Locals Only: : Kill City

Band parlays its unpredictability into a treacherous and blistering blend of Rock

Mar 14, 2007 at 2:06 pm
Kill City

Kill City

"When our new drummer Sean joined the band, I told him that I hope he's ready for all the Use Your Illusion era of Guns N' Roses drama without the Appetite of Destruction success."

This poignant statement from vocalist Jonni SeXXX epitomizes the general mentality of the posse of vagabonds that comprise Cincinnati's Kill City. By producing an eclectic musical mixture of volatility and explosiveness, the band has created an edge on which it has delicately been teetering since its inception about two years ago. They kind of like it that way.

"No one trusts each other in this band, but I feel the tension can at times create this strange cohesion in which we're able to accomplish great things," says SeXXX. "Honestly, no other band would want any one of us. They probably wouldn't be able to handle it. But as a whole, we're a peculiar combination of outcasts and scumbags who have the ability to work really well together."

Throughout the past decade, the members of the dysfunctional and potentially abusive family have lived a nomadic lifestyle as they have tirelessly weaved their way through myriad local bands. However, the experience gained in the many previous outfits (Snotboy 77, The Chemo Kids, Frantic Romantic, Dixie Trash, etc.) has helped fuel Kill City's abrasive, theatrical style of Punk.

The live shows exude a confrontational, spit-in-your-face aura as guitarist Kevin Apgar and bassist Rick Motz write the musical script while SeXXX acts out each tale with a true Iggy Pop-style of showmanship.

"I take the craft of being a frontman very seriously," says SeXXX. "As the vocalist, I want to both engage the audience and simultaneously draw a line in the sand, daring them to cross it."

The unadulterated energy harbored within each song teems with allusions to bands like The Dead Boys and The Stooges. Jonni, though, might also play up the dramatic side of a live show with an ode to the persona of Bon Scott, for example, while Apgar remains entrenched in a kind of effortless guitar playing posture reminiscent of Keith Richards (complete with cigarette in mouth). As the licks and melodies ricochet off the walls, Kill City's varied array of influences becomes evident, but the way the group spices their particular chaotic recipe makes for a genuinely unique encounter.

SeXXX elaborates on the band's live performance: "Our live shows are like acts of plays, complete with alienating, weird characters and careful storytelling. I've lived like a rat for a lot of my adult life and work hard to incorporate my specific feelings of alienation into each story or song."

While SeXXX uses his lyrics as a platform for his own personal frustration, there have also been some tumultuous turns during the short history of Kill City, including some difficult lineup changes. The group, though, has transformed its inherent tension into perseverance and plans on hitting Candyland Studios in March to record a full-length record. The band hopes to finish the record before slitting each other's throats. Because, if the live shows are any indication, the album will without question contain a dirty ferocity of vocal stylings and sonic guitar work, which all sounds pretty good to me.

"The volatile nature of the band acts as both the driving edge and possible breakdown of the band," explains SeXXX. "I mean, we could break up tomorrow for all I know. It's basically your typical Behind the Music episode."

Kill City hopes to stunt the collapse while they work in a new drummer and prepare for their venture back into the scene with a new and improved lineup. The band will be performing at Cincypunk Fest next week and will undoubtedly leave the stage scarred and beaten. Although the members of Kill City have previously toiled through a slew of other bands, each puzzle piece of this unit continues to prove that their individual journeys through the Cincinnati scene have resulted in a fresh seasoning of musical prowess. Combining all of the ingredients can result in implosion or a dynamic fusion of talent — but I can guarantee that it will be entertaining, regardless.

KILL CITY (myspace.com/killcity) performs March 23 at The Poison Room for Cincypunk Fest VI.