Started in 1987 out of the ashes of a Ministry tour, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult (or if you’re into the whole brevity thing, TKK) has been blasting catchy industrial dance music for nearly 30 years. Songs like “Sex on Wheelz” captured the early-’90s rave culture and were featured in cult movies like The Crow, Cool World, and Showgirls. Before their August 14 show at Culture Room, New Times caught up with Buzz McCoy, producer, writer, and keyboardist for TKK, to learn the origins of their name, why filmmakers are attracted to their music, and how prosthetic penises are a no-no in Oklahoma.
New Times: According to legend your band name started as the concept for an art film. What would the movie have been about, and why didn't you make it?
Buzz McCoy: The basic idea was a teenage runaway getting mixed up with a sexy, drug-consuming, Satanic cult and their escapades.
Way back in 1987, access to video cameras and editing was limited and expensive. It was a far cry from the current age of digital camera phones and YouTube. We didn’t have the knowledge or funds to make it a reality, so we decided it was probably more practical to tell our stories through music, something both my writing partner, Groovie Mann, and I had some experience in, as we were both in bands in the early '80s. I suppose if we had started the project in today’s world, the film would have been made and the band would never have existed.
You guys have worked on a lot of movie soundtracks. Why does your music work well with cinema?
Well, there’s always a movie playing in our heads when we’re writing a song. Perhaps directors and film soundtrack placement people pick up on that? Our sound is definitely distinct, and I think many times directors and producers are looking for something out of the norm for their films, i.e., a Tarantino film soundtrack — though he hasn’t asked to use any of our music… yet.
Was it easier to shock people when you started than it is now?
It was never our intent to shock people, then or now. We just have a different sense of humor, perhaps in a more macabre way than a lot of ordinary folks. My 92-year-old mom even likes a few of our songs – the more lounge/jazzy type of tracks, of course.
What is the most outraged reaction you got?
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During 1991’s Sexplosion Tour, there were some religious fanatics and the PMRC [Parents Music Resource Center] picketing our show in Tulsa. The police showed up after the show wanting to arrest the person who showed their genitals onstage. In reality, no one showed their private parts. It was a prosthetic penis one of our performers was wearing. It looked absurdly unreal, and I’m surprised anyone would think it could even be real. I think the cops were just looking for anything so they could fuck with us that night and appease the protesters. We showed them the “piece,” and they laughed, then basically said get on your bus and leave this city now! We did.
What can we expect at the Culture Room?
Well, we don’t really have a new album to showcase this year, but we will be playing some tracks from last year's Spooky Tricks CD, and we’ll be playing a lot of fan favorites and club tracks from our catalog. But every song has been revamped and revved up, because we like to switch things up a bit to keep things fresh and experiment with new ideas, especially the songs we’ve been playing for nearly 30 years now. Hopefully people will just let loose and enjoy the new mixes and it will turn into just one big, sweaty dance party.
My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, 8 p.m. Friday, August 14, at Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $15. Call 954-449-1025, or visit cultureroom.net.