The Electric Hellfire Club
|Origin||Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S.|
|Genres||Industrial rock, industrial metal, electro-industrial|
|Years active||1991–2002, 2016|
|Past members||Thomas Thorn|
|Website||The Electric Hellfire Club on Facebook|
The Electric Hellfire Club was an American industrial rock band mixing elements of glam metal, techno, gothic rock, and psychedelia. The band's lyrics contain tongue-in-cheek references to sin, violence, sex, devil worship and similar themes. The band also made use of sampling, mainly from low-budget horror films.
The Electric Hellfire Club was initially composed of Thorn (vocals, keyboard programming), co-founder and keyboardist Shane Lassen (a.k.a. Rev. Dr. Luv), and guitarist Ronny Valeo. After the initial string of live shows, drummer Eric Peterson (a.k.a. Janna Flail) was added to enhance the band's live shows, thus completing the band's original lineup. Prior to recording the first album, Burn, Baby, Burn!, dancer and back-up singer Sabrina Satana joined the group, and Peterson was replaced on drums by percussionist Richard Frost.
The EHC toured extensively throughout the early to mid-1990s, both as an opening act, and as headliners in their own right. They toured with Type O Negative, Christian Death, Spahn Ranch, Penal Colony, and Genitorturers, amongst others.
On January 22, 1996, Shane Lassen was killed in an automobile accident. After the death of The Rev. Dr. Luv, the band regrouped and recorded the album Calling Dr. Luv, dedicating the title track, a cover of the KISS song from which Lassen drew his stage name, in his honor.
After recording Calling Dr. Luv, the band began extensive touring again, setting out on the road with Boyd Rice. During this period of near-constant touring, the band toured with such acts as Type O Negative, Danzig, Coal Chamber, GWAR, Powerman 5000, Fear Factory, Godflesh, and played one-off shows with Spahn Ranch, and Alien Sex Fiend. Before setting off on tour with GWAR in the summer of 1997, the band entered the studio and recorded the single "D.W.S.O.B", which appeared on the soundtrack to the 1997 film Gummo. They also performed a cover tune for the television theme song "Charles in Charge" changing it and the inferred meaning with a goth and industrial style. The song was released on the two-CD set of 36 TV show opening tunes of TV cover songs done by gothic and industrial bands. The CD was titled TV Terror: Felching a Dead Horse, which was released in September 1997.
Following the completion of an extensive tour in 2002, the band entered a period of extended hiatus. A cover song of Metallica's "Devil's Dance", released through the band's website in early 2004, was a brief flurry before the band scattered in 2005. Front man Thomas Thorn relocated from the band's native Wisconsin to the Florida Keys, and Sabrina Satana relocated to Los Angeles. The official website went offline, and the official message board was taken down. In 2007, a new official website appeared, and the band's page on the website myspace.com began receiving updates. Information online indicated that the band was regrouping and possibly working together again, and that Wilhelm Curse had resumed keyboarding duties for the band. Throughout mid to late 2008, the band began releasing demo versions of previous songs, and other rare recordings via Myspace account. These tracks were available for streaming.
Early 2009 brought about the reactivation of the band in earnest. In January, it was reported on the official website and on the band's MySpace page that preliminary work had started on a new full-length album, which would mark the band's first studio album in seven years. It also saw Charles Edward from the Denver area gothic metal band Seraphim Shock join the band as guitarist, replacing long time band member Ricktor Ravensbrück, who was serving time in federal prison on drug charges. Original drummer Eric Peterson rejoined the band in February, reuniting half of the band's original lineup. In February 2011, a news update to the band's official site indicated that work on a new album was "indefinitely postponed". Subsequently, however, Frozen North Records announced via MK Ultra that Thorn, Ravensbrück and company had reunited and been signed to FNR in February 2014 to produce their first new album in over a decade, titled Tech Noir. The album reportedly would have paid tribute to not only the band's electro-industrial roots, but also maintain the heavy-hitting metal crunch they have been associated with more lately.
On November 2, 2016, Thomas Thorn announced via his Facebook page that The Electric Hellfire Club will never create new music again. The band marked its 25th anniversary with one final show in Tampa, Florida, on December 2, 2016.
The band underwent many changes in membership, with only front man Thomas Thorn remaining throughout its history. This was the classic lineup:
- Thomas Thorn – vocals, keyboards, samples, programming (1991–2016)
- Sabrina Satana – bass (1993–2002)
- Eric Peterson – drums (1991–1992, 2009–2016)
- Ricktor Ravensbrück – guitars (1996–2009, 2014–2016)
- Burn, Baby, Burn! (1993), Cleopatra Records
- Satan's Little Helpers (1994), Cleopatra Records
- Kiss the Goat (1995), Cleopatra Records (reissued 2005)
- Trick or Treat? Halloween '95 (1995), Cleopatra Records (limited pressing of 1,000 LPs on orange vinyl, and 500 CD copies)
- Calling Dr. Luv (1996), Cleopatra Records
- Unholy Roller (1998), Cleopatra Records
- Empathy for the Devil (2000), Cleopatra Records
- Witness The Millennium (2000), Cleopatra Records
- Electronomicon (2002), Cleopatra Records (reissued 2005)
- Necessary Evils – The Best of (2016), Cleopatra Records
- "Electric Hellfire Club | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
- Colin Larkin, ed. (1995). The Guinness Who's Who of Heavy Metal (Second ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 119. ISBN 0-85112-656-1.
- Colin Larkin, ed. (1999). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Heavy Rock (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 146. ISBN 0-7535-0257-7.
- "Under Construction". October 9, 2007. Archived from the original on October 9, 2007. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
- "08". October 4, 2009. Archived from the original on October 4, 2009. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
- "HOLD THE PHONE: Hell Freezes Over! The Electric Hellfire Club to Reunite! | MK ULTRA". December 19, 2014. Archived from the original on December 19, 2014. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
- Thorn, Thomas. "NEW MUSIC? Please stop asking". Facebook. Facebook. Archived from the original on February 26, 2022.
- "ONE NIGHT ONLY: The Electric Hellfire Club". Facebook.com. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
- "The Electric Hellfire Club – Electronomicon". Discogs.com. Retrieved November 15, 2019.