Nearly 30 years and still going strong with the ever influential mix of sexy dance grooves and funky electronics, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult lets ReGen in on its latest bag of Spooky Tricks.
An InterView with Groovie Mann and Buzz McCoy of My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult
By Grant V. Ziegler (GVZ)
For over 27 years, “the most dangerous cult in America,” My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult has produced dark, deviant, and danceable music that has not only greatly influenced an entire genre, but also survived the musical apocalypse with illegal downloading. On May 6, TKK released its thirteenth album, Spooky Tricks, and later on June 4, returned to a venue called Trees in Dallas, Texas during the subsequent Spooky Tricks tour to showcase these newest creations along with some classics such as “The Days of Swine and Roses” and “Do U Fear… for Your Child?.”
But before TKK founding members Groovie Mann and Buzz McCoy hypnotized the Dallas crowd with their sex, drugs, and industrial, they sat down with ReGen’s Grant V. Ziegler to discuss this latest album, voyeurism, touring, and oral sex.
How has the tour gone?
McCoy: It’s gone – technical glitches, but nothing major. It’s frustrating. Most of it wasn’t our fault. We’ll have a house guy tell us something isn’t working on our end, but I’m thinking to myself, ‘I don’t think it’s us.’ Then half an hour later, it happens again.
So is there a bit of perfectionism between you two where you just have to get every little thing right?
McCoy: We try; we do our best. Our crew is good. There are only seven of us and everyone is getting along and helping each other out.
So, I’m a big fan of the new album.
McCoy: Yea, I read your review.
Cool, did you hate it?
McCoy: Of course. (Laughs)
Can you tell us how Spooky Tricks came together and maybe give us a little bit of background or inspiration about some of the tracks?
McCoy: We started working on it less than a year ago. It came together fast.
McCoy: With the songs, we took a sort of voyeuristic approach. Previous albums had storylines, but this album is full of little chapters. The album is like a voyeur looking into one room and seeing something and moving on to another room and seeing what’s going on. It’s like going to a funhouse.
Mann: A red light district funhouse.
You say things are more voyeuristic on this album. Do you feel like past albums were more about how you were involved with things and this is kind of a step back?
McCoy: Well, it’s all one big story in the end; just like Sexplosion! or Hit and Run Holiday. These are little stories. The other albums were one big room with a keyhole, while this album is a bunch of rooms with a lot of keyholes to look through.
My interpretation is that there is a lot of ’70s background and influence to this. Is that accurate?
Mann: The characters are sort of ’70s. That’s kind of how it always is though.
McCoy: The album might be a little more electronic ’70s sounding.
This album seems to be more sex driven than the last album. Was that intentional, going back to the voyeuristic idea, or is this just how it came together?
McCoy: It wasn’t intentional.
Mann: It’s just a sexy fucking groove.
McCoy: This was exactly 100 percent opposite of what Death Threat was, which is like how all our albums go when we flip-flop.
Is there an intentional bipolarity there where you say to yourself, ‘we’re going underground and dark,’ or ‘we’re going be our sexy jazz side?’
McCoy: No, not at all.
Mann: No, it just comes out how it does. Something affects it and then it’s just too late and it’s that way. (Laughs)
McCoy: Maybe subconsciously, we say to ourselves we don’t want it to be anything like Death Threat, but we don’t speak it to each other.
Mann: It’s like a vibe I guess.
Any stories about the songs or the lyrics you want to divulge to your audience?
Mann: We were saying that ‘Diamonde Doll’ was like a pimp and whore relationship or sort of a competitive relationship going on between them.
McCoy: That’s true. We were talking about a pimp/whore relationship, but the whore was the one in control. Let’s go with that.
Going back to another song title, if you were going to be in a room on the moon, who would you want to share it with?
McCoy: My dog, because it doesn’t talk. And… you! (Laughs)
Mann: His dog. (Laughs)
What has DJ Toxic Rainbow added to this tour?
McCoy: As a performer or as a person?
Do you feel you get to take him under your wing a bit?
McCoy: We’re not that dominant.
Mann: We give him tips, sure.
McCoy: He told me wants to be a comedian and all this other kind of stuff. DJing is just one of the many things that’s in his life.
McCoy: I don’t see younger bands exploring anymore. You have your hipsters lined up and they all want to be Fleetwood Mac. Industrial bands just want to rehash MINISTRY.
Mann: Then there’s the Bob Dylan crowd and they don’t even know who Bob Dylan is. (Sigh) I tell these kids they sound like Bob Dylan and they say, ‘Oh, who is Bob Dylan?’ It’s like… oh fuck, just die.
McCoy: I haven’t bought a lot of music, but I haven’t seen anything new anyway.
What about his Toxic Rainbow, do you see something new in him?
Mann: Yea! He’s all over the place with his DJing.
McCoy: Yea, he plays crazy glitch stuff and then goes into some West Hollywood twerk out songs. He’s all over the place. We’re the same way. All over the place.
So Groovie, Al Jourgensen wrote something interesting about you in his book. Of all the things he could have written about his relationship with you, why did he choose to talk about the oral sex episode?
Mann: You know, I ask myself that same question. It’s so like him not to give anybody credit and for him to clone off all of us and fucking getting each substantial path from us and others and then denying and slamming us and them. I got lucky. A blowjob and introducing him to Rick Nielson isn’t really what I expected to read. (Laughs) He’s pretty self-centered. He shares his madness to get people involved in his troubles and then turns his back on people. He’s about building his empire, which is fine. Some people are like that. I’m more interested in having fun with fun people and being creative.
Do you think this was a power move?
Mann: For him, I just think it’s embarrassing. (Laughs) (In a sarcastic tone) I sucked his dick, how cool?! I did it for shock.
McCoy: He might have been worried you could say something so he had to say it first?
Mann: Right, that could be. I would never say anything about it, but you know.
So no more MINISTRY/TKK tours, eh?
Mann: (Laughs) That was the biggest mistake ever.
That was a fun tour for me. I had stubble burn on my neck from when you were screaming MINISTRY lyrics into my ear, Groovie.
Mann: Good times.
What’s the status of the Bomb Gang Girlz?
McCoy: Jackie comes out when she can. Sinderella had a baby.
Which one of you was the father?
McCoy: (Laughs) You know better than that. Peppermint is in New York and she can stay there. She turned out to be a crazy religious zealot.
Mann: Yea, she’s Christian. That’s kind of weird.
Did someone miss the point?
Mann: We were all like, ‘What is she doing?’
Too uncomfortable to kick her off at that point?
Mann: Yea. She just didn’t get it. I don’t like pushy people like that. She needs to let go.
McCoy: Like a few of the other Bomb Gang Girlz, she had her run.
Aside from learning social media, what has TKK had to learn to remain relevant and keep going?
McCoy: God, I hate social media. I had Rainbow do most of that shit. He’s into it.
Any survival tips for new bands coming out? You came from a time when labels and CDs mattered and, in a sense, neither really do anymore.
McCoy: We’ve been on labels before, but we’ve also followed our own path. We never relied on anybody but ourselves.
Mann: If you’re serious about what you do and you believe in it, then just do it. Be independent. It’s your art and whatever happens to it, happens to it. It’s a good idea to have a bunch of things to do. Years ago you could say, ‘I can’t do anything else but be in a band.’ That mentality isn’t there anymore.
Why have you never had interest in incorporating certain topics into your music such as politics?
Mann: We don’t want to get involved. Everyone has his or her own opinion and politics separate people. Everyone loves sex, so that’s good. We want to bring people together and have fun. It’s for escape from politics and things that we don’t want to deal with. This is how we get away from it all. This is our safety zone.
McCoy: Being political is like being religious – both tell you what you should do. That’s not us.
I ask this question respectfully. Is it frustrating to be kind of known more for your older releases and not have your more modern releases get the attention and love they deserve?
Mann: Never paid attention to that.
Mann: Oh, I know. At 5:00 in the morning, I’m thinking, ‘Why did I give her my number?’ (Laughs)
I ask this respectfully as well. How do you know when TKK is done? You’ve been around nearly 30 years and you’re still kicking ass. But how will you know when it’s time to move on?
McCoy: When one of us is dead for sure. (Laughs) We’ll always be doing this. It’s more draining now, but we’ll always be creating.
Mann: I don’t know how to do anything else.
Fun question – If you were the devil, what torture method would you use to torture your worst enemy?
Mann: Yeah! We’ll have them set up at this couch where they do coke, but then it collapses into a coffin.
Like a Transformers coffin?
Mann: Yeah! (Laughs)
Thank you for taking the time to do this with me.
Mann: For sure. We like this dark stuff.
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