“I got a million ways to make a million dollars, but some things come from the heart”: Kill For Thrills – Commercial Suicide (1989)

kill for thrillsKill for Thrills, anyone?  One of Gilby Clarke’s pre-Guns N’ Roses gigs and pretty much what you’d expect from a band featuring Gilby and formed in Los Angeles, California in 1988.

Rumour has it that MCA snapped the band up following one show.  Fairly easy to understand given that Guns N’ Roses had just exploded and the majors were out seeking their very own LA sleeze rockazoids (think about the signing of all the ‘grunge-lite’ acts following the Nirvana explosion).  Thing is, Kill for Thrills weren’t really cut from the same cloth as GN’R and all those other sleaze rockazoids.  No sir.  They would never be another ‘most dangerous band in the world’.  Nope, no way.  They had pop-punk sensibilities and some smashin’ long jackets.  They were, after all, fronted by Gilby Clake.  The Gilby Clarke who had made some splendiferous sounds with Candy?  Yup, you got it.  Gilby Clarke.  A man who wore his his pop and new wave influences on his sleeve.

Commercial Suicide was released on World Of Hurt (which I believe was an MCA imprint) in 1988.  A way to create a stir ahead of their debut album (Dynamite from Nightmareland).  I had bought this one many years ago from Missing.  Possibly 1997 or 1998 – when it was located at Trongate and stocked new releases.  I hadn’t listened to it or Kill for Thrills in a very long time and doing so now it’s really nice to hear that it lacks that big 80s gloss production.  I don’t know if that was due to budget things or the fact that they just weren’t that type of band, but seriously, it really means that it’s not sounding as ‘of it’s time’ as you might think.
back coverFor those who are familiar with Gilby’s output you can expect all the hooks you can shake a stick at.  I should also mention that the lead guitarist here is Jason Nesmith.  Yup, son of Michael Nesmith.  He and Gilby really play off each other brilliantly, with Jason providing some pretty exceptional melodic flourishes.  He also tends to avoid any self-absorbed shredding.

The opening salvo of Commercial Suicide and Silver Bullets appear on that one and only album of theirs.  Both really pretty splendid and punchy pop-rock numbers, too.  Commercial Suicide itself is actually pretty magic and kicks off what is essentially a pretty good set (Side A is all good in my opinion).  Gilby shouting about the state of the dead LA scene and generation X, I guess.  Intentional or not it’s some music and politics.  The final song on Side A is I Wanna Be Your Kill.  This is really magic (it would be with a title like that though, right?).  Nesmith and Gilby hitting and locking into a groove and Gilby’s punk and new wave influences all over it. Side B is short, with just 2 tracks.  Danger is a tad meandering, but there are some nice touches there.  A cover of Pump It Up brings the curtain down on this little show.  And it’s a good one, too.

On yirsels, Kill for Thrills … On yirsels.


12 Comments Add yours

  1. 1537 says:

    How interesting, I thought I was the only one …

    The LP, Dynamite had some incredible tracks (Motorcycle Cowboys and Paisley Killers, were my faves). KFT also had the brother of faster Pussycat’s guitarist – that was important to me back then! Silver Bullets was the bonus track on cassette and CD of the album (I had the cassette).

    World of Hurt (great label pic) also released Bang Tango’s pre-LP live album, ‘Live Injection’ too.

    I’m so pleased I’m not the only one who liked them!! You’ve made my day.


    1. J. says:

      Hurrah! I honestly thought I was the only member of the Kill For Thrills Appreciation Society (UK branch). I had the CD of the album. Gilby was the draw for me after picking up a couple of his solo albums (Pawnshop Guitars is still all manner of ace). Unfortunately I don’t have the CD anymore, (one of those that got lost along the way), but I’ll pick it up on vinyl for sure.

      … can’t believe there’s someone else out there enthusiastic about these chaps. Go KfTAS (UK)!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 1537 says:

        It crops up pretty cheaply on eBay quite a lot.


      2. J. says:

        This is good news! I’ve had a look on Discogs and only see international sellers. By time you add postage and such there’s another album that I want to spend that on, y’know. I’ll keep my eye on eBay for sure. Also, it’s on my priority list for a wee record fair visit this weekend. That and Saxon!


  2. 1537 says:

    If I could like this twice, I would!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Never knew about this band’s at all! Gilby just never made it onto my radar really… even when he was IN GnR, never mind before or after. This sounds worth a punt if I ever come across it though.


    1. J. says:

      I’d definitely recommend this one. Loads to enjoy …

      Some o’ Gilby’s solo stuff is worth checking out, too. I still listen to Pawnshop Guitars a fair bit. The Hangover aint too far away, either.

      … then there’s the live CD. Man, that was ace!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. mikeladano says:

    I have only seen this on CD, once. It was too scratched to play. Never seen it again. WANT.


    1. J. says:

      Both this and the album are worth picking up if you ever see them, Mike.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. mikeladano says:

        I shall continue to keep my eyes open. Thanks!


  5. Craig Hughes says:

    New one on me. Never paid any attention to that era of GnR, so Gilby Clarke’s an unknown quantity – this sounds worth checking out though.


    1. J. says:

      Aye, Gilby does have the misfortune of being ‘that guy’ who replaced Izzy when GN’R got all bloated. However, he has some gems in his catalogue and there’s a fair chance you’d dig the Kill For Thrills stuff. Also, his contribution to the first Slash’s Snakepit album is top drawer.


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