My life with the Thrill Kill Kult

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Hailing from Chicago’s renowned Wax Trax Records stable of bands,THRILL KILL KULT creators Groovie Mann (lead vocals) and Buzz McCoy (keys/production) have been conjuring up sonic tales of blasphemy, sexcapades and kitschy horror for over 25 years. Their sound is a concoction of experimental, disco, rock, new wave, lounge and glam, interlaced with their signature “sampled dialogue” – a reflection of the duo’s musical influences, and insight into the their taste in cinema. In fact, the original intent was to write and produce a trashy B -movie in the style of John Waters and Russ Meyers. Yet without much film experience and access to video equipment, the project was scrapped, only to be transformed into a musical group of the same name – something both had more expertise in. Groovie (Franke Nardiello) fronted the late 70’s Chicago bands The DT’s and SPECIAL AFFECT, as well as singing for the post-punk British outfit DROWNING CRAZE.Buzz (Marston Daley) attended Berklee College of Music in 1979, but soon realized a formal education in jazz piano was not for him. He picked up the guitar, and began performing with a variety of “art-punk” type groups in the Boston music scene before relocating to Chicago in 1987.

The early years of TKK were spent touring extensively with an entourage of musicians, performance artists, and a back-up trio of voluptuous, singers/dancers dubbed the BOMB GANG GIRLZ. The shows had a “Cabaret From Hell” vibe, arousing the curiosity of the kids and the media, establishing the group as one of America’s premier “industrial-dance” acts. 

The band’s popularity among the underground club scene was fueled by hard-hitting dance tracks with titles like Kooler Than JesusDo You Fear For Your ChildA Girl Doesn’t Get Killed By A Make-Believe Lover Cuz It’s Hot (featuring punk poet chanteuse Lydia Lunch), and A Daisy Chain 4 Satan. The Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) was appalled.

TKK PromoPic2014

Their third album SEXPLOSION (1991) spawned the chart-topping radio savvy song Sex On Wheelz, which quickly gained the attention of the major labels, and the band signed to Interscope Records in 1992. Like all of their releases, the album had an overpowering cinematic quality, so it wasn’t surprising when Hollywood also took notice. They found themselves writing for an assortment of soundtracks like Paul Verhoeven’s “Showgirls” and animator Ralph Bakshi’s “Cool World.” In 1994, they stepped in front of the camera for a cameo in the cult classicThe Crow to perform the song After The Flesh. More recently TKK was written into the story line of the 2013 film Sexy Evil Genius. Their music can be heard frequently in movies, television and cable shows, such as HBO’s long running, “Real Sex” series, Showtime’s “Californication”, and last summer’s indie flick “Crazy Eyes”.

But it doesn’t end with studio, film and TV; Groovie and Buzz still take to the road extensively, along with a rotating cast of dubious characters. In 2010 they re-created their role in the “Sextacy Ball Tour” along with Belgium’s rave darlings Lords of Acid. In 2011 they performed at the “Wax Trax Retrospectacle” show in Chicago, with old label matesFront 242 and Revolting Cocks. Joining Groovie and Buzz on this year’s SPOOKY TRICKS Tour will be veteran drummer Justin Bennett, bassist Mimi Star, and guitarist Westin Halvorson. Opening the show will be [DJ] TOXIC RAINBOW. Best known for his genre-breaking DJ sets, ever changing production style, and monthly show on Digitally Imported ElectroDJTR has been inspired by THRILL KILL KULTsince the age of 14. In 2012 he won a Beatport.com remix contest re-working the classic TKK club hit Kooler Than Jesus and recently finished remixes for the band’s new album, as well as mixes forGroovie’s side-project DARLING KANDIE.

MY LIFE WITH THE THRILL KILL KULT’S sound has always been fearlessly experimental and has become hugely influential to many artists today. They continue to morph and stretch the fabric of music and as we know it, always remaining true to the KULT and true innovators.

About Bryan Joe Corder (4279 Articles)
Concert Photographer at heart, Love listening to music and going to shows to try to capture the magic on the stage with my imagery.I also review albums and live concerts.
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