My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult


Hailing from Chicago’s renowned Wax Trax! Records stable of recording artists, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult have been conjuring up sonic tales of sex, blasphemy and kitschy horror since 1987. Along with labelmates such as Front 242 and KMFDM, Thrill Kill Kult helped develop the industrial music genre, but they themselves continued to evolve, creating one of the most diverse repertoires in modern day music. Their sound can be described as electronic rock, heavily influenced by both disco and funk, yet touches of lounge, glam and house can also be found. One of their most distinctive characteristics is the use of spoken-word samples lifted from B-movies and other sources laced throughout their songs. Since debuting, they have released 13 studio albums, a slew of singles and compilations, and have had their music featured in many films, tv shows and soundtracks, all the while making a reputation for themselves as one of the most notorious and controversial cult bands of their generation.

Artist Franke Nardiello and musician Marston Daley first met while the two were touring with the band Ministry in early 1987. Bostonian Daley relocated to Nardiello’s hometown of Chicago later that year and the two became friends, conspiring together to make a trashy B movie (in the style of Russ Meyer and John Waters) to be called My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult. While the film itself never came to fruition, the pair also wrote an EP’s worth of music to be the soundtrack. Both worked at Wax Trax! Records in Chicago, and when the label caught wind of their obscure project, they became intrigued and eager to release it.

The duo took the title of the film as the name for their band, and after the EP sold surprisingly well, they decided to focus on the group full time, releasing their first album I See Good Spirits And I See Bad Spirits in 1988. The boys took the stage names Groovie Mann (Nardiello) and Buzz McCoy (Daley) and worked on creating an occult-biker meets disco-rock influence look for the project, which included a bevy of voluptuous back-up singers known as the Bomb Gang Girlz. This attracted the attention of indie fans and the ire of religious groups in practically equal measure. Both of these were absolutely courted by the band, most notably with their second 12” single, 1989’s hard- hitting dance floor classic Kooler Than Jesus, and by the time they released their second album Confessions Of A Knife in 1990, they were far and away one of the biggest selling acts on their label.

In 1991, the band embarked on the decadent “Sexplosion!” tour, titled after their third album. Melody Maker magazine described the show as “A cabaret from Hell”. The tour was a success and the record sold so well that the band signed a deal with Interscope Records shortly afterwards, and their single “Sex On Wheelz” became a sizeable radio hit.

TKK (as often abbreviated) issued two more releases for Interscope, 1993’s techno inspired 13 Above the Night, and 1994’s Hit & Run Holiday, a concept album of sorts, which told the tale of rebellious vixen Krystal Starlust and her fatal attraction to a drifter named Apollo. In 1997, the band teamed up with the Rykodisc label and issued further releases, A Crime for All Seasons (1997), a collection of 18 remixes called Dirty Little Secrets (1999), an homage to the disco era titled Gay, Black & Married (2004), a remix / mashup compilation named Diamonds & Daggerz (2005), and strip club inspired The Filthiest Show In Town in 2007. During this time, the duo also formed their own label SleazeBox Records, and released the albums The Reincarnation Of Luna (2001), Golden Pillz: The Luna Remixes (2002), a live recording titled Elektrik Inferno Live (2004), Death Threat (2009) and Spooky Tricks (2013). The label also serves as a vehicle for the groups other endeavors, Daley’s solo project Buzz McCoy and Nardiello’s Darling Kandie, and The Katastrophe Klown.

Hollywood has also embraced the band, recognizing the unique cinematic aspect of their music. The pair have written songs for many independent and major films, including animator Ralph Bakshi’s ‘Cool World”, Paul Verhoven’s saucy “Showgirls”, and the cult classic “The Crow”, in which they make a cameo appearance performing the song “After The Flesh”.

30 years later, Thrill Kill Kult remain of the most innovative and experimental groups of their era. They continue to release new material and tour extensively with a rotating cast of dubious characters, however the core of the band has always been Nardiello and Daley, both on record and in the live act. Their live performances continue to be as hedonistic as ever, and their loyal following lick it up!

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