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 and Ministry, TKK (as often abbreviated), helped develop the industrial music genre, yet have consistently evolved their sound, creating one of the most diverse repertoires in modern day music. They can be described as electronic rock, heavily influenced by both disco and punk, with the distinctive use of spoken-word samples lifted from B-movies laced throughout their songs. The band has released 14 studio albums, a slew of compilations and singles, and has appeared on a variety of soundtracks.
Artist Franke Nardiello and musician Marston Daley, two Chicago neighbors who enjoyed late night binges watching trashy exploitation films, wanted to make their own flick to be called “My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult”. While the movie itself never came to fruition, they also wrote a few songs to be the accompanying soundtrack. Both worked at Wax Trax! Records, and when the label heard the music, they were intrigued. Taking the film title as the name for the project, the duo released a 3-song EP, and the fans overwhelmingly wanted more.
Dubbing themselves Groovie Mann (Nardiello) and Buzz McCoy (Daley), they began to focus on the band full time, creating an occult-biker meets disco-goth look, which included a bevy of voluptuous backup singers/dancers known as the BOMB GANG GIRLZ. They released their first album I See Good Spirits And I See Bad Spirits in 1988 followed up by the hard-hitting dance floor classics “Kooler Than Jesus” and “A Girl Doesn’t Get Killed By A Make-Believe Lover ‘Cuz It’s Hot”, which included no-wave chanteuse Lydia Lunch on vocals. 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. By the time TKK 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, TKK embarked on the decadent Sexplosion tour, titled after their third LP. Alternative Press reviewed the show as “Sin-sational!”, while Melody Maker described the performance as “A cabaret from Hell”. The tour was a success and the album 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 also embraced the group, recognizing the unique cinematic aspect to their sound. MLWTTKK music has been featured in a wide range of motion pictures, cable and network shows, including animator Ralph Bakshi’s ‘Cool World”, director Paul Verhoven’s saucy “Showgirls”, Gregg Araki’s “Nowhere”, the HBO series “Californication”, and the 1994 cult film classic “The Crow”, where the band make a cameo appearance performing their song “After The Flesh”.
Groovie and Buzz continue to unleash new music via their own SleazeBox Records label (sleazebox.com), and still touring extensively with a rotating cast of musicians, dancers and dubious characters, all the while making a reputation for themselves as one of the most notorious and controversial cult bands of their generation.