|Who To Blame For What You've Been Listening To
- What is "My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult"?
- There are a couple of answers to that one, actually. The most obvious
of them would be that it's a band which is/was (that bit sort of depends
on who you ask, and what day it is when you do the asking) based out of
Chicago. Then again, there's always the interpretation which involves a
bit more of their history...
- The story begins in the late 1970s, when a fellow by the name of Frank
Nardiello (along with a couple of other notable people, including Al
Jourgensen, Harry Rushakoff, and Marty Sorenson) founded a local Chicago
area punk/glam/new wave band by the name of Special Affect. The band
lasted for a couple of years, managed to release an EP
(Mood Music) and a full length album
(Too Much Soft Living).
(From left to right) Marty Sorenson (bass), Al Jourgensen (guitar), Frankie
Nardiello (vocals), and Harry Rushakoff (drums).
- After the second release, the band split, Al Jourgensen moving on to
form Ministry in late 1981 and Frank moving to England and joined a
band called The Drowning Craze. The Drowning Craze was originally
put together as a vehicle for Angela Jaeger, a singer from New York. The
band, which was also included Simon Raymonde (who went on to join the Cocteau
Twins in 1983, replacing the original bassist), recorded three singles between
1981 and 1982. Frank was the replacement singer after Angela left the group
in mid-1981 and recorded 'Trance'
and 'Heat' with the band, both
released on Beggar's Banquet's Situation 2 imprint. The band even made an
appearance on John Peel's Radio 1 sessions in late 1981 or early 1982.
- When the Drowning Craze split, Frankie moved back to Chicago and met up
with Marston Daley (later to be known as Buzz McCoy) who had recently
relocated to Chicago from the Boston area. The two formed an electronic music
and art collective that went by the name Hammer Head Housewife and the
Thrill Kill Kult. By 1987, they got fed up with their lack of success and
set about trying to turn their latest project, an autobiographical movie
chronicling the "true-life" adventures of the pair, into rent money by getting
themselves signed to a record label.
- During this label-shopping phase, Groovie and Buzz (as they were now
generally known) approached Dannie Flesher and Jim Nash (the owners and
founders of Wax Trax! Records) with the beginnings of a movie-and-music
project. Of course, as might be expected, the movie was titled My Life
With The Thrill Kull Kult.
- Some (all?) of the completed chunks of the film have since been released
on the fan club Ride The Mindway
video, released in 1996, and more recently on DVD as
The Kult Konnection.
- Who makes up/has made up the band?
- That also depends on who you ask. The studio incarnation of the band
is usually just Groovie and Buzz, with occasional contributions by a cast
of characters and backup singers who are brought in as required.
- On the road, however, the Kult has always been quite the collection of
misfits and oddballs, something to make their live shows more interesting
than they'd be if somebody just fired up a sequencer and started singing
- A more or less chronological list of contributors and co-conspirators
follows (the pictures linked to their stage names are borrowed without
permission from the
||Lead vocals, lyrics
||1987 - Present
||Production, music, keyboards
||1987 - Present
||Keyboards, samples (now with EHC; see below)
||1988 - 1990
||1988 - 2001
||1991 - Present
||1991 - 1994
||World's Greatest Roadie, trumpet
||1992 - 1996
||Drums / Percussion / Lights
||1992 - 2001
||1992 - 1993
||Performance / Videos
||1992 - Present
||Vocals / Manager
||1992 - Present
||1995 - 1996
||1997 - Present
||1997 - 2002
||assorted roadie tasks
- Other touring personnel have included Fluffy Montecarlo (better knowns as
Keith Auerbach, the Chicago Trax engineer and production guy) and Ava
Luscious and Ten of Instant Action, the roving film production crew.
- Who are the Bomb Gang Girlz?
- In a manner of speaking, they're the product of a deranged imagination.
According to at least one source, the Bomb Gang Girlz started out as a way
of milking the Wax Trax! coffers for a bit of extra money; Buzz and Groovie
reportedly pitchshifted their voices up an octave or two on I See Good
Spirits... and claimed to have hired a couple of backup singers who
needed to be paid (at the label's expense, of course).
- Soon enough, it was time for the Kult to go on tour and, not wanting to
be caught without their "backup singers", the guys rushed out in search of
real live replacements who could sing, dance, play keyboards, model some
breathtaking leather outfits, and fit into the entire Russ Meyer-esque
atmosphere. Before long, the first of the Girlz were hired, resulting in
a touring complement made up of Groovie, Buzz, Buck Ryder, Skip Towne, Rhonda
"Pickles" Bond, Kitty Killdare, and the one and only Jacky "Go-Go Butt"
- Over the years, the Bomb Gang Girlz' lineup has included:
- Who is the Electric Hellfire Club?
- Back in 1990 (or so), Buck Ryder (also known as Thomas Thorn), the guy
who triggered samples a-plenty during the Kult's live shows, decided that
he did not like the path that the Kult was taking and split from the band.
- The result of this split was the Electric Hellfire Club, a band which
recorded a number of albums and remix discs for Cleopatra Records.
- Aside from Buck's presence (he now goes by the name Thomas Thorn, which
some have suggested is an homage to
The Omen), the appearances
of Otto Matrix, and the Satanic overtones of most of the band's music, though,
there really isn't that much of a connection between the two groups.
- How about Death Ride 69?
- Similar to the Electric Hellfire Club, Death Ride 69 is not a TKK
- In the late 1980s, Linda LeSabre (best known for her drumming stint
with the Kult it seems) and a couple of other folks from the Los Angeles
area got together to start up a percussion-heavy band. By 1989, they had
undergone a couple of lineup changes, released a couple of records, and
dropped into a state of near-total obscurity.
- About the same time as Beatmistress' stretch of time touring with the
Kult, the latest incarnation of Death Ride 69 was picked up by Fifth Colvmn
Records. They released Screaming Down the
Gravity Well at this time. This disc was co-produced by Buzz McCoy and
Groovie Mann's vocals are featured on a pair of tracks, Needle and
Super Hot Sister 69.
- Wasn't a Bomb Gang Girl involved with U2?
- On the ZooTV tours, during the Mysterious Ways song (later
covered by KMFDM, featuring Charles Levi on bass), Bono, the singer
from U2, would be 'tempted' by a belly dancer. As it so happens, this
belly dancer actually has a connection to the Kult. Ophelia, as her
stage name was, was Christina Petro (aka Xtina or Xtina X), the wife
of Grim Fairies singer, Curse MacKey. She performed with the Kult from
1997 through 1998, while Curse has performed on and off with them from
1988 through to 2001.
- What is their sound and live setup like?
- The Kult's sound is more than a little bit difficult to describe.
Initially, the material that they turned out on Wax Trax! sounded a good
deal like the rest of the Wax Trax! catalogue, if a bit more frenetic and
sample-heavy; since the release of Sexplosion! and the subsequent move
to Interscope, however, their sound has been described as being something of
a cross between goth, techno, industrial dance, and disco. If that helps at
all. The band's best attempt to date to categorize themselves is
- As for their live setup, the best descriptions seen to date came from
the old TKK mailing list ("Lots of tight clothes," wrote dRaven) and an
interview in Raygun magazine ("A soundtrack for some bikini surf sex
encounter that someone's about to have, hopefully me," from the Nov. 1995
issue). Of course, that doesn't help too much either...
- A number of people do harp on the allegations that a fair number of
the band's performances are synched to DAT recordings, making for shows
that involved more dancing and stage events than actual musicianship. On
the other hand, several other accounts insist that nothing has ever been
played entirely off of tape and that there is a distinct diffence between
a DAT player and a sequencer.
- What other musical projects have the members of TKK been involved with?
- This is one of the most difficult things to keep track of, especially
due to the large number of people involved with the TKK camp over the years.
As such, it concentrates primarily on Groovie and Buzz' work, with a brief
listing of some of the other regular members.
- Groovie Mann: Once the front-man for Special Affect, a Chicago-area
glam/punk band (which also featured Ministry's Al Jourgensen on guitar,
though Frankie reportedly delights in pointing out that he almost wasn't
hired, and Concrete Blonde's Harry Rushikoff on drums). The band released a
7" single (Mood Music) and an album
that was supposed to be a movie soundtrack
(Too Much Soft Living). Frankie
has also worked with Ministry, writing the lyrics for the song
Thrill Kill Kult played on the
Twitch tour in 1986. The music later went on to be used for the
Lead Into Gold track Hated with all new lyrics. On the 1988
tour, Frankie was responsible for lighting. That year, he also provided the
cover painting for the
Stigmata single and vocals
for the b-side, Tonight We Murder. He was also featured on the track
Mindblower (from Psychic TV guitarist Fred Gianelli's solo album,
Fred), to which he contributed vocals.
More recently, he contributed vocals to a couple of tracks on a
Death Ride 69 release and a Pigface
track, Closer To Heaven, on their
Easy Listening... release. His
best known side-project work was with William Tucker on the
Darling Kandie release titled
People Next Door.
- Buzz McCoy: Also a very busy member of the band, Buzz made up
one half of the band Excessive Force (KMFDM's Sascha Konietzko was
the other half), which is responsible for several remixes on assorted KMFDM
singles, not to mention two XF albums and several singles on Wax Trax! (though
Buzz was only involved with Conquer Your
World and Conquer Your House).
Other remixes that he has been involved with include Sascha's treatment
of Dink's Get On It, Evil Mother's
The Ready Set Die, Professional
Murder Music's Something New, Voodou's
Doomsday, and Pigface's
Closer To Heaven. Some other
bands that he has worked with include Pigface (who credit him with assistance
on the live album Welcome to Mexico... Asshole),
Death Ride 69 (their most recent album
having been co-produced with band member Mark Blasquez), and his latest
venture with Ruth McArdle, Cherrie
- Levi Levi: If anybody in the band doesn't see the inside of his
own home very often, it's Charles Levi, who has turned up with countless
bands over the past few years. A brief rundown follows:
- Chemlab: part of the band that toured in support of East Side
- Die Warzau: credited on Engine;
- Haloblack: toured with the band for two months in early 1995;
- Hell3ent: a Fifth Colvmn collaborative band, also featuring Chemlab's
Jared and Dylan, Haloblack's Bryan Barton, and 16 Volt's Eric Powell,
their first release (0.01) saw the light of day in February '96;
- the band formerly known as IceNine: an unsigned band made up of Levi,
James Teitelbaum (Pigface/Evil Clowns), and Danny McGuinness (Coven of
- KMFDM: provided bass on their cover of U2's Mysterious Ways, found
on Re-Constriction Records' Shut Up Kitty compilation;
- Mescaline: following the breakup of Die Warzau, Van Christie assembled
a band with ex-NIN and Die Warzau keyboardist James Wooley and Lick's
Jason McNinch to do a couple of shows around the Chicago area, and
they might even release something at some point;
- Pig: turned up on a handful of songs recorded by Raymond Watts' solo
- Pigface: appeared on Notes from thee Underground and a couple of
- Sister Machine Gun: credited on The Torture Technique (he played
bass on the songs Sacrifice and Negative), and also appeared in
the Wired video (with Chris Randall, Jim Marcus and others), which
can be found on Vol. 2 of the Wax Trax! video sampler;
- Jacky Blacque: In addition to being the creative inspiration for
most of Hit & Run Holiday (which was originally supposed to be a Bomb
Gang Girlz album), Jacky provided vocals for the Excessive Force track Blow
Your House Down, from the album Conquer Your World.
- Kitty Killdare: Kitty has been a member of Pigface in recent years,
contributing vocals (along with Martin Atkins) to the track Fuck It Up
(on Notes from thee Underground) and appearing on the Pigface Team '94
- Beatmistress: Linda LeSabre is another one of those artists whose
name has been all over the place in recent years: her own projects, Death
Ride 69 (whose albums, Death Ride 69: The CD and the more electronic
Screaming Down the Gravity Well are floating around out there in the
ozone) and Beatmistress (a tribal-percussion band) are mentioned a fair
bit on r.m.i., and she has also appeared with the Vampire Rodents
(providing vocals on Terra Amata, from the album Clockseed) and
Pain Emission (on the compilation track Headcheese).
- Trash Kavity: While there doesn't appear to be any information
available online on either band, Trash's name has been mentioned in relation
to two bands, "Kill Joy" and "Skin and Bones". Any news on either bands'
sound, releases, etc., would be appreciated.
- Miscellaneous: On a semi-related note, the Kult has toured with
such wide-ranging bands as Siouxsie and the Banshees, Machines of Loving
Grace, EMF, Lords of Acid, The Final Cut, Definition FX, Eve's Plum, Big
Stick, Course of Empire and others.
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