UnderScope November 1995

"My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult"

by jiji johnson

"JOIN THE CHILDREN OF HELL!" - "Final Blindness"


Groovie Mann, the sweet omnisexual founding member/love master/slave of My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, purrs "Hello?" on a cold, Chicago morning, a bit hoarse from one rehearsal too many. It's a few days before these cats and kittens embark on the Raygun tour they're to headline.

Industrial/dance types are well-acquainted with Groovie and his feline friends. Hit & Run Holiday (Interscope), the band's latest, maintains sexysick 666 samples, filched from cult/horror/B-movies, occult/news documentaries and the like, and t heir intoxicating loop-ad-infinitum formula. Gone, however, is the 'harder' edge: the ultra-distorted guitars and vocals and psychotically fast beat count (See: "Sex On Wheelz") are buried and absent, respectively, from the mix.

Why didn't they go there?

Groovie answers, cocksure. "It's natural for us. Me and Buzz, we answer all the mail, usually. Sometimes even write back. And the Alternative thing, the people who got into us because of The Crow , is why some kids are just [going] 'HUUUUUUH?' But most everybody else says, "We'll love you whatever you do, just do something like "After The Flesh" [from The Crow soundtrack] again!"

Still having worked with KMFDM, Lydia Lunch, Ministry, Luc Van Acker, the ongoing Pigface project, and splintering into the Satan tested and approved Electric Hellfire Club along with countless soundtrack slots (most recently on Showgirls ) My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult's amassed maximum respect over the years, underground or otherwise.

Though the Al Jourgensen/Ministry topic's a tricky one, Groovie is all fiber-optic smiles about it: "I haven't seen [Al] in a while, but he shows up at some of our shows. I mean, I've known him since 1977 or '78. He was in my band, actually [Special Effects]. A guitar player in my second band. We were punk...glam...stomp rock. It was the early 80s. The 80s! UUUUNNGH! We all wore makeup and I dressed everybody in red shirts and black ties, pink jumpsuits, vinyl space suits, go-go boots..."

...not unlike their electro-sensual stage show in the slightest, but the Bomb Gang Girlz do turn up the heat.

More dirty little secrets waiting to be unearthed? There's a concept behind Hit & Run Holiday -- a tawdry tale that's gonna be in pictures.

"We had the idea of a musical or story thing, and now we hope to accompany this with a solid film that the songs all relate to. We want it to be one of those movies that's fast, where a lot happens and you're like, 'WHAAAAT??' where you''ll have to see it a few times. But we will get it going -- someday, or who knows? Buzz (McCoy) and I, and other friends, we'll get together when the tour's over."

The Thrill Kill Kult boys and Bomb Gang Girlz, industrial/techno/cybersexxx forerunners from Wax Trax! records' heyday, still whip out some of the most highly advanced, sultry psycho-retro music around. What kind of music does the Mann like?

"Movie soundtracks, naturally. The Legendary Pink Dots, Death In June, Eat Static--one of my most favorite new bands--and Big Stick: they're totally fantastic, and were actually an influence when we first started."

Waxing philosophic about the band of merry cats and kitties he plays with, Groovie Mann goes off: "We get an idea or theme and just start throwing things into the pot with each song. It's really kind of an easygoing thing...You can't really draw any conclusion with any of our songs... We don't set out to write songs that mean anything. It's like [people say] 'you can't do that!' Yeah, you can!

"We've got straights and gays and in between [in our band]. Everybody's just everybody. I don't feel we're promoting anything one way or the other. Just be free in your sexuality, whoever you are. And if people don't like it, then you just move away and find people you can associate and communicate with rather than stay in one spot, miserable. [People will say] 'Don't walk under ladders, crosses, pentagrams...' Nobody should be intimidated or afraid of words, or music, or fashion...it's Jesus Christ Satan Marilyn Monroe."

Seductive, yes. A mega-addictive lovedrug, definitely. Drug culture journey music, much. Lydia Lunch chants: "So you wanna do something that's a little bit not too afro-centric-erotic-space-groove-jazz-funk-acid-punk? Come on, baby." in "Dirty Little Secrets". Undoubtedly, freaks and geeks alike will be clamoring to see The Thrill Kill Kult's cinematic debut, so tarry not, Groovie. Meanwhile, they'll have to ride the psychedelic mindways with the rest of us.

CAST OF CHARACTERS: Groovie Mann (Vox, Songwriter), Buzz McCoy (Guitarz, Songwriter), Cinderella Pussie (Vox), Kitty Killdare (Keys), Levi Levi (Bass), Jacky Blacque (Vox), Dick Fury (Drums), Wolfgang (Horn).


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Alex Fletcher