My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult

The Cool Groovie Mann
The Cool Groovie Mann

My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, also just called Thrill Kill Kult or TKK is an industrial rock band from Chicago, Illinois.

Thrill Kill Kult is the name given to the band by Frankie Nardiello, who was Ministry’s light technician on their 1986 tour. Frankie wrote his first songs with Alain Jourgensen, the charismatic frontman of Ministry and one of their songs was called “Thrill Kill Kult“. On this occasion, with Alain Jourgensen on guitar and Harry Rushakoff on drums, Nardiello formed the group Special Affect, a project that was never to come. Soon after, Nardiello and a friend Marston Daley worked on the music for a movie Hammerhead Housewife and the Thrill Kill Kult, a movie that never found a broadcaster. Although it hasn’t been released, Wax Trax! Records published the soundtrack of the film as a maxi containing three tracks.

Under the pseudonyms “Groovie Mann” (Nardiello) and “Buzz McCoy” (Daley), they officiated as My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult. Since their first 3 tracks were selling well, they were offered a deal on a full album. Named “I See Good Spirits and I See Bad Spirits“, the album was released in 1988. Loved by both independent radios and DJs, the album brought the band a following that loved as their music so their stage performances.

Thrill Kill Kult’s second album, Confessions of a Knife, remains to this day one of the best sellers of the Wax Trax! Label, and influences many groups, especially with the titles “A Daisy Chain 4 Satan” and “Rivers of Blood, Years of Darkness“.

The occult elements, including Satanism, which were an integral part of their music, have evolved in recent years and the group has reoriented to the “shady” disco sounds. Their 1991 album Sexplosion! tends towards psychedelia, house rhythms and towards what will be the basis of their music to come.

The latest albums have expanded on these sounds and also explored new directions, such as in 1995 with the release of Interscope of Hit & Run Holiday, with which they combine the electronic signature of the Kult’s with psychedelia, surf rock, and reminiscences of garage rock from the 1960s, but still contemporary sounds like those of The B-52’s.

Nardiello and Daley recruited Thomas Thorn (Buck Ryder) to synthesize and administer samples for the band’s first tour. For their live performances, the group has also surrounded themselves with “The Bomb Gang Girlz“, singers who do the second vocals and backing vocals. Among the singers were Jackie Blaque, Rhonda Bond and Kitty Killdare.

Thomas Thorn soon left TKK to found his own group, The Electric Hellfire Club (which embraced the overtly evil themes developed by My Life with the Thrill Kill), although he claims to be the one who introduced dark sounds to TKK. It is more than likely, however, that Thorn’s statements were not meant to be taken seriously, as his involvement in the creative process on TKK’s early albums was minimal.

Among the many touring musicians who played with My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult were singer Lydia Lunch, bassist Levi Levi, guitarist William Tucker, Chris “Curse” Mackey of the Evil Mothers and Grim Faeries, Lady Galore of the famous Lords of Acid (who appears under the pseudonym Cherrie Blue in TKK), and a large number of artists, sound technicians, musicians and filmmakers. At the creative level however, it is the duo Nardiello and Daley who remain at the heart of the creations both in terms of album recordings and live performances.

The Sexplosion! Tour in 1991 brought the band notoriety. At one point in the show, a man dressed as Jesus on his cross, presented a black dildo between his legs, while a woman simulated a fellatio. This controversy has caused anger and sparked protests in a number of places in the United States, while helping to raise the profile of the band.

Thrill Kill Kult have left Wax Trax! Records following their third album, Sexplosion!. The Interscope Records label, having realized the potential of the group, signed TKK, reissued Sexplosion! and released their most popular alternative radio hit, “Sex On Wheelz”, (Factory QC recorded by Marty Munsch). Their next two albums, 13 Above the Night and Hit & Run Holiday, were recorded with Interscope before their departure from the label in 1996. The album A Crime For All Seasons, was released on Red Ant Records.

In 2001, the album The Reincarnation of Luna was released on their own label Sleazebox Records and was distributed by Invisible Records. The band accompanied the title Luna with an album Golden Pillz: The Luna Remixes, as well as a live album called Elektrik Inferno. Rykodisc then became the new label of the group and released a compilation of Dirty Little Secrets rarities, and a project Gay, Black & Married.

I took pictures of My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult when they opened for Ministry after Hanzel und Gretyl at Red’s in West Edmonton Mall on October 1, 2004:

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