Gravity Kills

Gravity Kills

Gravity Kills, 1995
Background information
Origin St. Louis, Missouri
Genres Industrial rock, Synth rock, Alternative rock
Years active 19942003, 2009–present
Labels TVT Records,
Sanctuary Records
Associated acts Sevendust, Pigface, Sex Pistols, KMFDM, Pitchshifter
Jeff Scheel
Matt Dudenhoffer
Douglas Firley
Kurt Kerns
Past members
Brad Booker

Gravity Kills is an American industrial rock band from Jefferson City, Missouri. Their music was described by one critic as "a blending of eerie industrial rock with a pop-infused melodic chorus and a bit of hard-core head banging."[1]

The band was formed in 1994. They had their first hit single with "Guilty", a track later released on their self-titled album Gravity Kills. Gravity Kills' songs were featured on the soundtracks for Mortal Kombat, Seven, Escape from L.A., and Kissing a Fool, as well as video games like Test Drive Off-Road. They have toured with such bands as Sevendust and Pigface.

The band released two additional albums of new material, Perversion in 1998 and Superstarved in 2002, as well as a remix album in 1997. Their singles "Falling", from Perversion and "One Thing", from Superstarved, achieved minor success.

In August 1999, drummer Kurt Kerns left the band to pursue a career in architecture. Gravity Kills departed TVT Records and signed to Sanctuary Records & drummer Brad Brooker joined the band to perform & release the third album Superstarved. Following a severe injury to keyboardist Doug Firley's hands, and lack of tour support from their record label, they were unable to complete a tour for Superstarved and broke up in 2003.

Since 2006, Gravity Kills has reunited for occasional one-off festivals and shows, and is now working on new material.

Doug Firley's keyboard is a Oberheim Matrix-12



Formation, name and mainstream success (1994–1996)

As the band was forming in 1994, keyboardist Doug Firley was reading an article where he misread what he thought said "like the Gravity Kills." He went back through the article and could not find what he thought he had read. Doug told drummer Kurt Kerns and guitarist Matt Dudenhoeffer about it and thought that Gravity Kills would be a great name for the band. Kurt and Matt really made sense of the name when comparing what they were doing with music (deconstructing samples and noise) to an architect they were both into named Lebbeus Woods and his theories regarding deconstruction and ultimately reconstruction. In response to a contest from St. Louis area radio station KPNT for a compilation CD of local artists, keyboardist/programmer Doug Firley, guitarist Matt Dudenhoeffer and drummer/bassist Kurt Kerns brought in vocalist Jeff Scheel to record and mix a track in one week during the summer of 1994.[2] The resulting song, "Guilty," was given heavy airplay and quickly became the number one-requested song at the station.[2] The band continued to write and record songs and subsequently signed with TVT Records.[3][4]

Self-tiled debut album, film appearences and tours (1994–1996)

The band's first self-titled album was released in March 1996. "Guilty", the first single, charted in the top 10 at nearly every Modern Rock Radio station in the country. The first album also produced top 10 singles Enough, Down and Blame. More music videos would soon follow for Enough and Blame. Hollywood also embraced the band's music as they landed songs on 3 high-profile soundtracks: Seven, Mortal Kombat and Escape from L.A. In addition, the song Last was featured in the film Kissing a Fool. Gravity Kills toured in the summer of 1996 with the Sex Pistols and embarked on a solo tour that fall.[5] With the success of the first album, the band quickly established itself on the rock scene as one of the most promising young bands in the industrial music scene.[4] Gravity Kills's album was also released worldwide with chart success in England, Germany and France.

Manipulated, live tours and Perversion (1997–2001)

In 1997, TVT Records released a remix-complication album called Manipulated which contains remixes and covers of their Self-tiled debut album songs "Guilty," "Blame," "Enough," "Down" and "Here." On April 19, 1998, Jeff Scheel suffered a whiplash when he got overexcited during a warm-up gig in the April 19 show at the University Wellness & Activities in San Antonio, Texas. He had not performed live with the band since previous live concert at the Q101 Festival in Chicago, IL on October 16, 1997, during the club in what was supposed to be a low-key gig that attracted 6,000 fans, according to the band's label, TVT Records. Ironically, the injury, which will put Jeff Scheel out of commission for a few weeks, came less than a week before Junkie XL leader Tom Holkenborg injured his back in an onstage accident. Junkie XL and Gravity Kills were scheduled to join British band Pitchshifter on a U.S. tour on June 3. The band released the second studio album on 9 June 1998, Perversion. The album was less successful than their self-titled debut but still sold well, rising to #107 on the Billboard Top 200 chart.[6] The single '"Falling" was featured in a 1998 car-racing video game, Test Drive 5 along with the Pitchshifter, Fear Factory, Junkie XL and KMFDM songs, while "Drown" charted in Germany. On July 1, 1998 at the Summerfest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Jeff Scheel got the whole crowd chanting "Fuck you!" while the show was being broadcast live on a mainstream rock local radio station, Lazer 103 FM. This was a familiar phrase to the July 2, 1997 Summerfest. The station's DJ tried to get the crowd to stop, but he was having mic problems and the crowd ignored him. In August 1999, drummer Kurt Kerns had left the band, reasons for leaving as a chance for him to spend time with his family and to return to practicing architecture.[7] Kurt's friend and guitarist Matt Dudenhoeffer says that "He is still close with the band and visits the recording studio regularly." The band later departed TVT Records and signed to Sanctuary Records.[8]

Superstarved, Doug Firley's injury and split-up (2002–2003)

On 19 May 2002, Sanctuary Records released the third and final studio album Superstarved. The UK version of the album was released by Mayan Records (which was a part of Sanctuary Records) and the Japan version of the album was released by Victor Entertainment.
Just after the album's release, on May 3, 2002, Gravity Kills's keyboardist Doug Firley sustained serious injury to his hand in Allentown, Pennsylvania while performing in front of a sold out crowd. The injury occurred when Firley dropped the custom-made, spring-loaded keyboard on his hand and shattering the bones in his right ring finger during the band's performance of their single "One Thing". The band returned home to St. Louis after finishing the weekend shows in NJ and Rochester, NY for Doug to seek treatment and had to sell off the components of the recording studio it owned, thus ending the current cycle of tour dates and at one point, his xrays were post on the internet. On January 4, 2003, the band officially broke up, a statement posted on the site reads as follows:

[...]Your assumptions are true. Gravity Kills are no longer together and will not be producing music together under the name Gravity Kills. Each of the band members has moved on to other endeavors. The reasons for this are various and, unfortunately for legal reasons cannot be mentioned here. The band as always, appreciates all the support throughout the years and considers their fans to be the best fans in the world. Those band members still associated with the music industry hope to see you soon with their new projects.

The band members scattered to different occupations. Matt Dudenhoeffer returned to an engineering job, while Doug Firley went on tour with Alicia Keys as a keyboard tech and then worked as a draftsman before forming the production team Shock City Productions with Chris Loesch. Jeff Scheel went to work at the Box Talent Agency as a talent agent for corporate, casino and clubs.

Reformation, performances and future fourth studio album (2005–present)

On October 28, 2005, Gravity Kills reunited to perform for a self-created Halloween music festival in St. Louis, Missouri entitled "The Killoween Freakshow." This appears to be becoming an annual event, as another "Killoween" occurred on October 28, 2006, at Pop's nightclub and bar, featuring Gravity Kills and Fragile Porcelain Mice. Due to a scheduling conflict, Killoween was instead "The Nightmare Before Thanksgiving" on November 21, 2007. Gravity Kills confirmed rumors that have persisted over the past year on October 20, 2009 and the band has announced that they are working on new music. More recently, the band performed in Tulsa at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on May 7, 2010, and at Roberts Orpheum Theater in St. Louis, MO on June 25, 2010 at 7:00pm part of a benefit show.[9]
On 14 January 2011, Jeff Scheel revealed a unreleased music video for "Down" on Youtube and told some people on Facebook it was a "previously unreleased Gravity Kills video", he got the video from Kurt Kerns when Kurt recovered the video by capturing it on a videotape when it was aired and then he passed the videotape footage to Jeff. The band are currently working on their long-awaited follow-up and recently posted a studio diary regarding their progress, he has reveiled a working title of one of the songs "Again".[10] Jeff Scheel is also the vocalist of Star 13 (stylized as *13).[11][12]

Band members

Current members
  • Jeff Scheel — vocals (1994–present)
  • Matt Dudenhoeffer — guitar, (1994–present)
  • Doug Firley — bass, keyboard (1994–present)
  • Kurt Kerns — bass, drums (1994–1999), (2005–present)
Former members


Year Title Producer Label
1996 Guilty (Remix Single) Gravity Kills TVT Records
Gravity Kills John Fryer, Gravity Kills
1997 Manipulated
1998 Perversion Roli Mosimann, Gravity Kills
2002 Superstarved Martin Atkins, Gravity Kills Sanctuary Records
2013 TBA TBA Shock City Studios

Charting albums and singles


  • 1996 Gravity Kills Heatseekers No. 1[13]
  • 1996 Gravity Kills The Billboard 200 No. 89
  • 1998 Perversion The Billboard 200 No. 107
  • 2002 Superstarved CMJ Retail charts No. 62


Year Song Modern Rock Mainstream Rock The Billboard 100 UK charts
Album Notes
1996 "Guilty" 24 39 86 79 Gravity Kills -
"Enough" - - - 109 -
"Blame" - - - - -
1997 "Down" - - - - Cancelled
1998 "Alive" - - - - Perversion -
"Falling" - 35 - - -
2002 "One Thing" - 24 - - Superstarved -
"Love, Sex And Money" - - - - -
2003 "Personal Jesus" - - - - College radio staple
"—" denotes a release that did not chart.

Other Songs

Year Song Germany charts Album Notes
1998 "Drown" 3 Perversion -

Music Videos

Guilty was ranked as high as #17 on MTV's active rotation and the video charted at #14 whenever they used to have there top 25 countdown.

Year Title Director(s)
1995 "Guilty" Rocky Morton
1996 "Blame" Peter Christopherson
"Enough" Rocky Morton & Annabel Jankel
1997 "Down" -
2002 "Love, Sex and Money" MiKKi & Malory

Other Appearances

Year Song Title
1995 "Guilty" Se7en
"Goodbye (Demo Version)" Mortal Kombat (film)
1996 "Blame (L.A. Remix)" Escape from L.A.
1997 "Enough (Extrinsic Remix)" Hoax IV Brass Monkeys VHS
"Blame" Test Drive Off-Road
"Enough" Airbag
1998 "Last" Kissing a Fool
"Guilty (Juno Reactor Remix)" NHL '99
"Falling" Test Drive 5
"Alive" Test Drive Off-Road 2
1999 "Guilty (Juno Reactor Remix)" Beowulf
2000 "Guilty" Vampire: Redemption
"If" MTV Sports: Pure Ride
2002 "Guilty" Evil on Queen Street

See also

  • List of alternative music artists
  • List of industrial music bands


  1. ^ Jacquie Kubin, "Jamming across generations; Bo Diddley, Kirchen together; Gravity Kills seeks new momentum." Washington Times, January 31, 2002.
  2. ^ a b Jeff Scheel. "The White Light: The Story". Retrieved June 13, 2011. 
  3. ^ Jeff Scheel. "The White Light: The Rest of the Story". Retrieved June 13, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Carrie Borzillo, "Gravity Kills Gives TVT Pull" Billboard, June 22, 1996.
  5. ^ Amy Hutchinson, "'Gravity' takes music into the 'dark side'; Band is part of emerging industrial sound from underground out into the mainstream." Washington Times, October 10, 1996.
  6. ^ Carrie Borzillo, "BILLBOARD 200" Billboard, July 18, 1998.
  7. ^ "Press Release about Kurt Kurns leaving Gravity Kills (originally posted to". Retrieved June 13, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Sanctuary Records announces the signing of Gravity Kills to the label (via". Retrieved June 13, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Gravity Kills Twitter page".!/GravityKillsSTL. Retrieved June 13, 2011. 
  10. ^ [1] One of those nights...
  11. ^ "Star 13's Official Facebook". 
  12. ^ "Star 13's Official Myspace". 
  13. ^ "((( Gravity Kills > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-04-24. 
  14. ^ "Chart Log UK: Gina G – GZA". Zobbel. 

External links

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