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 label mates such as Front 242, Ministry and KMFDM, TKK (as often abbreviated), 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. One of their most distinctive characteristics is the use of spoken-word samples lifted from B-movies laced throughout their songs. Since debuting, they have released 13 studio albums, and their music has been featured in a variety of films, television/cable 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, two Chicago neighbors who enjoyed late night burritos while watching foreign horror movies on VHS rented from the corner store, began conspiring 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, they also wrote some music to be the accompanying soundtrack. Both worked at Wax Trax! Records in Chicago, and when the label heard the tracks, they were intrigued and eager to release it.
The duo took the title of the film as the name for their band, and decided to focus on the musical group full time. Taking the stage names Groovie Mann (Nardiello) and Buzz McCoy (Daley), they worked on creating an occult-biker meets disco-rock influence look for the project, which included a bevy of voluptuous back-up singers and dancers known as the Bomb Gang Girlz. The New York Times wrote, “Sex, blasphemy, big beats and go-go dancing; they’re all in a day’s work for My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult ”. This attracted the attention of indie fans and the ire of religious groups in practically equal measure. They released their first album I See Good Spirits And I See Bad Spirits in 1988 followed up by the hard-hitting dance floor classic Kooler Than Jesus the next year. By the time they released their second album, Confessions Of A Knife (1990), they were far and away one of the biggest selling acts on the label.
In 1991, the band embarked on the decadent “Sexplosion! Tour”, titled after their third album. Alternative Press reviewed the show as “Sin-sational!”. The tour was a success and the record sold so well that they signed a deal with Interscope Records shortly afterwards, and the single “Sex On Wheelz” became a sizeable radio hit.
Hollywood directors also embraced the group, recognizing the unique cinematic aspect of their sound. The band’s music has appeared in a slew of films and tv/cable shows including, director Ralph Bakshi’s ‘Cool World”, Paul Verhoven’s saucy “Showgirls”, MTV’s “Beavis And Butthead”, and the cult film classic “The Crow”, in which the group make a cameo appearance performing their song “After The Flesh”. More recently TKK was written into the story line of the 2014 film “Sexy Evil Genius” starring Seth Green.
THRILL KILL KULT continue to release new material via their own SleazeBox Records label (sleazebox.com) and tour extensively with a rotating cast of musicians and dubious characters, however the core of the project has always been Nardiello and Daley, both on record and in the live act. Their performances sizzle with sleaze and infectious grooves, as Melody Maker once described, “A red hot cabaret from Hell”.