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.
For 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.