe that I was able to pull it off as a singer.” And now I feel like my voice is in the best shape it’s ever been.
I agree. Listening to Camp Pain, and the Royksopp cover, and “Beat it,” I love that cover. I remember hearing that I think in London, 2009. I think it was.
Miller: We started playing it right around Michael Jackson’s death. It was before his death. We just started playing it. And then he died in 2009, I think he died on my son’s birthday. He either died on my son’s birthday. Or he and my son have the same birthday. I can’t remember which.
Oh that would have been tough, it’s your son’s birthday. And then you hear MJ’s passed on. It must have been a real shock. Because you are quite a big Michael Jackson fan aren’t you?
Miller: Yes, I am. We were in Vegas when we found out that he died. I remember that. It sucked and the current documentary that’s out, I haven’t seen it yet. But I try to put people’s behaviour and their problems and whatever things they’ve done. I try to keep that separate from how I feel about the music, you know? I mean, the music doesn’t change. And I know that a lot of people boycotted his songs just like it. They’re still the same songs.
It’s a shame that people are trying to boycott his music because he was still such a pioneer of modern music. It’s so unfair, sadly maybe a reflection of the opinion on modern day music. I guess that leads to a question I wanted to ask you as well, how long have you been in the music industry?
Miller: I guess my very first show with a band was March 15th, 1992. So how many years is that? I was 16, I’ll be 43 tomorrow (May 21st) so! I’m just trying to stay 40, I don’t want to be 43.
I know that feeling when I was 30, I wanted to stay 29. But it’s not so bad, as they say, you’re only as old as you feel. So I guess age is just a number. So if you’re having fun then doesn’t really matter, I guess.
Miller: For sure, it hasn’t slowed me down one bit, and you shouldn’t let it.
As you say, you’re still in your prime, your voice is the best it’s ever been and the music you’re coming out with.
Miller: Thank you, the next album is my favourite thing I’ve ever done, and I’m just really excited about it. Every single song, I’m just really proud of it.
If you have put the effort that you’ve put into with Camp Pain, from what I understand you’ve made even more effort, you’ve really polished Synergy Restored even more.
Miller: We continue to write because a lot of the Camp Pain songs are supposed to be on Synergy. We’re just writing and writing and writing until we had all these songs. And then some of them are out there, and we’ve just released a little teaser promo of “Blood Rock Mania” and we’ve been doing them live. “Vaudville’s Revenge,” and “Wish Me Dead,” and we released “Conditional or Unconditional” a while ago and also “Throw Yourself Inside.” It’s all new, none of these songs were originally written for CKY, all of them have been written in the last two years.
Here is the cover artwork for Camp Pain, released November 28th, 2018 via Distant Recordings:
Awesome, that’s really cool, I like it already! With some of the riffs that you’ve created for Camp Pain, they’re just some of them are out of this world like, “Bugs and Snakes” was a (ex-CKY bassist) Matty J creation, wasn’t it? I think it’s a great track.
Miller: Yeah and Matty J was our bass player in CKY for a long time, he’s been around us forever, when we were in the studio for Volume One he was fourteen years old, in the studio helping us out. And you know, helping engineer, moving stuff, loading stuff in, just a fourteen-year-old kid with a lot of talent. He sent me the song, and Murry who used to play keyboards for us and he also did some drums on (fourth CKY record) Carver City, he did drums on “Bugs and Snakes.” They sent it to me, the drums are done in Philadelphia; the bass was done in Finland and then we did the rest here in Los Angeles. It’s multi-national, international tracking. He (Matty J) sent me the demo, and he wanted to know if I wanted to do it, and I said, absolutely. It sounds like a song I would have written 20 years ago, that’s what it sounded like to me.
I would agree with you. It’s got a very CKY vibe, but early CKY vibes in a good way. It brings the old school sound back. All the new sound is great, but it gives a nice updated CKY sound, and I really like that one. And obviously “Beat It” is just an awesome cover, though that one’s nostalgia for me more than anything.
Miller: Right, yeah, me as well! (laughs)
I remember London. 2009. You guys started playing “Beat It” and my friend and I, we were there like, “oh my god. Wow.” That gig was way fun. “Still Unstable” and the “Whipping Hands” are great too, I just love all of them.
Miller: We just did a video for “On and On and On” with Chris Raab and his friend Zach Storer, and that’s gonna be really cool when we edit that together. We’ll release that. I think that song really stretches the boundaries of what people probably think I do because I like all kinds of different music. And I always have to put the guitars in and heavy guitars in there somewhere. But I like to branch out and do some mellow stuff.
I mean, it’s nice to have that mix. Because you have got the hard hitters but then you’ve also got kind of mellow stuff like “On and On” and “December Higher Power.” That’s a quite a chilled track. Along with “Where Were You” which is more of a ballad. I don’t think there is actually one track I dislike on this album.
Miller: (laughs) Well we purposely wanted people to hate the very first song. People were like “Oh, God” when we were playing “Try it Again.” Yeah, people, the look on their faces like they didn’t know how they were going to be able to tell me that we sucked. But it was a joke. I wish I could see the look on everybody’s faces when they put that on and thought, “oh, god, that’s what the band sounds like” (laughs). It’s our sense of humour, just our little way of putting humour in everything we do.
I got that though! I must admit, I did put it on and it started and I was “Ok” and then the way it’s so purposely badly played, I was like, “Okay. Okay, I see what they’re doing here.” I think it was a nice touch, It’s casual. And then it’s almost like, it makes people get their guard down? You know, they listen to it and they think “Okay. Right. It’s gonna be that sort of album.” And then as soon as “Still Unstable” hits in, it’s like “Boom, oh shit!”
Miller: It scares the hell out of you! Because people have to turn it up to try to listen to what we’re saying. So they have the volume up then all of a sudden “Unstable” kicks in. And it’s like “Woah, oh shit!” It’s funny.
Here is a live version of the new 96 Bitter Beings track “Bloodrock Mania.”
I thought was a great touch. As soon as I gathered what you guys were doing with it, I was like “Yeah, I got it. That’s cool. That’s a nice touch.” You can’t have music without humour in this day and age. You gotta have fun. Otherwise, if you’re not having fun doing it, there’s no point in doing it is there!
Miller: Exactly, no limits, no limitation. If you’re working on something and it’s turning out good but it so happens that there’s maybe something in that song that you don’t usually do, Some people will scrap it. You know I mean, you should be free to do whatever you want.
Exactly. Whereas if you get a good idea, you just want to roll with it and just say, let’s see where this goes. You gotta have fun with it. Definitely. I’ve still got loads of questions to ask you about recording and stuff. Is that a stressful process for you?
Miller: No I love it. If anything its a stress killer. The way we have our own studio, it’s state of the art and we have all the most updated equipment, to be able to come up with ideas. And then flush them out with band and then go in and add to them and layer it and take things out, put things in. Try something. Try it again. Try it over. The end result is just fantastic. The best feeling in the world is listening to a song that you’ve just recorded that’s finished, being like “wow, this is, this is good.” And then eventually, of course, you get tired of it, and you get used to it, you know every single thing about it. But sometimes I like to record songs and put them away for a couple of weeks, and then listen to them. And it’s just like, it’s as close as you can get to listening to your own music, without it being your own music. As an artist, you’ll never get to listen to your song or your music as your listeners do. I always wish I could do that. I wish I could get temporary amnesia and go back to listen to all the stuff I’ve done and see what I would think as a fan or as a listener but it’s just not possible. (laughs)
Do you ever revisit your CKY stuff? And is it not that you’ve detached far enough from it that you can revisit with new ears? Or, as soon as you hear it like straight away it’s still the same?
Miller: I don’t even need to listen to those albums anymore because I can hear them in my head. I can hear every single note, and I remember every single thing I was doing at that time, how I came up with it, all that stuff. Carver City is an album I like to listen to because it’s so overly layered that it’s satisfying as a musician, but I can understand how some people probably thought we went a bit too far with the layering of stuff. There is a mix of that album out there that I think is a bit deader then the one we put out, there is stuff on there that I don’t totally remember even putting on there. It’s kind of cool to listen to that and I think Carver City was our peak. I really like that record, especially on vinyl.
I love it. I listen to it and there’s so many different layers. And then even if you listen to it twice in a row, and then you hear something that you haven’t heard before. It’s very cool, I have indeed got it on vinyl. I’ve got the incorrectly printed one I think.
Miller: Yeah, wasn’t that ridiculous? (laughs) They didn’t want to do it but that’s the funny part is that they have all these records come out of these bands that people are only interested in downloading their music and they put them out on vinyl and nobody buys the vinyl and we’re a band where people like to buy physical product. So why we had to fight to get our album put out on vinyl was beyond me, it was so ridiculous. And then when they did it they screwed it up, they put almost the whole album onto one side. I think it was four songs on side two and seven on side one, something like that, and it’s all out of order and it compromises the sound quality to have 25 to 30 minutes on one side. So I’m glad that Music On Vinyl released it the right way. Coloured vinyl, you don’t get the perfect sound. If you turn it up loud enough it doesn’t matter, especially with picture discs you put a needle on a picture disc and you just hear a hummmmmm which is a little bit of a compromise for people like me. But I love coloured vinyl.
Although coloured vinyl does come with compromise. But I’m the same. I have the Carver City original. And I’ve got the clear “Hellview” single. And I have got some KISS coloured vinyl as well as a remaster of Love Gun. I have that in red.
Miller: Oh yeah you guys get the really cool KISS releases over there, we get the really crappy ones. The coloured albums that they put out in Europe are so expensive over here. I was like, do I need an orange Love Gun? I don’t think so. Not at 45 dollars.
This is the original video announcement from Deron and the rest of the band back in the summer of 2016 debuting 96 Bitter Beings.
No, I agree that’s the same with me. I mean, if I really really wanted them then I’ll buy it, but I’ve got a record from a Finnish band. I’ve got that three or four times. And they recently released one that was red and then it’s signed by the singer. And I’m still wondering about getting it as I already have it three, four times on vinyl.
Miller: What I usually do is if I get three or four copies of a vinyl and a new one comes out, I might sell one or two of the old ones to get the new one. Yeah, that’s why I’m the same way. I’m a vinyl junkie and if one of my favourite albums comes out in all different kinds of formats then I have to get them all.
Oh, yeah, gotta be done. Yeah, I’m the same. Again this Finnish band, their latest album, they’ve done two or three vinyls and they’ve done different CDs. So I’m like, yeah, get all of them, get all of them. Though I like to listen to Spotify for convenience more than anything.
Miller: Yep that’s very rare, we’re very rare. We’re a rare breed. Back in the day, you had a lot of times you would judge an album by its cover, and you would buy it. Then you would take it home to listen to find out it sucked. Now you can listen to it first. The best situation would be to listen to it, love it and go buy it. That would be the ideal situation. And I think kids are getting more into wanting to own the physical copy, but not CDs I don’t think.
Yeah CDs are odd in the sense. I remember one of my old cars had a CD changer. And you put six of your CDs in there. But some dumb ass bolted the CD changer to the trunk carpet. And so every time you went around the corner, the CD changer would go on its side or something, then you get your CDs out and they’re all scratched to hell.
Miller: That’s the thing with CDs, once they get a little nick on them or something then they’re not new anymore. Oh man, it’s scratched! Get another one.
I like CD and vinyl. I love picking up an album, I love looking through the lyrics. Looking through the credits, and the thank yous and the artwork. Carver City had awesome artwork didn’t it?
Miller: Oh yeah, well we had, I felt at that time we had to have an album with a cool cover, because our album covers were always like the last thing that we cared about before the album came out and we didn’t spend too much time on it. I mean IDR was cool because it had like, I don’t know if it was in Europe, but in America, we did like some embossing and we put a poster inside. But without the metal embossing on, there wouldn’t really be anything special. I mean, it’s just the logo you know.
It’s kind of iconic in the sense that you see that album cover, it’s just, you know, straight away what it is. I’ve got five copies of that album alone. Did you get the ones in the plastic case and that was the CD and the IDR video album?
Miller: Yeah. When we were in Europe, I picked up ten copies of that, and I think I have six left. I don’t think we were ever aware of how well we did in Europe. In Germany it’s funny because since we had no idea what we were selling in Europe, we actually audited Mercury Records and found out they owed us something like 55,000 dollars so Mercury tried to deny that they even put our albums but I have copies right here in front of me.
Is that why you bought them so you could prove to them they owed you money! (laughs)
Miller: Exactly. I do buy them as proof! Plus they look cool, it’s cool to have an import copy of your own record.
The band recently released a visualizer video for a cover of the Röyksopp song “What Else Is There.”
I can imagine! I definitely I go through this phase of collecting as much as I can. I’ve got like a CD rack and no word of a lie, CKY, Foreign Objects and 96 take up three shelves just with the material I’ve got so I’m very much a collector and you are too I know! You’ve got your material and your vinyl, and I imagine your KISS collection is a damn sight more impressive than mine is!
Miller: You probably wouldn’t believe it if you saw it. If I didn’t unload some vinyl before I bought new vinyl the whole house would be filled. Most of my records are not five or ten dollar records, every single record I have is like 20 dollars or more. So I have to go through them all and say what do I want to get rid of? What don’t I want anymore? I can bring a couple more in. I found out that a UK company put out the soundtrack for Don’t Go in the Woods, one of my favourite horror movies. They put it out on vinyl, but they only made 30 copies. I don’t know why somebody would only make 30. But the guy at the record company said it was a nightmare for some reason, but he didn’t tell me why. I didn’t have one for like a year. Then finally as a birthday present, somebody sent me one and oh my god. It’s unbelievable. The packaging, it’s clear with red blood on it, it’s got posters, cards and all kinds of stuff. And it’s amazing. But only 30 copies.
Maybe that’s why they put so much effort into packaging. I guess maybe it was cost thing as well. They could afford to press 30 I guess.
Miller: I suppose. I mean, over here. Like every vinyl place I go to to press a vinyl, they never let me do less than 200. So I don’t know if they were planning on doing 500 but had to stop or something. It must have been expensive to make 30 copies that’s for sure. It sounds really cool for what it is. I mean, the music so hokey pokey. It’s ridiculous, but it sounds really good.
That does sound incredible to be fair! Have you heard of Waxwork Records?
Miller: Oh god, yeah, I buy them out every time they put out something that I like, and Mondo too. They do Friday 13th, and Mondo do the Halloween ones.
I think Mondo released the soundtrack of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode on vinyl recently. Part of me really wants to get that because it’s such a cool episode.
Miller: Yeah I know! it’s funny because you have to be online right when it goes on sale or you miss it.
Exactly. Yeah, because it’s all limited pressings and stuff. It’s difficult if you don’t have your paycheck yet. And you’re running out of money. It’s like oh, it’s coming out and I can’t afford it. I know the pain.
Miller: Yeah exactly! Prom Night is coming out, it’s on its way. I ordered that as soon as I saw it coming. I wish somebody would do KISS Meets The Phantom soundtrack (on vinyl). Like instrumental music or that cheesy music. I think it was Hoight Curtain is the guy’s name that did it. I’d love that. There’s a couple a things that I wish they would put out. The alternate version of KISS Meets is a bit better I think. It’s the one that came with the KISS DVD sets they were putting out. It’s called KISS and “Attack of the Phantoms.” It’s a totally different version of the movie and it’s actually much better.
Listen to “Bugs and Streams,” another new track from 96 Bitter Beings.
OK I will have to look up that one, because KISS Meets Phantom is not one of KISS’s finest moments in my opinion. Did you ever watch Scooby Doo Meets KISS?
Miller: Yeah I did, and I wondered why they did that. Because after talking so much crap about KISS Meets The Phantom they went back and did another Hanna Barbera thing. They’ll do anything I think.
I’m going to see them this year a couple of times. And I know it’s not the best that they are any more. But I’ve gotta check them out again before they finish.
Miller: Right, it’s sad, you know, I was debating whether I should go see them. There’s so many professional clips on TV and on YouTube, and I know he’s lip syncing and I know even the guitars are pre-recorded. So I’m like why would I want to go see it? I feel so bad, it must be killing Paul (Stanley) that he can’t sing anymore. Because Mick Jagger is like ten years older than him and he’s still doing it, and Steven Tyler, and Led Zeppelin, you know whoever. Paul McCartney is still singing. And for Paul (Stanley) to have lost his voice already, it sucks, I feel really bad for him, but I don’t think the answer is lip syncing.
No I agree. I mean, I’m planning to go see the spectacle two more times more than anything. I saw them in Helsinki and London 2017 and they were awesome shows.
Miller: Yeah and that’s when his voice started to really get shot. There’s a clip of them singing “Love Gun” in 2017 and it’s so bad.
That might even be at the Helsinki gig to be fair. Helsinki, in terms of gigs that didn’t go well for KISS. For the iconic curtain, the Finnish crew obviously having one hell of a time trying to get it up. They had been battling with it after the support act Raven Eye finished and there was pretty much half hour, 45 minutes wait until KISS and that whole time the Finnish crew were battling with that curtain.
Miller: All the effort just to watch it drop right?
Yeah exactly, but that wasn’t even the best part. You know the bit, “You wanted the best. You got the best” and it should drop after that. Right? What happened was is that they had so much trouble getting it up that when KISS was actually coming on, all the lights went down. And you could tell they’re behind that curtain and the curtain dropped actually before it was meant to, and we could just see them standing on the platforms like “oh shit.”
Miller: (laughs) Oh man, someone’s getting fired if Gene (Simmons) had anything to say. Oh man.
For that, for sure. Yeah, that did not go well. And I think they had sound issues on that gig as well. So that was my first KISS gig and it was amusing.
Miller: Do you think they will do another tour?
I know what you’re saying. They always say “oh, this the farewell tour this farewell tour.” I think this could really be it I think, like if they try and do any more then Paul is just kidding himself. He can’t do anymore. Like this “air-quote” farewell tour that’s lasting three years, I think is.
Miller: Right, and it’s just going to go on until one of them drops dead anyway (laughs). They’ll just keep adding more dates.
Head into a “Familiar Realm” with this now ten-year-old music video from CKY.
(laughs) Well exactly, I think this one is going to go on until 2021 I think they’re finishing so, it’s not a really farewell tour, just a tour for three years. I’m hoping they do finish at the end of it though. I mean, Twisted Sister did it right. After the death of A.J. Pero I think they did the right thing like, “Okay guys, we you know, we’ve had a good run, forty years so we call it quits,” and KISS should have probably done that easily ten years ago.
Miller: But you know what, it’s so funny because all these bands, they all have their farewell tours. I just read something about Scorpions coming out with new record and touring again, it’s like what the hell’s going on.
Ozzy as well. They did the Black Sabbath farewell tour. And now he’s on the Ozzy Osbourne tour. I’m just like, dude, you drew the line at the Black Sabbath and now you’re doing the Ozzy Osbourne tours. And he’s had to postpone it and everything because his health is so bad.
Miller: Yeah, he’s getting up there. He’s, I can’t imagine how Ozzy sounds… I mean, I heard that he just kind of stands there. I’ve never seen him. I have DVDs and stuff. But I’ve never seen (him live). He used to be crazy on stage, but now I don’t know if he forgets a lot of words but I think he has a monitor or something he has to read from. We met him before, he was a really nice guy. We never did Ozzfest, but we did a (talk show), Late Night with Conan O’Brien, I think. And Ozzy was the guest and we were the music. Yeah he was really cool.
I bet he is, I’d love to meet him and Alice Cooper. From what I understand, Alice is really educated. Really quietly spoken guy. I bet he’s fascinating in person. A keen golfer too I think.
* A whole bunch of talk about golfing, Deron admitting he never wanted to be a golfer and he’s more of a bowling kind of guy. His dad plays golf, prompting my next question…
What do your parents think of your new ventures? Are they happy to see you happy?
Miller: Oh yeah, definitely, they’re very supportive. They were scared in the beginning, ’cause I had a plan, but they weren’t aware of it. So to them, it just looked like I was graduating high school and wasn’t going to do anything. But you know, right out of high school I was pretty much right on to a tour bus so they started to trust in the fact that you can believe in something and do it. And I think they were scared which I understand.
I guess in the early days it was very turbulent a lot of the time and I guess they maybe they were just worried because they didn’t want you to get in the same sort of turbulent way again. It’s awesome that you’ve got such a good crowd with you now. These guys seem really cool.
Miller: Yeah I’m very lucky. Very lucky to have everybody that I have.
They seem super talented, you are all super talented, and I’m looking forward to seeing you guys hopefully, when you get here, whenever you do.
Miller: Yeah, I know. We want to but it has to be economically sensible. So we’ll see what happens. We’ll see what happens with the guy that’s trying to get us over there. I love going to the UK. It’s great. It’s different from America. Because American kids just kind of sit there with their phones. Why do you want to watch it later, Watch it now.
Another Deron era CKY classic with the official music video for “Attached At The Hip.”
Totally agree. The UK is kind of getting like that, which is annoying. I was at a gig recently. And someone they put their phone up and they’re just recording and it’s right in front of my face because I’m quite tall. I was like, cool. Okay, I’ll watch through your screen. That’s fine.
Miller: That is annoying. And it’s also not that great being on stage and seeing it either. People having their phones right in my face. I remember the days when you weren’t even allowed to bring a camera into a concert.
Yeah I remember that was like 2003 2004. I went and saw you in Birmingham and they were really strict camera and security too. These days, it’s kind of a curse and a boon at the same time to have people recording. It’s good especially with concerts, if someone records an unknown band playing, and then puts on YouTube, it’s got the chance that people are saying “Oh, my God, that’s incredible.” But then at the same time, it’s horrible for you guys, because you have to look at a phone rather than seeing people’s reactions. And you’ve got to be able to bounce off people and gauge them.
Miller: Exactly but you know, whatever. I mean, it is what it is. It’s very open to everything that used to be not allowed, is allowed. We have to deal with it.
*We then talk about horror films, filming locations and Friday The 13th in particular, of which he’s a massive fan.
I understand on “Cavalcade of Perversion” (Instrumental from Camp Pain) you used soundbites from Friday The 13th Part 3?
Miller: Oh yeah, “Is this your rubber?” (laughs) Yeah Part Three.
Yeah! And “It’s an eyeball!” Those were from Part Three, I thought so. There was one I was trying to place, the bit “Well, I didn’t smell anything.”
Miller: Oh that’s Criminally Insane. It’s also called Crazy Fat Ethel, have you heard of that movie? It actually has two titles, one is Crazy Fat Ethel and the other is Criminally Insane. It’s from 1975, it’s a pretty funny movie. You should definitely watch it.
Well I might have seen it because I recognize that line. But I couldn’t place it. But it was that then, yes. I love the bass line of that track. If I could learn by ear, I would definitely learn that one. But I’m not that good of a bassist!
Miller: Well hopefully I get to teach it to you sometime.
Oh, that’d be so cool! I mean, well, if you hopefully get to the UK at some point I’ll bring my bass along.
Miller: We’re trying to get there. Hopefully tonight I’ll be able to find out where we’re at with that. See how it is coming along, hopefully, we’ll be able to be there.
Well it would be amazing. It’s actually been ten years since I last saw you live in the UK, so I think we’re overdue a visit!
Miller: It’s been ten years since I’ve been there too I think. I think it’s time.
Hopefully you guys get here, even if it’s not this year, hopefully, we can get you early next year or something because it’d be cool.
Miller: That’s definitely what we’re trying to do.
I think there’s definitely an audience here. Like, I said, my friends from earlier they still listen to CKY. And I’ve told them about your band, they think it’s amazing. There’s certainly people that want to see you play again.
Miller: Oh cool! Well we appreciate the word getting out and we’re trying to get the word out as much as possible, so when we do come there it’ll be more of a success. There’s so many old friends I would like to see again.
I’ll do what I can to help get the word out. I’m cycling it pretty much non-stop on my Spotify and my car.
Miller: Well we definitely appreciate the review. Appreciate that.
Another solo video of Deron in a bedroom performing “Close Yet Far” on his acoustic guitar.
Well, you’re welcome. It’s a little late after the release date, but does it really matter?
Miller: Exactly, there’s no such thing as album cycles now, ’cause we’re coming out with a video for it soon. Just gotta keep promoting it. If it’s something people don’t know about it doesn’t matter. I’d rather have millions of people hear it and say they don’t like it, than have millions of people just not hear it. Maybe they probably would like it if they did hear it. It’s so hard to get music out organically because you have to spend money on ads and stuff now. I’m more of an organic person. I want to see who gravitates towards it naturally. Then you can start promoting later on, but it’s doing very well. We are actually going to do a vinyl of it, and also of Galactic Prey. That’s another album that I love that I did.
I actually listened to Galactic Prey again today. And I took the time to look through the lyrics. I think one thing that continues to confounds me with your lyrics after all this time, it’s still so deep, meaningful, lyrics.
Miller: Right. I just love to write stories, I just love language. I love the English language. There are just so many cool words out there. Whenever I hear a new word, like sometimes I’m still hearing new words that I never heard before, we all do, and I think what does that mean? And then you find out what it means. And it’s like “aw we definitely do something with that.”
Exactly, Even the name “Cavalcade of Perversion” just sounds so cool.
Miller: That actually comes from the John Waters movie Multiple Maniacs. It’s black and white, it’s almost as good as Pink Flamingos but I think Female Trouble is the best. There’s a lot of quotes from that movie in that song, too. “You’re a pain too, a pain in my big ass-hole!” That’s from Female Trouble, you have to watch that.
(laughs) Now I have to!
Miller: It’s getting to be, you and I have so much in common. I definitely know you would laugh hysterically at that movie!
I would. I love all the bad horror films like that.
Miller: It’s a trashy movie. he’s from Baltimore, one of the trashiest cities in the U.S. and people just have really strange personalities. And his movies are about Baltimore. People, and they have this weird accent and he captured it perfectly with those ’70s films. You gotta see them. He goes way too far with nudity and everything, it’s just so fucked up. Really funny.
Oh, that sounds awesome. Yeah, I’m gonna have to check those out, fucked up movies are always fun. Although I draw the line at stuff like Dinosaur Island. This is just, there’s a limit.
Miller: Is it a dinosaur movie? I did a dinosaur movie that it’s so bad that it’s good. It’s called Jurassic City? It’s so cheesy!
It feels like it’s about time for some riffage. Check out Deron Miller riffing away on his Esoterik LK27 baritone.
Yeah it is. Oh yeah, I watched that. Yeah, I think you were in it for maybe a minute?
Miller: Yeah my friend the director asked me if I do would do a part in it, and I was 20 minutes away. I was like, “Yeah, why not.” When I appear in films it’s usually as a favour.
But it’s cool like that and it’s not a film that you would have maybe done otherwise. So it’s a cool opportunity.
Miller: I love acting. I love acting. Me and Raab are planning on doing something, like some short films. I have a lot of ideas that are I think are funny that are kind of cynical but funny.
Yeah, that sounds cool, I’d still watch it! I actually watched Deadly Xmas again recently, which I haven’t watched in a while so I fancied watching it again.
Miller: Oh I love that movie. I love that movie and the Halloween one. I love all three of them, the summer vacation one, the Christmas one and the Halloween one too. I think Dave Campfield is so talented.
I haven’t see the Halloween one, I don’t think we can get it in the UK because I’ve looked and I can’t find it. I have summer camp and I have Deadly Xmas but I can’t find Halloween anywhere, I don’t know where it is.
Miller: Maybe try Amazon, it might not work in your player but if you get a multi-region payer that plays American DVDs it should work. The Halloween one is the best one. He gets better with each one he does, but he hasn’t done one in a while. They’re a lot of fun.
No but I hope he comes up with another one soon though. ‘Cause they’re just good fun aren’t they. But I had better let you go because you gotta take your kids to the park still.
Miller: Thank you so much for everything that you’ve done and for this interview.
You’re more than welcome. It’s no problem. It’s been awesome to speak to you because it’s been ten years since I spoke to you last. I met you in Swansea in 2009 I think it was. But I didn’t get to speak to you much. Hopefully, when you come to the UK, we can chat properly and chat shit about horror films all night or something.
Miller: All right. Thank you very much. I’ll talk to you soon, maybe even see you soon.
No worries, it was my pleasure, thank you very much and I sure hope so!
Miller: All right. Thank you. Take it easy.