With the forthcoming deluxe reissue of their seminal third full-length album Sexplosion!, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult return to the scene of the crime: their original label and home, Wax Trax! Records. And Wax Trax! Records is proud to welcome one of the label’s premier acts back home.
Led by unexpected radio hit “Sex On Wheelz”, 1991’s Sexplosion! became the band’s biggest album, selling in excess of 250,000 copies. The new expanded edition has been lovingly remastered from original sources and is timed to celebrate its 30th anniversary (well, 31st anniversary… thanks Covid!)
The reissue includes the previously unreleased track “Any Way Ya Wanna”, recorded during the same sessions as the rest of the album back in 1991.
Hailing from Chicago’s renowned Wax Trax! Records stable of recording artists, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, or TKK for short, have been conjuring up sonic tales of sex, blasphemy and kitschy horror since 1987. Along with label mates including Front 242, Ministry and KMFDM, TKK helped develop the industrial music genre, but they continued to evolve, creating one of the most diverse repertoires in modern music.
Their sound can be described as electronic rock, heavily influenced by both disco and funk. One of their most distinctive characteristics is the use of spoken-word samples lifted from B-movies laced throughout their songs. Since debuting, they have released 13 studio albums, and their music has been featured in a variety of films, television/cable shows and soundtracks, all the while making a reputation for themselves as one of the most notorious and controversial cult bands of their generation.
Artist Franke Nardiello and musician Marston Daley, two Chicago neighbors who enjoyed late night burritos while watching foreign horror movies, initially set out to make a trashy B movie to be called “My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult”. While the film itself never came to fruition, the songs they wrote for the intended soundtrack took on a life of their own.
Taking the stage names Groovie Mann (Nardiello) and Buzz McCoy (Daley), they worked on creating an occult-biker meets disco-rock influence look for the project, which included a bevy of voluptuous back-up singers and dancers known as the Bomb Gang Girlz.
They released their first album I See Good Spirits And I See Bad Spirits in 1988, and followed up with the hard-hitting dance floor classic “Kooler Than Jesus” the next year. By the time they released their second album Confessions Of A Knife in 1990, they were one of Wax Trax!’s biggest acts, attracting the attention of indie music fans and the ire of religious groups in equal measure.
For Sexplosion!, their third full length album, the band turned to a new sound, recalling: “During 1989-90 we did a tour called the Inferno Xpress. We played mash-ups of our songs mixed with disco music, and we played under a mirror ball, with police lights spinning, and fog so dense no one could even see us. The stage show turned into a strobed out, decadent three ring circus. So, when it came time to record a new album, we continued with the disco vibe from tour and wrote a lot of the new material around that. We thought it would make a nice contrast to the distorted, harder elements of our sound. We also brought in some spy movie / James Bond orchestral elements to add more contrast. We replaced the occult stuff with sexual exploration content. There were never any thoughts or goals of making anything commercial. We were just grooving on a different wavelength. We had moved on from the leather biker look. And we weren’t feeling the “industrial” hard synth, dance stuff. We aimed to be more explorational in our approach to where we were heading as a band. At the time, we were shocked ‘Sex On Wheelz’ was so popular. It was actually conceived as a campy, mocking ‘radio rock’ song. It was our little joke. And the opposite happened. We never thought it would turn into what it did. The power of a guitar hook and receptive vocal line! Music is weird.”
Sexplosion!‘s phenomenal record sales led to the band signing a deal with Interscope Records. Hollywood also embraced TKK, and the band’s music appeared in a slew of films and tv shows including Ralph Bakshi’s Cool World, Paul Verhoven’s Showgirls, MTV’s Beavis And Butthead, and the cult film classic The Crow, in which the group make a cameo appearance.
My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult continue to release new material via their own SleazeBox Records label (sleazebox.com but are pleased to re-team with Wax Trax! after three decades for this deluxe reissue. They previously teamed with the label for 2019’s reissue of Confessions Of A Knife.
Thrill Kill Kult also continue to tour extensively with a rotating cast of musicians and dubious characters. However, the core of the project has always been Nardiello and Daley, both on record and in the live act.