Debauchery never dies

My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult celebrates 25 years of industrial dance madness

By Gary Spencer

On paper, My Life with the Thrill Kult should have been a short-lived musical project.  In fact, in the beginning it wasn’t even conceived as a musical group. As the brainchild of Frankie Nardiello (aka Groovie Mann) and Marston Daley (aka Buzz McCoy), My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult was supposed to actually be a low-budget art film. While said movie never materialized, the duo did put together a short EP of music consisting of drum machines with movie dialogue as accompaniment.  Old school industrial music label titans Wax Trax Records took notice and soon Thrill Kill Kult took an a whole new existence as an actual recording, performing and touring industrial dance act.  The band had several indie/college radio hits in the 1990s such as “Sex on Wheelz” and “Kooler than Jesus,” and along the way experimented with bringing other musical styles such as disco, heavy metal, house, lounge, psychedelia and surf into their signature style.  Fast forward to the year 2012, and TKK is celebrating 25 years of thumbing their noses at the establishment and embracing sex, drugs, evil and every other taboo subject or alternative culture a conservative could conceive in their nightmares.  Thrill Kill Kult is currently on tour to commemorate their quarter-century existence as a band that those who live on fringes can identify with and enjoy for their unique brand of tongue-in-cheek debauchery.  I recently got together with founding member Buzz McCoy about all things TKK past, present and future.  Here’s what he had to say.

Tell me about the origins of the band.

Groovie and I were neighbors in Chicago back in 1987, and we both worked for Wax Trax Records. We would hang out all the time … watch crazy Italian horror flicks late at night, or old Warhol reels rented at the corner store. We would write music on drum machines and record movie dialogue as accompaniment. Wax Trax liked what we were working on and released an EP in 1988, to “test the waters.” People liked it as well! We hit the road the next year, and have been touring ever since. It’s really become a lifestyle. I guess once you hit the road, there’s no turning back. -Buzz McCoy

What is TKK all about?

TKK is a lot about freedom and rebellion. Reincarnation. Exploration – inner (and) outer. Pretty much everything a “kult” isn’t about. We’re full of mixed messages. Our band motto is “be yourself and somebody else too.” You either get it, or you don’t. -BM

Many are familiar with what TKK did back in the 90s.  What has changed since the group’s heyday, musically, stage show or otherwise?

Not a lot is different really. We still release albums every few years and hit the road often. That’s what we do – modern day minstrels who get off by playing our ditties to those who want to listen. Our stage shows are always different. And so are our set lists. We like to keep it fresh each year. This tour, our goal was to play at least 1 or 2 songs from every album to commemorate the past 25 years, and I think we accomplished it. -BM

Musically/artistically/visually what are some of TKK’s influences?

We grew up with 60s rock and 70s funk, glam and disco. Those elements will always be rooted deep in TKK’s music. When we write lyrics, there’s always a movie playing in our heads – 60s and 70s movies mostly. They’re just more visually appealing to our artistic sense. -BM

What types of topics does TKK explore lyrically?

Nothing is off limits. We love playing with sex and toying with religion, indulging in drugs and walkin’ on the wild side. As a band, we’re very anti-religious, to no one’s surprise. But they all seem so dangerous to me. All religions are cults, as far as we’re concerned. We can connect to the beyond, without all the ritual, drama and death involved. -BM

Has TKK thought about and/or been approached about doing soundtrack work for film or theatre? 

Sometimes from major films and sometimes from zero budget indies, but nothing has really worked out for one reason or the other. We have had a lot of music used in film and TV, but no full scoring projects yet. -BM

Does TKK see themselves as associated or tied in with advocacy for gay/alternative lifestyles and culture?  Why or why not? 

We advocate everything that is non-traditional. Everyone and everything is unique and precious. Be whatever you want. Like what you like. Live like you will live forever. Love all you can.  Just follow the path that makes you the happiest, or at least keeps you relatively sane. -BM

Tell me about your current live show.

The live show is the real get down and dirty TKK experience. Our music translates much better live than our recordings. They are both very different. Live, we groove out, and get down. It’s a party! It’s in our roots. We work it hard. You won’t go home disappointed. -BM

My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult will perform at McGuffy’s House of Rock on Friday, Oct. 26.  Fire the Drummer and Left Spine Down open the show.  Doors open at 7 p.m. and admission is $15 in advance.  For more information visit 

Reach DCP freelance writer Gary Spencer at

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Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at

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