Convulsion 1993

"Thrill Kill Kult 1993"

by Stuart Barr

My eyes are bloodshot, my hands are shaking, I smell awful, my tongue is wearing a yellow sock, and there's this taste like racoon shit in my mouth: yes, definately had a good time last night.

And what were we up to? Ah, to explain I must unravel the strange and twisted tale of `Our Night with the Thrill Kill Kult'. And we did it all for you, dear reader. However, if you feel your delicate sensibilitys threatened just keep telling yourself, it's only an interview, it's only an interview.

For those uninitiated in the black arts (heh, heh, heh) what can I tell you about TKK. I could tell you that they are the greatest collective, grinding, sex-machine, groovy, sleaze disco band on the planet. A village people for Ministry fans. I could tell you that they hail from Chicago, home of Wax Trax and all things connected with Evil Al (well, before he pissed off to Texas), but who cares? I could tell you that lead singer Groovy Mann is the bastard child of Jim Morrison and Jean Harlow (True!). I could also tell you that their last album `Sexplosion' (the one with Betty Page on the cover) is the ultimate soundtrack to the ultimate Russ Meyer movie, that he hasn't made yet. So the Convulsive smeg-crew go ever forward, bringing you this strange dispatch from beneath the valley of the Thrill Kill Kult (fanfare the Kazoo's).

`Sexplosion' has actually been out for about fifteen months on Wax Trax, but the ThrillKillers recently signed for mucho mullah to brand new US major Interscope (new home of Nine Inch Nails and notorious for giving a very large amount of money to Helmet). `Sexplosion' has just been released in the UK. Thus the Thrill Killers must be getting bored of promoting it; got any delerious interview stories guys? Groovy laughs "There were a few who came to us with the new CD, that they hadn't opened yet, that they hadn't listened to, and had never heard us ever."

"They were like `I'm really hungover, and what do you sound like?" adds Buzz McCoy, guitar player and founder member (with Groovy).

"Yeah," says Groovy, "The first interviewer was hungover and getting the flu, and constipated and losing his hair."

"Everett True came to interview us in LA", states Trash Cavity (the drummer I think. OK, I don't fucking know, there are eight of them so stop staring at me like that) "He was actually alright (Shock! Horror!), but later that night we went out and he got really fucked (Ah, this sounds more like it.)"

"Oh Yeah," says Groovy "He was one of these people who turned into a monster. I looked at him, oh man, he's sooo ugly. He was melting. He was sooo scary."

There you go Everett, don't you feel ashamed. You've terrified these poor people.

"And other ones" continues Groovy, turning his attentions to the other half of the Kings Reach mafia. "They couldn't get into the show the night we played. So they wrote the whole article about not getting into the show in America." He puts on his best talking-to-stupid-five-year-old's voice. "Everybody knows that no matter who you are, or who you think you are, you go nowwhere in America without ID. It's the policy. For some reason they thought they were beyond that. It's so stupid, they wasted a whole day and wrote half the article about not getting to see us. So they didn't review the show. Sometimes those things are like", he sighs "what IS this all about. These people are crazy

"But we have people we've done interviews with that we like a lot."

So moving on to more serious fanboy type matters. Why the move from Wax Trax to Interscope? "Sexplosion was out (on Wax Trax) and doing really well," states Groovy, "It was actually right out of their hands. And during that we were touring as well, people were starting to show up at gigs (Record Company 'People') and when we got back to Chicago a lot of people wanted to meet us and hang out. So different people flew in to Chicago and had lunch. We didn't really talk about record deals at that point, just hung out and chatted. And when we were over there (LA), we checked out each label, had lunch, hung out & checked out their operations."

Where do these people find the time to make such brilliant records in between 'doing lunch' and 'hanging out'.

"We weren't really looking for anything", says Buzz, picking up the thread. "We were just seeing what was out there. Interscope checked with us, their terms of doing things was basically, to let us continue doing exactly what we'd been doing, but having the money and the clout behind it to let us grow even further. It was just a natural progression.

"With Wax Trax, we just couldn't go any further, we wouldn't be over here now if we were still on Wax Trax"

Will you be doing a headline tour over here soon?

"We won't be doing anymore touring until we get this new record done, hopefully in February/March," answers Buzz.

Tell us something about the new album? What will it be like?

"Completely different of course" says Buzz

"It's kinda funny", adds Groovy, "Some of the English press just don't get it. They think we've turned into a disco band, or are a disco band."

I don't think you really fit in anywhere.

"No, we never felt we did,"states Buzz, "The new album will have some of, I guess, the older Thrill Kill qualities. Sexplosion is more of a take off on the disco thing."

So is it going to be a case of back to `Confessions of a Knife?'

"Um", ponders Buzz, "Kinda, it's forward to Confessions."

Food arrives, I guell the temptation to welp 'Don't you hate that small bread?'

Is it hard for you to tour?

"It's a lot of people to bring over", agrees Buzz. "That's why we don't come over too much. We're a pretty expensive lot. Originally the band was eight, then we slimmed down for a while. We're always changing, growing."

Are any of you involved in other projects?

"We're all pretty much involved in this right now, because its going so fast."

A lot of dance orientated UK bands like Primal Scream have had problems breaking into the States because they were percieved as being Disco. The attitude being `Disco Sucks'. How did you get past this?

"We're not percieved as anything, because we've grown such an extensive fan base over there. Basically in the States, EMF would support us.

"People in the States don't percieve us as disco, we're just a bunch of freaks. They know the past they've seen the progression. Whereas over here they haven't, 'Sexplosion' is the only thing that has had a major release. The other stuffs come out in spurts independantly. But nobody really knows.

To most people you are virtually a new band.

"Exactly. We're a new band with the wrong record to be a new band on"

You were talking about your fanbase just now, what's the average age of your fans in the States?

"Oh, I would say starting at around 8 now," says Groovy to much hilarity, "I'm serious, the Kids that are writing to us get younger and younger."

"It goes really wide", says Kitty (the she-master of the Bullwhip) "We have fans who are fifty too".

"I would say", adds Groovy, "the average age is about ten to... forty. I've seen some old people out there. There was a total crossover with 'Sexplosion'.

"You get these wierd old college professors," says Buzz, "That get turned on for the first time to alternative music by some student, they get..." Buzz pauses, "turned on to us..."

"Or some old choreographer woman will come", adds Groovy.

"Who was at LA?" pipes up Trash. "Timothy Leary" yell the girls in unison. "He's a conniseur of alternative music now," says Groovy."A common sewer?" yells everyone else.

Tell us about your fan club, it sounds intriguing.

"Teeny Casanova's working on getting a fan club together" says Groovy "Getting the application, and the mail order together. We usually send off this thing called Fun Fax, that's like this little pamphlet that says what's going on, and has silly things in it. Tina writes for it, fashion columns, clips and stuff, reviews, stuff that she puts together, a collage of things."

"We have an official patch, pic's, and a bio sheet discography. Y'know, like a real fan club."

"It's like the Kiss army, " says Kitty.

You must be getting some pretty fucked up mail?

"We've had some wild ones", laughs Groovy. "Psychedelic drug drawings, Satan. Things written in blood. We've had em all."

"Nothing we haven't done at some point or another in our lives" adds Buzz. "I know", yells Groovy.

"What did you write in blood?" Trash asks Buzz.

"Mother, I want to kill you", he answers, deadpan.

"Bruce is a wiener", says Groovy.

I could just see a hardcore of fans, with their bedroom walls painted black, inverted cross hanging round their necks, scented candles going, scrutinising your lyrics.

"It's there if you want it," says Buzz flatly.

A lot of your lyrics use satanic imagery and stuff (Daisy Chain for Satan, and This is What the Devil Does etc). Why? Is there some Catholic guilt trip going down?

"It's just because they're taboo subjects. Or idols/Icons whatever" says Groovy.

"They're always throwing their shit in your face so we're throwing t back at them," says Buzz. "They push too hard, so we push back too hard. But we don't dwell on it, it's just a sort of defence."

What's America's ultimate taboo these days?

"Everything", says Groovy, "Not believing in God, in their eyes"

"It's like, you've got to believe in something" says Buzz. "Well, no. Who says?"

"Not using heroin", laughs Trash, "That's a big taboo"

"No Hairspray" wails Jacky.

"And the other thing", says Groovy not pausing from his previous sentence, "Is judging, judging and judging. It's like 'Who are you to judge?'"

"If you're not white, married, with three kids and go to church on Sunday..."Says Buzz, "... Then you're fucked", finished Trash.

"But they're in the minority, so it doesn't matter. They just have the biggest mouths, " says Groovy dismissively.

The idea of talking politics with the Thrill Kill Kult is slightly surreal, but with the November elections approaching (Probably gone by the time you read this) we decide to give it a go.

So, are you gonna vote?

"Of course," says Kitty and Jacky.

"Yeah, I will," says Groovy. Who for? "It's really hard, definately not Bush, it's like Thatcher y'know. I guess I can't really tell; but its not gonna be Bush. We have to get him out. If we don't get him out I'm leaving the States!"

"It's gonna be fucked up no matter which one we get", says Buzz, "I just have my own theories about how fucked up."

"If Reagan did it anyone can," says Groovy.

Then follows a heated debate on which way Ross Perot will split the vote, which prompts Groovy into rant mode.

"Wait a minute," shouts Jackie "Let's not talk politics. Next question?"

"Yeah," agrees Charles Levi, TKK's gigantic bass player. "Somebody shut him up, please".

Well Ok then, you've had frequent brushes with KMFDM, the Thrill Kill Kult vs KMFDM twelve inch, and the ill fated European co-headlining tour. How are relations?

"I saw Sasha just before I left", says Groovy.

He talked to us about THAT tour.

"Oh God", groans Groovy, "What did he say? He was really mad at us".

He just said you pulled out halfway through (um, oo-er?)

"That's because we were gonna lose thirty thousand dollars on it," says Buzz, "That's all our money in a whole year. The booking agent really screwed up. It was a couple of days here and there in little towns. That's not the way to do it on a first tour. You hit the major markets and get out of there. You still lose, but..."

"At the time KMFDM, living over here, could afford to go out in a little tour bus, and it would be fun. We couldn't"

There seemed to be a camaraderie between the Wax Trax bands at that time.

"From the outside, probably. There was no Wax Trax family, everyone was really spread out, and doing their own thing. To the outside world it seemed like this scene was happening, but it wasn't at all."

KMFDM told us they had a really hard time in Europe, that everyone hated them.

"Well, they're not exactly the friendliest group", says Groovy, "Sasha's not the easiest person to talk to, that might have something to do with the flow of things. But that's his problem."

The next big thing for the Thrill Kill Kult in Europe was gonna be the opening of Cool World, the new Ralph Bakshi movie to which they contributed music. But after a disasterous run in the States, the movie's release date has disappeared.

What's going on?

"I heard that they're not going to release it here, only on video, " says Buzz.

It bombed in the states didn't it?

"In the critic's eyes, it bombed."

But it's not exactly a critic's film is it?

"No, not at all."

They were showing the Bowie song from it on MTV over here, it really sucked.

"They were gonna use that to promote the movie in the states because the songs called 'Real Cool World'. They ended up using ours (Sex on Wheels)", says Groovy.

"Yeah", says Buzz, "Basically the director, Ralph was totally on our side. He was like 'I want the Thrill Kill Kult promoting this movie, I don't want David Bowie. He had a big battle with Paramount, the movie was sort of a flop because Paramount stepped in, they rushed him, chopped it, edited it. Ralph was in debt something like six million dollars. Paramount worked it like a big company like they do. Basically, they didn't know what they were doing, they botched it."

It sounded great in the pre-release publicity, like an Adult Roger Rabbit in Acid.

"It still is", says Buzz.

"Considering Ralph did Fritz the cat, and Heavy Traffic, I was like 'Yeah!'", says Groovy.

"There's a lot of underlying evil stuff in the movie that never really develops, but is there, "says Buzz.

It still looks like a good movie to see tripping, even if it isn't a great work of art; like Altered States.

"Right", agrees Groovy, "We thought it would be a good movie to see on mushrooms. And that's probably exactly it."

"But do you drink your urine?" asks Trash Cavity.

What!!!!

"I don't get that", complains Kitty.

"You can trip forever if you drink your urine," explains Buzz to a somewhat incredulous Kitty.

"Trash Cavity, tell us more", slobbers Groovy.

At this point Wulf, the tour manager enters the Thrill Killer Blaudie.

"Oh no, it's Wilf. We're talking about acid", yells Trash.

"We never do drugs", Groovy assures us.

"Got any?" asks Trash.

Any other plans to corrupt the youth of America?

"We'd like to do a striptease club tour," says Groovy, "That would be my dream come true, if we could do strip joints. All like, Go Go palaces, cos there's really big ones"

End of interview, but not the end of our night. Which takes on the proportions of a fanboy's wet dream, encompassing T-shirt blagging, a ride on EMF's tour bus, clubbing in Glasgow with assorted members of EMF and TKK, a vast amount of beer and close inspection of somebody's toilet bowl. (well that last bit only applies to me [Editor's note: The rest of us survived unscathed]). An epic night, that will live in legend till time innumerable, carved in stone as it was with my own fair hand.

Gurgle!


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Alex Fletcher