Music Monday | Kevin Churko

From early 2009 to late 2014, I knew of five producers in the metal scene. The first was Rick Rubin, second was Flood, who worked with Thirty Seconds To Mars, James Michael, he is the lead vocalist of Sixx:A.M. with Nikki Sixx and DJ Ashba but has produced several albums for other bands, Kevin – which I’ll explain more in a minute, and Joost van der Beork. Spoiler alert: he will be discussed in next month’s theme!

I came across Kevin Chucko in either 2011 or 2014; I know this is a big gap of time, but these were the years that my new love of music became very prominent. As I was into the genre for close to six years straight. I really made myself pay attention to various music producers just like I had in the hip hop world in my younger years.

I was actually introduced to Kevin Churko after the nu metal band Papa Roach worked with James Michael on their album “The Connection” in 2012. If you didn’t know, this is actually fairly common in music. Everyone, whether they are just a singer or in a band with more than the standard five members, can work with various people in the album making process. They are not just limited to a set and have to make it work that way. You could look at this as like playing the children’s game “duck, duck, goose” but I think it’s a smart thing to do and I feel like I played the same game in the very beginning of figuring out what I loved about the headbanging and mosh pittin’ lifestyle too.

Sometimes acts will in fact devote their time with only one composer, engineer, songwriter and producer for their work if the chemistry is there, but in order to keep things interesting and build a relationship, you can grow out of your comfort zone and do something new. Kevin Chucko has worked with prominently rock bands. He’s based in Las Vegas and shockingly not all bands want to have fun on the Strip. For most musicians, they make the choice to stay at home and work via online or relocating to wherever their record company sends them to, which is usually where their producer lives.

The first band that I fell in love with in 2009 was female fronted was In This Moment. Since they released their album “Blood” in 2012, they have exclusively worked with Kevin. Personally, it is my ultimate favorite but I think their newest “Mother” has cemented into a stable second place. While I tend to stop following bands in between albums, ITM has been in the same bag as other bands like Linkin Park and Within Temptation where I am always looking at my trustee sources so I don’t miss out on anything they release in the future.

Kevin has also worked with heavy metal band Five Finger Death Punch on their album “American Capitalist” which I think came out the same time but I’m really not for sure!Now, for anyone who doesn’t know, this was my first and most beloved album by FFDP and it was also with this collection of songs that I found out that I could enjoy the harsher style of male voices in rock ‘n roll, thanks to Chester Bennington! A year or two later, after working with James Michael, Papa Roach started going to Kevin Churko and he has produced their music since probably 2014 and even though I have only really heard the singles from the last three albums, I usually love anything they put out to the fans.

A couple of things I learned while writing this post were: I have been spelling his name wrong, so I had to change the banner and everything else, so if you notice any misspellings throughout this post, I am so sorry! The next one is he has alongside another producer that was on my original list – Mutt Lange. My mom actually suggested him but once I decided on doing this as a miniseries, he was cut out of the lineup but I thought this was interesting (but odd) to include here. And lastly, Kevin’s son Kane Churko is also a producer, and generally works with the same acts but has done a few remixes here and there too!

Have you listened to anything produced by Kevin Churko? If you have, what are your favorite(s)?



Dear Nikki Sixx

All my life I’ve never been a big fan of myself. I hated what I looked like in a mirror. I hated the fact that I wasn’t like my sister whatsoever. I didn’t have the blonde hair, hazel eyes, all of the muscles she had in her arms and legs. In my disease, not only is it a joint disease where all of my joints are locked in place but I have less muscles than a regular person like me. I’ve always compared myself against my sister. I’ve never really hated her for being the “perfect” one, but I’ve hated myself. Hating yourself is a nightmare. Just this past weekend I remembered all these feelings I had when I hated myself. The feeling of you can’t do this or that and it got to the point where I was so mad at myself I hit the floor with my foot so hard it hurt afterward. Then I remembered not to be so mad because it’s not my fault I can’t lift myself off the floor. The reason why I can’t lift myself is because my back side is too heavy. I have metal in my back. If I hadn’t had the spinal fusion surgery back in 02 I could have died. It’s just a blessing in disguise.

That’s how I see life. Everything is a blessing from God, and life is beautiful with both the highs and lows. We learn from everything we do. Everything we get introduced to is there for a reason. So when I got introduced to the story of Nikki Sixx and started to listen to a lot of Sixx:A.M. I started to think. How can a guy like Nikki think a person like me is beautiful? I’ve been told from family and close friends (including Twitter friends) that I was beautiful, but I’ve never taken them seriously. No offense. At the time I was listening to “Lies Of The Beautiful People” and watching the music video and holding back tears because nobody outside of that comfort zone has ever said that. Even though it wasn’t directed to me, personally. The song and video (mostly his photography) captured me. So I started thinking well if he likes me for who I am, maybe I shouldn’t give up hope on everybody. Everybody tells me I’m inspiration. You want an inspiration? Read about Nikki Sixx.

He’s changed my sense on life. How I choose to see people. How I choose to see myself. I still have my doubts. Everybody does, it never leaves. I’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo. I’ve never gotten one before. I want to get “Life Is Beautiful” on the side of my right leg. I’ve always hated my legs. I’m always wearing long-sleeved pants because shorts and I don’t get along. I want to be bold like Nikki and say something meaningful. Life is a beautiful blessing we have. I shouldn’t care about what others think of me. I should be proud of what I got. Having a tattoo of a song that means so much, hell even the band, they mean so much to me. They’ve changed me on how I look at everything. So why shouldn’t I flaunt something like that? I’m not the type of fan who would drive a celebrity crazy constantly, so this is what happened. I let it all out on here. So thank you Nikki Sixx, Dj Ashba, and James Michael. You changed me into thinking everything in life is beautiful just the way it is. My senior quote was “Why be normal when you can be so much more.” I don’t think I’m normal, instead I think I’m beautiful. (:


My Love/Hate Relationship With Art

In grade school my favorite class wasn’t lunch or recess, instead it was Art. My friend Ashlyn gave me a suggestion on my Twitter earlier. She gets very creative with these ideas, they’re definitely making me think. Today she told me to talk about my favorite thing to do as a kid and now and then compare each of them. Art, either it was drawing or painting I always loved it. Not necessary doing it myself, but I loved everybody’s else pictures. When I was in school besides writing, drawing was my second gift God blessed me with. Everybody was always amazed with me whenever I’d do both, but drawing was everybody’s favorite I think. My Art teacher in Elementary was Mrs. Hays. She was my favorite teacher out of like seven teachers I had. She always encouraged me on my artwork. She made me feel better after everybody watching me all the time while we worked on our projects.

When I got into middle school, we got into the 3-D type of projects. I noticed after my first attempt of making a cat in clay and it ended up looking like the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt. Except mine wasn’t suppose to end up like that and ironically enough the nose actually fell off when our teacher Mr. Ross welded them. We still have it somewhere, I actually hate it but everybody seems to still love it. It made realize that the 3-D projects were not for me. And I didn’t just do that one to make me realize it either. I made a box and cup and both of those were made by my aide. During my Junior year, I tried painting after five years of not painting at all. I did the ingredients of Salsa. We finally have those up after three years. I didn’t think I did well with those either so I never continued with painting.

Drawing, doodling for me is fun. It’s always been interesting what I’ll find and want to draw. When Senior year came I didn’t have art until second semester and I was worried that I’d never be able to have it then either with my ISTEP classes I had to have and others as well. When second semester came, I had ideas of what I wanted to draw and already had the pictures picked out. I was prepared. The only thing I was worried about was my teacher’s approval of the pictures. I had six guys I wanted to draw and only one picture out of the six was the original picture I picked out at first. Everybody’s would go back and forth. I got six portraits done in four months. Three of them were started a day after the other. My fourth was my shortest time, I did that one for three days. The longest amount of time was my last portrait and it took me two weeks. After I finished those drawings, I could have just stopped right there, but we had to have 9 to 11 projects.

Now I know you’re thinking, I only did six drawings, but however I did put two medias in one drawing. So it shortened my projects down a bit. When May came, my teacher didn’t want me to not do anything in his class so I had to find something else to draw. So I started searching for my best and favorite feature on a person: Eyes. I love eyes! With or without make up. I found hundreds of pictures but chose this picture of baby blue eyes. I already went into about this drawing a month ago, so I’m not going to talk about it again. After graduation, I vowed I was done was art. After years of people watching me and admiring my artwork I just stopped. I didn’t see the point of going on. The reason why is because when I was in class, even though everybody was admiring my artwork I was admiring their’s. I loved watching everybody else draw. It was more like envy, because they hated everytime I’d watch them. Thankfully, they never said anything about it, but I know the feeling of being watched and it sucks. Especially when you’re doing average things like writing and drawing.

So going back to Ashlyn’s topic. I have not gotten back into drawing. After two years, I’d like to start drawing again but I liked the fact that when I was in the class I had the teacher there to watch me and help me if I needed it. Which was often. I don’t think I can do it now. I already have pictures lined up in my head of who I want to draw. Everytime I look at different photography of people, I think “oh, that would be cool as a drawing.” Since I have a history of drawing celebrities like, my first was Justin Timberlake (Junior year) and Linkin Park (Senior year) they’re the first thing I want to do. I’ve been thinking of trying to go small, but that never happens in my case. There is one picture I’d just like to try to it’s a picture of James Michael. The lead singer of Sixx:A.M. I saw this picture and I literally went “I want to draw this” and then I start to get worried. Because all my doubts start flooding me and making me think twice about doing it on my own. This is what the picture looks like, it looks too detailed for me and my other drawings didn’t have that much detailed on them. See, all my doubts are coming in and making me think twice about it.


Well today I got my wish, well more a part of one of my prayers answered today. My mom went and did my nana’s errands for her this morning and not only did I get my cookie dough ice cream (Shhh… nobody tell my sister!!) but I also got my money that nana owed me. I used that for my new book. I like the fact that I did not ask for my money this morning before she left. I think I was more concerned about the ice cream than the damn money. Money doesn’t last long around me. Before my mom got back from there she sent me three texts messages, one answering the text I sent her after she pulled out of the driveway the other two were “Nana gave me your money you can buy your book now” and the last one was, “Headin home” by the time I saw any of these was when she actually pulled up to the driveway. It did not take me long to sit myself up and go to Amazon and buy the freaking book.

Between the book and ice cream those were my highlights of my day, because everything else about today sucked. I was in a mood where I hated everybody and definitely didn’t want to talk to anybody, and yet I felt bad thinking that way. I’m a weird person when it comes to certain things. I’m pretty random. I can be happy one minute and then get to thinking about something that happened a week ago and just ruin every good thing I had in my head. I try to keep myself occupied by doing things that don’t really make me think. So Twitter and Tumblr become my best friends when I get in these moods. Oh, lord “Skin” just started playing on my Spotify. Goody. Besides this song makes me really sad because of the lyrics. James Michael has one ahhh-mazing voice! Even though he’s around my dad’s age he really cute. Compared to DJ Ashba though, we can’t even go into that one. That’s enough to kill me right there. Nikki Sixx should consider himself lucky to not be on my “crush” list. Just saying!