In 1994 West Chester, PA, friends Deron Miller and Jess Margera formed a band under the name Foreign Objects. In 1995 they released a 5-track EP on Distant Recordings called The Undiscovered Numbers & Colors, which was described by some as "Earth Crisis meets Rush."
In 1996, they decided to start another band called Oil. After some confusion with a New York band also named Oil, Deron changed the name to Camp Kill Yourself. In 1998, Jess's brother Bam, a pro skateboarder, was featured on Toy Machine's video "Jump Off A Building," so during "Bam's Park Footy," they played the band's song "Genesis 12a." In the credits there was contact info on how to get more CKY recordings.
Deron and Jess added Ryan Bruni to the band's lineup as a bassist and were ready to record. When they went to Groundhog studios to record the album, they met Chad Ginsburg , who was working at the studio as a producer. The first CKY song he heard was the "Disengage The Simulator" demo, and he immediately fell in love with the riff and wanted to be part of the band. At the time he was in the band Rudy & Blitz as a guitarist, but he moved on over to play guitar for CKY. Bam's antics in "Jump Off A Building" were loved by viewers, so he released a full-length video of such antics through Landspeed Wheels called "Landspeed: cKy" in March 1999. He needed a soundtrack, so he gathered up all the songs CKY had recordedand used them in the video, and they recorded a few extra songs just for the video. "Camp Kill Yourself: Volumes 1 and 2" were released on Teil Martin International, were released around the same time as the video. They both sold out quickly. The band went on the 1999 Warped Tour and played for Volcom, but were kicked off after a protest in St. Louis over the prices the tour's vendors were charging. By this time, they had become superstars in the skateboarding world. In late summer, they were signed to the Volcom Entertainment record label, and released a re-mastered Volume 1 in December.
In February 2000, Ryan Bruni was out of the band. According to some, he left because he didn't get along with Jess, and others say he was kicked out because he didn't really contribute to the band (Deron played most of the bass on Volume 1). Then Volcom's lawyers were afraid of some people being offended by the band's name, as well as the album cover (a drawing of Bud Dywer, a politician who killed himself on live TV in the 1980s). So Volcom changed the band's name to Camp and changed the album's artwork and on 04.01.00 released "CAMP: cKy" but no one liked the new name. So after some pushing, the band was able to get its name changed to simply CKY. In May, Volcom rereleased the album AGAIN with the same art as CAMP: cKy, but on the tray they changed it to say cKy: CAMP.
After the video CKY2K had come out, CKY had been exposed to people across the world. Even Limp Bizkit, Green Day, and Blink-182 became fans. CKY played the Warped Tour again that summer, but didn't get to play the West Coast. They released a limited edition EP, "Disengage The Simulator," for the Warped Tour. It sold out after 2 months. Without a bassist, Chad had been forced to play bass all through the Warped Tour until July, when they found bass player Vern Zaborowski and recruited him into the band.
In October 2000, Bam became part of the hit MTV show "Jackass," and some of the band's music was played, such as "96 Quite Bitter Beings," "Genesis 12a," and "Shippensburg." CKY was reaching out to even more people, and so Volcom released what would be the FINAL incarnation of the album: "cKy: Camp Volume 1." With CKY's music taking over MTV on "Jackass," it was time for them to hit the big time: to hit TRL. Many people were saying it would be a bad thing and that MTV sucks, but it was decided that the reason the fans don't like MTV is because MTV doesn't play the kind of music they like, and if CKY started putting their videos on MTV, it would make it better.
On December, MTV played the "96 Quite Bitter Beings" video on a show called "HotZone," and it was filled with footage from "Jackass." Fans were disappointed, but the band told them that the video didn't matter, the important thing was the music and getting it on MTV to replace the wave of trendy bubblegum pop and rap-rock, and Jackass was the only way MTV would play the video. Fans soon got over it and anxiously awaited new material from the band.
On April 1, 2001, the band rereleased Volume 2 again as a double-disc set, disc one with music and two with pranks, on Distant Recordings. They added unreleased material both new and old. That same month, they left Volcom to move on to Island/Def Jam Records.