The creative partnership of Bill Drummond (alias King Boy D, Time Boy) and Jimmy Cauty (alias Rockman Rock, Lord Rock), mainly appreciated for their ground breaking dance music from 1987-92, under the names ‘The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu’ (‘The JAMs’), ‘The Timelords’, ‘The Kopyright Liberation Front’ (‘The KLF’), ‘The Forever Ancients Liberation Loophole’ (‘The FALL’), and post 1992 as ‘The K Foundation’, ‘The One World Orchestra’ and ‘2K’. They have also produced other groups, including their sometime backing singers ‘Disco 2000’, and remixed tracks by Depeche Mode and The Pet Shop Boys. Cauty was also a founder member of ‘The Orb’ which he left, taking some tracks with him which were released under the name ‘Space’. After producing critically acclaimed work, utilising cheap sampling technology to its fullest, yet not selling many records (albeit interrupted by a freak novelty world-wide No. 1), they finally found fame in the emerging UK rave scene, and released a string of world-wide hit singles in the 90’s, selling more singles than any other band in 1991.
They have also branched out into other forms: they published a book ‘The Manual’ and planned but never published at least two others and a graphic novel, filmed a motion picture ‘The White Room’ which has yet to be shown, released an ‘ambient video’ and planned at least two art exhibitions but never staged them. They are also infamous for various anarchic situationist ‘pranks’ or ‘happenings’ which include billboard defacements, a crop circle hoax, a pagan midsummer’s ritual (‘The Rites Of Mu’, see question 037), a BRIT Awards protest involving a dead sheep and buckets of blood (see 039), a string of strange full-page mainstream press adverts, staging an alternative art award for the worst artist of the year (see 040), and they also burned a MILLION POUNDS (see 041) and subsequently toured the film of the burning round the U.K.
One may well ask. We believe that this is no easy question and any answer we can give will be far too simplistic for what is a very complex concept.
On one level the KLF was about a duo of music business veterans who initially used their knowledge and experience to utilise cheap sampling technology later leading to commercial success and acclaim. But then they also conducted this part of their careers in such a way that it challenged the traditional models of the music-business, and even rebelled against them.
To anyone wanting more, we can only suggest they read ALL the material in this FAQ, and examine ALL other related literature and material (including the music itself) and then come to their own conclusions.
[add.] While not given as a direct answer to the question the 2003 audio book release of The Manual features a foreword voiced by Bill Drummond giving the following advice:
“If you want to do something, really want to do something, don’t wait to be asked, don’t seek permission. But be prepared to risk complete failure. Whatever it is: start now. Today! Tomorrow is always too late.”
… which certainly describes The KLF’s modus operandi.
The letters ‘KLF’ stood for many things, which changed many times throughout their life-span. The first documented occurrence is in 1987, when the moniker ‘Kopyright Liberation Front’ was mentioned on their record releases. But over the years up to the 1992 retirement, they always got asked this question in interviews and were always making up new names. One much-quoted line is “We’re on a quest to find out what it means. When we find out, we can stop what we’re doing now.” Various examples of these names are: ‘Kings of the Low(er) Frequency’, ‘Kool Low Frequency’, ‘Keep Looking Forward’, ‘Kevin Likes Fruit’ and so on, but the usually accepted definition is ‘The Kopyright Liberation Front’.
The next question is how did this name come about. The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu came from the Illuminatus books, and possibly to some extent the name KLF was influenced by these as well. Over recent years there’ve been a number of organisations using an acronym ending -Liberation Front. In the 1960’s was the NLF – National Liberation Front – the North Vietnamese resistance to the USA supported by ‘hippies’ in the US. In the 1980’s was the ALF – Animal Liberation Front – British radicals who became famous for freeing animals from experimental labs. There’s also the Kasmiri Liberation Front. Then in Illuminatus! there’s the ELF – Erisian Liberation Front – leading the forces of chaos against order. So it could follow that for sampling in the 80’s and 90’s there’s the KLF – Kopyright Liberation Front – Freeing Mu(sic) from copyright laws and using past sounds as much as you want. There are many other ..LF’s too, but I reckon those are the important ones that led to Bill and Jimmy choosing the name KLF.
Finally, Jamm!n [one of the original FAQ’s contributors – Ed.] adds: “Why Kopyright in KLF was spelt with a K… Well, there are three reasons I can think of, all/some/none of which may relate to the real reasons:
1. CLF sounds considerably less cool.
2. The letter K has many mystical connections. Too many to list here, but it is linked to certain grams in I Ching and Tarot amongst others. KLF aren’t the only band to spot this; for example mystic-guru-wannabes Kula Shaker with their album “K”. “K” was also the letter used to mark barrels of the strongest brewed drink available, and hence is now the brand name of an 8.4% abv cider. Decide the relevance of that for yourself.
3. Kopyright has been used in Discordian circles for some time to draw attention to the complete absence of Copyright. The standard rubric is something like:
Kopyright (k) 3163 Gold & Appel Transfers, Inc.
All rites reversed. Reprint what you like.
The use of K here of course has the additional relevance that it is the first letter of kallisti, and hence a common Erisian symbol is the golden apple with just a K on it.”
From when they first paired up in 1987, to when the KLF split in 1992 (and even beyond), Drummond and Cauty progressed through many varying musical styles in their commercial releases.
There are never ending discussions about how good or bad a certain phase of their history was. You should be aware that Drummond and Cauty had very short attention spans and changed musical direction more often than other bands changed their underwear. You don’t have to like everything they’ve done, but have an open mind and remember the context of the time they produced those songs.
Here’s a short guide to the various incarnations:
1987-1988 as The JAMs
Punk ethic, political Scottish rap, blatant cut-n-paste sampling, primitive hip-hop, but they gradually got better at it with their second LP. Huge influence on Pop Will Eat Itself.
1987-1989 as Disco 2000
Started as a Cauty solo project. Cheesy pop. Resembled later JAMs singles like “Burn The Bastards”, while influencing the later following pre-Stadium House KLF records.
1988 as The Timelords
An exercise in nauseating novelty, charting a number one house record “Doctorin’ the Tardis” and explaining how they did it in ‘The Manual’. Huge influence on Edelweiss who in fact got a Number One hit by following the Golden Rules.
1988-1990 as The KLF
Twin styles of acid trance house and ambient soundscapes, very difficult to find the records, but check out the Chill Out album, which is still in print in the USA. The rave stuff was an influence on Black Box, and other Italians, while the ambient stuff practically started the whole 90’s ambient scene along with The Orb.
They also recorded various songs for their soundtrack of the “White Room” movie but never released them in their original form. Trying to mimic the style of the Pet Shop Boys around that time with their single ‘Kylie Said To Jason’.
1990-1992 as The KLF
Their early singles and huge parts of the “White Room” soundtrack were remixed and re-remixed and re-re-re-remixed into the Stadium House pop permutations you have probably heard on the radio. Influence on Blue Pearl, Utah Saints, Nomad etc.
1990-1991 as The JAMS
While gaining success with their KLF releases, they teamed up once more as the JAMS and released a remixed version of their previous promo ‘It’s Grim Up North’, a first glimpse of the always-scheduled-and-delayed Black Room album. Dark electronic.
1992 as The KLF
They started working on thrash guitar heavy-metal techno dance together with Extreme Noise Terror but scrapped most of the sessions. Could this have been yet another new musical style? Possible influence on God Machine and Kerosene (who both did a KLF cover).
1993-1995 as K Foundation
Like all good post-modernists they are branching out into interdisciplinary arts, but so far just one single, a limited release in Israel/Palestine to celebrate the peace accord, got released. A mix of orchestral sound and Russian choir.
1995 as One World Orchestra
They sneaked out of retirement for one day to record a hastily constructed orchestral/drum’n’bass track for the much hyped “Help! (Artists for War Child)” LP.
1997 as 2K
Celebrating the 10th birthday of The JAMS, they released ‘Fuck The Millennium’ as a statement against the more and more growing Y2K frenzy and, according to Drummond, “to celebrate the crapness of comebacks”. Somewhere between early 90’s acid-pop, Chemical Brothers-style big beat and a 40-piece brass band.
2017 as The JAMs
In 2017 The JAMs came out of retirement once more to announce the release of “2023”, both as a book and a film (“The Triptych”). Details are yet to follow as both will be released in August.
The KLF ‘retired from the music industry’ on the 5th of May 1992, deleted their entire back catalogue, and burned all remaining merchandise to prove that this action was serious and not a stunt to sell more records. In an ad taken out in the UK music press they stated that for ‘the foreseeable future there will be no further record releases from … any past, present & future name attached to our activities’. Quite how long the foreseeable future represents depends on your own optimism/pessimism. They also said that ‘if we meet further along be prepared…our disguise may be complete’.
They did return to public attention as The K Foundation, in a series of strange press ad’s in summer 1993, but as the typeset, the poetic language and pyramid logo were familiar, and there was an excess of letter K’s the disguise was certainly not complete. They have commercially released one single since then, the K Foundation’s interstellar anthem ‘K Sera Sera (War Is Over If You Want It), which is ‘Available Nowhere…No Formats’ until world peace has been established, although it has been played at major public gatherings including music festivals, and a limited release was arranged in Israel/Palestine to honour the limited peace that the signing of the Rabin/Arafat deal represented. Copies of this single now change hands for very large sums of money.
In September 1995 they recorded a track called “The Magnificent” for the HELP album under the name One World Orchestra. They agreed to make this track, (for free), as it was for a non-profit-making charity record, and Bill considered it worth doing.
In September 1997 they returned for a brief moment as 2K, releasing the single “Fuck The Millennium” as well as doing a live performance at the Barbican Centre, London. There is a whole chapter in Bill Drummond’s book “45” dedicated to the How’s And Why’s of this short-lived episode.
The official line taken at the time was that they were “worn out” after producing 6 hit singles and a LP over the previous 18 months, but there appear to be many other possible contributing reasons. These are documented in an excellent article in Select magazine in July ’92 (‘Who Killed The KLF’) which is available on the ftp archive. Mainly it seems, once you’ve reached the top, it is both boring to continue having hits and a pressure to find follow-up’s.
They wrote in ‘The Manual’ of the Golden Rules of hit pop song composition:
… after having had a run of success and your coffers are full, keeping strictly to the G.R.s is boring. It all becomes empty and meaningless…
Their publicist Mick Houghton was in daily contact with them as they worked on new material in the studio, and began to get the feeling that they just didn’t feel there was any point to it any more. An exhausted Drummond would come on the phone, one minute proposing grandiose plans, the next saying things like, “Oh God, it’s terrible”. “They were just desperate for ideas,” says Houghton. “And near the end Bill would ring up and say ‘This is not working’. I think he felt it had become too easy to be The KLF and rattle off the hits. It had ceased to mean anything.”. In a GQ interview in 1995, Bill revealed he’d almost suffered a nervous breakdown.
Also since they had worked with Tammy Wynette and Glen Hughes they had been plagued by washed-up singers pleading for a collaboration to revive their careers. “I was in the studio,” recalls engineer/producer Mark Stent, “and we had Neil Sedaka phoning up, we had Sweet phoning up, we had all kinds phoning up. I mean, that’s just when I’ve been there…”
In retrospect their attempt to shock the public at the BRIT Awards in February ’92 can be viewed as an attempt to take the decision out of their own hands. They wanted to do something so utterly disgusting that it would deliberately ruin their career. Instead the industry viewed their stunt as just another KLF prank which made it worse.
And finally there’s the theory that they had always planned to go out at the top, so that their future output would not suffer from “diminishing returns”. Kylie Said To Jason contained the line “I’m gonna leave this party now” where party has been used by Drummond as a metaphor for the music business before. The Justified and Ancient video contains the subtitle ‘The fall of the empire and the death of little Mu are at hand”. At the end of the BRIT awards came the announcement “The KLF have now left the music industry”. And Drummond wanted the announcement to be made on the 5th of May, fifteen years to the day after he entered the music industry.
The KLF did very few live performances when they were active under that name, and (obviously) none since their retirement. Sometime KLF guest-vocalist Wanda Dee, on the other hand, has performed hundreds of dates round the world for the past three years under the names “The KLF featuring Wanda Dee”, “Wanda Dee and The New KLF”, “Wanda Dee and the KLF experience” and so forth, which *strangely* always seem to be advertised by promoters as just “The KLF”. This is probably what you saw a flyer for.
Bill and Jimmy have nothing whatsoever to do with these “concerts” and would like very much to see them stopped, but it’s difficult to pursue legal action against her unless she performs in the UK, which so far she has been savvy enough not to do. (She’s played dates in Russia and Estonia, though!) If you want to spend your hard-earned money to watch a woman gyrate on-stage to pre-taped KLF music, by all means, please attend. 🙂 There is a review by a KLF fan on the ftp archive, which you should read if you want an idea of what the show will be like.
Whenever Wanda is questioned (either by the press or KLF fans in the audience of one of her shows) she comes up with an explanation somewhat like this: All 90’s dance music is constructed in the studio by production teams and this can never be recreated live on stage. However the performers (dancers singers etc.) on the record can play live. She says she is the co-writer and singer of all the biggest hits on The White Room and she was the reason those songs were hits.
This is a *slight* misrepresentation of the truth however. The KLF sampled vocal snatches from her (erotic?) rap record “To The Bone” on Tuff City Records and included them in WTIL? and the single version of LTTT. When Wanda’s manager heard these records they sued the KLF and the out-of-court settlement was that Wanda would get a cash payment, co- co-writing credits on these songs, and hence publishing royalties, and appearances in the videos for these songs. I expect that if the KLF had known the trouble she would cause them they wouldn’t have sampled her.
It’s up to you to decide whether the non-inclusion of “I wanna see you sweat” and “Come on boy d’ya wanna ride” would have detracted from these songs.
In lots of the early info sheets (and interviews) they said they were going to do “some live dates”, “a heavy metal tour”, “high and low profile shows”, a “JAMs world tour in 1989” and so on, but none of these seem to have happened as info sheets 6 and 8 state that their premier live performance was:
31st July 1989 Land Of Oz, Heaven, London
“…they were making their debut live performance at the London Club HEAVEN. The performance consisted of a 15 minute version of “WHAT TIME IS LOVE”. During which they splattered their audience with polystyrene pellets fired from a giant wind machine. The event was deemed a strange success.” This is the live version included on JAMS LP4 – The What Time is Love? Story.
Infosheet six then says that “the lads have done a few impromptu live performances (as K.L.F. not The JAMs). These will develop in their own way, but please don’t expect regular gigs”. Info Sheet 11 says “the huge orbital raves, at which The KLF became a regular live attraction, blasting their audience with polystyrene pellets some weeks, showering them with Scottish pound notes at others.” Apparently there was a club date at which some sheep appeared on stage too.
30th Sept 1989 (date from infosheet) Woodstock 2, Brixton Academy, London
“They will be in full effect (lasers, smoke, go go dancers etc.) at Woodstock 2 at The Academy in Brixton on Sept. 30th, in the illustrious company of Liz Torres, Corporation of One, Lollita Holloway, Frankie Bones, Little Louie Vega and more!”
One list member, writing in 1997 recalls he was there: “not sure if it is the gig you are refferring to as woodstock-2, but I did attend a show at the Brixton Acad sometime around 89/90, where the KLF did play (even carried a sheep with them – or at least caused a big pre-gig fuss by proclaiming that they were bringing in a load) – …. heard them though, but just a tad-busy at the time to bother getting up to view them – an ambientish-set if my mind serves me correctly…. not sure if it is the same show though – pretty sure frankie-b played – again very, very mashed up at the time…..”
30th Sept 1989 Helter Skelter, Oxfordshire
Matthew Collin’s book ‘Altered State – The Story of Ecstasy Culture and Acid House’ (Serpent’s Tail, London, New York, ISBN 1-85242-3777-3, UKP 10.99, www.serpentstail.com) is a MUST read. But surprisingly perhaps it only mentions the KLF once, on page 105, describing a live appearance on September the 30th 1989: “To the north of London, the Helter Skelter party brought an awesome line up of performers to a muddy plough field in Oxfordshire. The incongruity was sweet, seeing these house icons climbing up a rickety ladder onto the back of a flat bed lorry – in open farmland! – to sing and play. … There were post-punk pranksters, The KLF, who demanded their UKP 1000 fee upfront, in Scottish pound notes, upon each of which they scribbled the message “we love you childrn” before throwing them to the crowd, a dress rehearsal for their burning of 1 million pounds in a situationist art statement a few years later. Despite the drizzle and the turn-out (only 4000!), the mood was elevated.”
Feb? 1990 Bootle? Kirby? Community Hall?, Liverpool
The KLF joined the Ian McCulloch-less Echo and the Bunnymen who were playing a benefit concert for a community centre, for an encore of What Time Is Love? which became the record version later that year.
Early July 1990 Isle of Rhodes, Greece
This live appearance has been mentioned on the KLF mailing list, but no details about it are known. Info sheet nine announces “as usual there will be the odd unannounced performances. The only official one will be happening on The Isle of Rhodes in early July.” Bearing in mind all the false promises in the past, whether or not these took place is a matter of conjecture.
Late Oct 1990 DMC Convention, Paradiso, Amsterdam
“THE KLF are at the centre of a controversy again after causing a disturbance during the Disco Mix Club’s European Convention at Amsterdam’s Paradiso Club. During one of their public appearances, as headline act at the DMC Convention, the notorious pranksters decided to ‘liberate’ the organiser’s equipment and re-distribute it to the audience. Reports say they were coming to the end of a 23 minute version of their hit ‘What Time is Love?’ when Bill Drummond decided to give the Technics decks, mixers and other sound gear away to fans in the crowd. Organisers were forced to step in to try and retrieve the equipment as security staff clashed with Drummond himself. As the melee developed, Drummond’s partner Jimmy Cauty allegedly blew up the mixing desk. Most of the equipment was salvaged, but not surprisingly the KLF have been banned from the Dutch venue.”
Late Dec 1990 Rage, Heaven, London
“It’s the day after the all night video shoot [3am Eternal embankment version] and The KLF are building a prop for the night’s ‘performance’ at Heaven. “We’re both quite practical people,” says Bill casting a proud eye over rickety heap of wood … they start to explain their plan to use a wind machine to blow a sackful of one dollar notes into the audience at Heaven that night. That evening, at the Rage club night at Heaven, the joy- boys and gooned-out girls on the dancefloor have their evening’s disco-pigging interrupted by a thoroughly strange performance from two men dressed head to toe in deep sea fisherman’s garb. For 15 minutes The KLF stand absolutely motionless on stage, one on either side of a pyramid which supports two battered speakers arranged in a ‘T’ shape, blinding lights beam from behind them. The club sound system plays the crushing acid grind of ‘It’s Grim Up North’. And video cameramen record the half- struck, half-delighted crowd.” Apparently scenes of this were later used in the embankment version of the video clip for ‘3 a.m. eternal’ as well.
23rd June 1991 Festival Of Comedy, Liverpool
Accompanied on stage by the robed and hooded guests from the Rites of Mu, who chanted Mu Mu in an accapella version of Justified and Ancient. Apparently a lot of Liverpudlians got on stage too and it wasn’t very funny. They gave out ice creams from an ice cream van they had borrowed from a man who parked it in the street outside Trancentral.
13th Feb 1992 BRIT Awards, London
Drummond, wearing a kilt and supported by crutches, announced, “The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu versus Extreme Noise Terror: This is television freedom”, before the two bands launched into a raucous noise-fest of screaming guitars, super-fast drums, and guttural hoarse shouts of “3 A.M. 3 A.M. ETERNAL” from the two E.N.T. vocalists. This was live on prime-time TV, and performed in front of banks of seats of British music industry executives, at the annual BRIT Awards where the KLF had been nominated for best group and best LP.
“Bill was at the front of the stage, leaning on one crutch, practically shouting the vocals into the microphone. The lyrics were all-new (and different to the released version the KLF had just made available which was based on the original 3AM lyrics), but with the Extreme Noise Terror guys charging around the stage, screeching guitars, and the drummer going into overdrive, most of the actual words tended to get lost. I did pick out “The BRITs” and “BPI” (British Phonogram Industry), but little else. Jimmy had his coat with the hood down right up, so his face was practically concealed, but he was weaving around with his guitar. The few shots of the audience during the performance tended to suggest that they couldn’t believe what they were seeing – popular ‘dance’ music act becomes a thrash metal band, with a mind- numbing fusion of guitar and drums to a vague rendition of a well-known tune. Actually, Bill lost his way part through the second verse, and broke up laughing, but he managed to pick it up again just before slamming into the chorus.”
Bill hobbled off the stage to return with a large automatic rifle instead of a crutch, and a cigar in his mouth, and the whole thing ended with sparks and explosions from the rear of the stage, and Bill shooting blanks into the audience. They left the stage with the audience incredulous, as the voice of Scott Piering announced “The KLF have now left the music industry”.
25th Sep 1997 Barbican, London
Because we still hope they will do more things (and they are, yet not necessarily together). Since they were ahead of their time, we believe they still have relevance. Because there are still issues to discuss, facts to discover, documents to order, newbies to educate. People still think Hendrix’s music has relevance and he’s been dead for more than 30 years now.
William E. Drummond was born in 1953 and grew up in Galloway and Corby in the Borders in Scotland. Prior to the formation of the JAMS, the teenage Drummond ran away to sea to become a fisherman off the North East coast of Scotland, which he described as “my youth years lost afloat”. And he developed interests in bird-watching, nature walks and the ins-and-outs of livestock farming before going to Liverpool to study art. There he helped to put on a stage production of the cult book Illuminatus! with Ken Campbell’s Science Fiction Theatre (and he maintained an interest in amateur dramatics throughout the 80’s), before becoming involved with the punk scene and forming Liverpool punk band ‘Big In Japan’ with Holly (‘Frankie Goes To Hollywood’) Johnson, and Ian (‘Lightning Seeds’, now top producer) Broudie, on the 5th of May 1977, a date which he would later refer to as “entering the music industry”. Later Budgie (‘Siouxsie and the Banshees’) and Jayne (‘Pink Industry’) Casey, joined the group, which released a couple of singles in its year-long life.
Bill then formed Zoo Records in 1978 with Dave (‘Food Records’) Balfe to release an acrimonious posthumous ‘Big In Japan’ EP and then records by seminal UK independent bands ‘Echo and The Bunnymen’ and ‘The Teardrop Explodes’ whom he also managed. Balfe and Drummond were also the Zoo in-house production team ‘The Chameleons’ and the band ‘Lori and the Chameleons’. Both the Bunnymen and the Teardrops signed publishing deals through Zoo with WEA, and Drummond returned this gesture by re-mortgaging his house to fund a Bunnymen tour, and on making his money back, doing it again to pay for the recording of the first Teardrops LP.
Many of the people who would later work with the KLF worked with Zoo in these days: Mick Houghton was publicist for the Teardrops, and Bill Butt directed the Teardrops videos. Drummond later sent the Bunnymen on a tour of bizarre and apparently random sites, including the Northern Isles. “It’s not random,” said Drummond, speaking as the Bunnymen’s manager. “If you look at a map of the world, the whole tour’s in the shape of a rabbit’s ears.” As the Teardrops manager, Bill once told Julian Cope to commit suicide in order to boost record sales. Julian Cope’s autobiography, ‘Head On’ is a good source for more info on the late 70’s/early 80’s Liverpool scene and all the players therein, including some great anecdotes.
After an acrimonious parting with both bands, he joined WEA Records as a A&R person, working with ‘Strawberry Switchblade’, ‘Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction’, ‘The Proclaimers’ and ‘Brilliant’ who featured ex-Killing Joke member (and now top producer) Kris ‚Youth’ Weston and ex-artist Jimmy Cauty and were produced by Stock-Aitken-Waterman.
When Brilliant failed to be a hit with the British public, Drummond retired from WEA in 1986 when he was aged 33 and a third, writing a typically Drummond-esque retirement note. He recorded his solo LP ‘The Man’ for Creation Records as a cathartic farewell gesture to the music industry in 1986. This features the hilarious ‘Julian Cope Is Dead’ which is Drummond’s answer to the track ‘Bill Drummond Said’ which appears on Julian Cope’s solo LP ‘Fried’. (This features Cope quoting what he must have seen as typical Drummond quotes, such as “Give me one good reason why this couldn’t wait…”. ‘Fried’ was released on Island Records in about 1985.) Many future KLF collaborators also helped with the recording and production of this album. When Drummond was given money by Creation to film a video, and record a b-side for the ‘King Of Joy’ he used it to start a new project: ‘The Managers Speech’ was an ambient video filmed by Bill Butt, with Drummond dressed as a street sweeper ambling up a country lane talking of the music industry and telling how if you sent him 100 pounds he would give new bands important advice on how to be successful. An extract of this featured on the cover tape of the May 1992 issue of Select magazine. His self-imposed retiral from the music industry only lasted six months until on the 1st of January 1987 he decided to form the JAMs.
In a Radio 1 ‘Story Of Pop’ documentary interview, Bill said: “It was New Year’s Day, um, the first day of 1987. I was at home with my parents, I was going for a walk in the morning, it was, like, bright blue sky, and I thought “I’m going to make a hip-hop record. Who can I make a hip-hop record with?”. I wasn’t brave enough to go and do it myself, cos’, although I can play the guitar, and I can knock out a few things on the piano, I knew nothing, personally, about the technology. And, I thought, I knew Jimi, I knew he was a like spirit, we share similar tastes and backgrounds in music and things. So I phoned him up that day and said “Let’s form a band called The Justified Ancients of Mu-Mu.”. And he knew exactly, to coin a phrase, “Where I was coming from”. And within a week we had recorded our first single which was called “All You Need Is Love”.
James (or Jimmy or Jimi) Cauty was born in Devon in 1956 and not much is known about him until, as a 17-year old artist he painted a quite famous Lord of the Rings poster for Athena. He has continued painting over the years, with his early reputation being “London artist, bohemian”. His later paintings include various posters and postcards, which also got released on Athena, as well as a record cover for the audio book ‘The King Of Elfland’s Daughter’ (narrated by Christopher Lee and featuring later KLF vocalist P.P. Arnold).
In 1981/2 he was in a band called Angels 1-5 were he met his now wife Cressida Bowyer. Not much is known about the band itself except they did a Peel session. He next crops up as a guitarist with Brilliant in the 80’s with Youth. Youth said he “cut the original ten (or so) members of the band down to just him, June (Montana) and Jimmy…” Brilliant sign for WEA where Jimmy meets Bill. They collaborate on the JAMs early work and Jimmy also DJ’s in the Chill Out room at Paul Oakenfold’s London club, Heaven, with Alex Paterson with whom he forms The Orb. After releasing a handful of singles, he then leaves The Orb and goes to work with Bill full-time.
[needs major update]
Bill just finished a new book, ‘Wild Highway’, together with Mark Manning, and is currently doing readings for his own latest book ‘How To Be An Artist’ throughout the UK. The latest dates can be found at the news section of KLF Online.
Jimmy is busy with his Blacksmoke project along his latest collaborations with Alex Paterson on both the latest Orb album and the Transit Kings (including Guy Pratt as well) whose first EP got a release in 2005. News on Blacksmoke can always be found in the news section or directly on the Blacksmoke homepage, while details on the upcoming Transit Kings stuff are also mentioned on the Orb website.
As of March 1997, Bill was known to be resident on a farm near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire and Jimmy had moved from Trancentral (aka. the Benio in Stockwell, London) to Knowle House, near Broadhempston, Totnes, Devon.
However the two main address contact addresses are as follows. A number of other addresses have been used over the years, contact Nickif you’re interested.
The WTKFBAMQ info-sheet gives the K-F address as:
THE K FOUNDATION
P.O. Box 91
This is in Aylesbury, near where Bill lives and members have received replies from Bill from writing to this address so we suppose this is the one to use (1996).
The Curfew Press address (but we imagine they’re rarely there) is:
The Curfew Press
The Curfew Tower
The Parish of Layde in The Barony of Lower Glenarm
Alteratively, you could try to get in touch with them through their respective projects’ websites, Penkiln Burn and Blacksmoke.
Other useful addresses are:
Mick Houghton (was the KLF’s Publicist)
112-6 Old Street
Phone: 0171 336 8855
Domenic Free (Lawyer handling KLF’s response to Wanda Dee)
45-51 Whitfield Street
Goddess Empire Inc (Wanda Dee’s managment)
FAX: 703 569 9103
Attn: Ray McCumber
NY Office: Sal DiSanto 212 947 1322
Addresses of other music industry collaborators (e.g. Mark ‘Spike’ Stent and Nick Coler/Ian Richardson) can be found in any UK music trade directory.
Unfortunately, most of the old KLF websites disappeared due to the lack of updates or fading time of their creators. There once even had been an official K-Foundation website but that went offline as well. Yet there are still some external websites that are worth checking out:
The website of Bill Drummond (has been suspended for now).
The website of Jimmy Cauty (has been suspended for now).
Official outlet of K2 Plant Hire Ltd., currently displaying the announcement posters for “2023”.
The London-based L-13 Light Industrial Workshop is one of the few outlets through which Jimmy’s work is available for purchase.
Run by Mark Rolfe. Featuring an extensive discography as well as a couple of easter eggs hidden throughout the site. 🙂
There are of course a lot more – we suggest you to check out the links section for more information.
“Chill Out” was apparently recorded live, without edits, in one take, by the KLF only. The whole album was attempted several times, and if a mistake was made, they started again. Here’s what was written in Record Collector magazine # 140:
Cauty: “‘Chill Out’ was done with two DAT machines and a cassette recorder.”
Drummond: “It was a live album that took two days to put together from bits and pieces. It was like jamming with bits from LPs and stuff we had lying around. We’d run around having to put an album on here, a cassette on there, and then press something else to get a flow.”
Cauty: “There’s no edits on it. Quite a few times we’d get near the end and make a mistake and so we’d have to go all the way back to the beginning and set it all up again.”
Drummond then talks of bouncing it from DAT to DAT and playing a few pads on a synthesizer at the notorious Trancentral of legend.
The confusion concerning the recording of ‘Chill Out’ comes from a Volume interview with The Orb’s Alex Patterson, where the interviewer writes the following:
Alex and Jimmy Cauty started the first ‘Chill Out’ room at Paul Oakenfold’s Land of Oz club, upstairs in London’s Heaven. Using two decks and a CD player they mixed tracks by the likes of Kraftwerk and Brian Eno over bird-songs, BBC sound effects and weird tribal chants! Back in Autumn 1989 Alex DJ’d for more than six hours at an eleven-hour ‘ambientathon’ held at the KLF’s Trancentral HQ. And much of the KLF’s ‘Chill Out’ LP is, in fact, made up of cuts from the session! Kopyright Liberation Front: you bet your bottom, matey!
However since this is not a direct quote from Paterson, it is more reasonable to believe the KLF’s actual statements. It is possible that the interviewer was confusing ‘Chill Out’ with the Space album, which was recorded originally as an Orb album by Jimmy and Alex, then they split up and Jimmy kept the master tapes (since they were recording in his house at Trancentral), reworked it, removed Alex’s contributions and added some others of his own, finally releasing it on KLF Communications. There were infamous weekend-long parties held at Trancentral though. Patterson will have had some guiding/inspirational input to ‘Chill Out’, but it’s really the interplay between Bill and Jimmy that makes the KLF great. ‘Chill Out’ is unquestionably a KLF record – just listen to steel guitars and sheep noises.
The best way to listen to this album is as follows:
Close all curtains, and switch off all lights and make sure you won’t be disturbed.
Lie on the floor, pillow under your head.
Close your eyes and relax.
Play Chill Out fairly loud and listen to the whole thing in one go.
Various other good times to hear it include ‘in the office on an afternoon’ or over the piped music in shopping malls or cinemas.
Why is "It's Grim Up North" credited to The JAMs when all their other late hits were releases under their KLF alias?
First of all, you have to keep in mind that the commercially available version of It’s Grim Up North was a very polished remix of the original version that had been released in December 1990 and which was clearly influenced by their Pure Trance series. They dropped Pete Wylie’s vocals and had Bill Drummond re-record them and added the orchestral outro ‚Jerusalem On The Moors’ to the end of it.
Ok, that’s what happened to most of the Pure Trance singles as well which were part of the Stadium House period of The KLF. But why did they credit it to The JAMS then – who were apparently dead after their second LP? As we all know, It’s Grim Up North was meant to be one of the tracks of the ever-rescheduled ‚Black Room’ album which went through various different styles. In 1991, on a norwegian radio show Bomlagadafshipoing (really!), Bill indeed talks about the recording of the track as a part of the upcoming album.
Jimmy went to a club, a rave, once, last November, and the PA had broken down. It was like… It wasn’t very good. And all the walls were concrete. And there’s this sound to all the records, a very horrible, hard sound. And we wanted to get some of that. And we… I mean… we had decided we not wanting have snares. All these little things. Just, just. The only drum sound is the bass drum sound. And everything else is almost just noise. That’s what we wanted on the Black Room. […]
[It’s Grim Up North] was the first track when we first decided to do The Black Room album. It was the first track we did for the album. We hope to redo that track and make it commercially available. And then it’ll be the main track on the The Black Room album.
This leads to the conclusion that they had already decided to release ‚The Black Room’ as the Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu when they first came up with it, so It’s Grim Up North naturally got credited to the JAMS as well.
The legendary unreleased LP, the darker, harder twin to the White Room LP. It was referred to in interviews for ages, even before the White Room was released. Originally it was planned to be harder techno (like It’s Grim Up North), then it was going to be heavy-metal techno (like America…) and then it was going to be a thrash-metal collaboration with Extreme Noise Terror (like the TOTP version of 3 am Eternal). It’s unknown, how much of each incarnation was complete, before it was scrapped and recording was re-started.
Jimmy said of it in December ’90: “The ‘Black Room’ album will all be this kind of electro turbo metal. It’s not really industrial like, say, Throbbing Gristle, because it’s coming from house and has an uplifting vibe about it. But it’s so heavy it will just pin you to the floor.”; while Drummond said of it in March ’91: “It’s the compete yang to the yin of ‘The White Room’. It’ll be very very dense, very very hardcore. No sort of ‘up’ choruses or anthems. I think it’s going to be techno-metal, I think that’s gonna be the sound. Techno-metal. Which’ll be, you know, a cross between Techno and Heavy Metal. Megadeth with drum machines.”
One NME article noted that the “Black Room” was actually an ante-room to the recording studio they used in West London. It was originally scheduled for the end of ’91, which was put back to March ’92, and they were still recording in February ’92 when they scrapped the sessions. Mark Stent, the engineer/producer for these sessions, thought the music was pure genius. “The most awesome track for me was one called “The Black Room and Terminator 10″ which was like a very slow tempo thrash. It was mad. It was brilliant, absolutely brilliant, and it would have shown a lot of people up because it was as ballsy as hell. Guitars screaming all over the place, Bill doing his vocals and Dean (of ENT) doing his. There was such a raw power to it. It was so different from anything anyone else had ever heard. This was really heavy.”
Furthermore, in Bad Wisdom, on page 206, Bill says:
Z asks about the Black Room album that me and Jimmy as the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu started but were too afraid to complete. I tell him how, when I was standing in the twilight of the recording booth, the microphone in front of me, Jimmy’s magnificent metal guitar riffs roaring in my headphones, a voice came out of me which I had never heard before, words flowed that I had never written and a precipice appeared before me. I crept forward and looked over the edge: the abyss. The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu’s LP, The Black Room, was never finished.
But Z keeps talking and I’m warming to his persuasions. He feels that Jimmy and I are evading our responsibilities; we should return to our war-horse and complete the task. And yes, right now I believe Z may be right. But maybe Jimmy and I should wait until we are both over fifty before we record the sound of us as battle-scarred veterans of a hundred mercenary campaigns, when the music would not be drawn from our fading libidos but from the horror of life spent confronting that abyss – kinda like Milton backed up by Megadeth.
See the NME ‘KLF vs. the BRITs’ and Select ‘Who Killed The KLF’ articles in the Articles section for further details.
There are some mp3 files on file sharing networks and ftp servers which apparently are taken from the ‘Black Room’, and although they are mislabelled, then ENT bass player Mark Bailey confirmed to us that these files were indeed taken from an early demo tape they recorded for the ‘Black Room’ album. How they got there remains a mystery to him, though. The full interview with Mark Bailey features many more details about the plans of Bill and Jimmy as well as some more details about their sessions, so you might want to read that as well.
The soundtrack album to the ‘The White Room’ film was completed in 1989, and both their 1989 singles state “taken from the White Room soundtrack LP” on the sleeves. When “Kylie Said to Jason” wasn’t a hit they scrapped the release of the album. Studio tapes of this were stolen by the engineer and released to bootleggers, which is how some list members got copies of it. The versions of the songs are substantially different from the remixed versions which appeared on the 1991 White Room album. Many songs appear either in whole or in part on the soundtrack to the White Room film (copies of which are also around). You can download the complete soundtrack from various online sources.
The US version is, unfortunately, edited. The UK version presents the first five tracks (“WTIL?” through “Last Train”) as a kind of “mini-concert” with sampled crowd noise from, among other places, U2’s ‘Rattle And Hum’. All five tracks are segued and mixed. The US version eliminates the crowd noise, with some tracks ending very abruptly. It doesn’t work nearly as well, and in some places (right after the “Justified” lead-in to “WTIL?”) is downright stupid. This is probably as the crowd noise was sampled from a Doors album and hence the obvious copyright problems.
The US edition also has the single mix of “Last Train” instead of the mellower UK album version, edits “No More Tears” down from 9:24 to 6:42, and adds a little more wind noise at the end of the closing “Justified and Ancient”. The Japanese version follows the US format, and in addition includes three extra tracks. See the discography for more info.
All releases on the band’s KLF Communications label (UK) were deleted when they retired, but non-UK licensors of the music (including Arista and TVT in the US, Liberation in Australia, and Toshiba/EMI in Japan) will still have the right to produce KLF records for several years. But it will be a finite amount of time, and it seems likely that Drummond and Cauty will never release their product again, so you should think seriously about purchasing what you can now, while you can. Of course, original KLF Communications releases still crop up in second-hand record shops, and list members occasionally sell some things off.
In the UK most of the foreign CD’s are available on import quite easily, while the original KLF Communications issues can be found in internet shops like Esprit, Netsounds, GEMM and – most of all – on eBay and Discogs.
The swear words were removed from the ‘Burn The Beat’ 7″ in an attempt to receive radio play. There may be some minor mix differences between the 12″ version and ‘Burn The Bastards’ but they’re not obvious. Also the bells/party outro is cut so that all that’s left is Den shouting: “Shut up! It’s that time again, kick out the old, welcome the new”. Which could almost be the JAMs motto. The instrumental club mix is more trancey and contains more samples.
Here are the tracks from the releases in question:
Shag Times (UK double album)
All You Need Is Love
Don’t Take Five (Take What You Want)
Whitney Joins The JAMS
Burn The Bastards
Doctorin’ The Tardis
Whitney Joins The JAMS (remix)
I Love Disco 2000
Down Town (remix)
Burn The Beat (club mix)
Prestwich Prophet’s Grin (dance mix)
Porpoise Song (dance mix)
Doctorin’ The Tardis (minimal)
The last seven tracks (the second disc on the LP version) are labelled only by (innacurate) BPM; these above are the actual tracks.
Shag Times (European single album)
All You Need Is Love
Don’t Take Five (Take What You Want)
Whitney Joins The JAMS
Burn The Bastards 
History Of The JAMS a.k.a. The Timelords (US version)
All You Need Is Love
Don’t Take Five (Take What You Want)
Whitney Joins The JAMS
Porpoise Song (dance mix)
Burn The Beat
Doctorin’ The Tardis
Gary In The Tardis [CD only]
History Of The JAMS a.k.a. The Timelords (Australian version)
All You Need Is Love
Don’t Take Five (Take What You Want)
Disaster Fund Collection
Burn The Beat (ext. 7″ mix)
Burn The Bastards
Doctorin’ The Tardis
“Burn The Beat” is mislabelled “Whitney” on this release.
The UK CD has only one track, 45 minutes long. The US CD separates this into 14 tracks, based on the ‘song’ titles and approximate timings printed on the label of the UK LP. It seems that the KLF consider Chill Out to be one continuous piece of music, but had to invent a separation into songs so that song-writing royalties can be paid to those sampled. For instance P. Green is credited with co-co-writing “3am Somewhere Outside of Beaumont” with Drummond and Cauty, and of course this is Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac, writer of Albatross, the melody that is heavily sampled on this track.
The thing that was released in Europe was the remix 12 inch (JAMS 26T) which has remixes of tracks off Who Killed The JAMs? (JAMS LP2). From JAMs info-sheet 001:
JAMS 26T? When we put Downtown out and gave it the cat no. JAMS 27T it was a mistake. We forgot we hadn’t made a 26T. Then we decided to release Dance Mixes of tracks from the LP. This would be the missing JAMS 26T. We pressed up 2,000 then decided we didn’t like them, so we sold them into Europe. One of the tracks we remixed and is coming out titled ‘Burn The Beat’ by The KLF with the cat no. KLF 002T. If you are confused so are we.
There are at least two releases on 12″ vinyl in existence. Both are one-sided and feature the same mix as on “Shag times”, but both have numerous intrinsic variations:
Scottish release, September 87, limited to 500 copies, the etched matrix is “JAM 24T A2”, however, at least one copy is known to have the matrix “JAMS 24T”. One sided (B- side is smooth). The A side label reads: “bpm 120 Whitney joins the J.A.M.s” This is repeated on the B side, but some DJ copies have blank B-labels. There might even be a small “MADE IN ENGLAND” sticker. Comes in plain black sleeve or generic KLF sleeve A.
Re-release at a later date, unknown quantity, etched matrix is “JAMS24T”. The B side is not smooth, but has a tone-groove which plays as a high-pitched whine. One run-out groove on the B-side it may say LP FB 12 X, where the ‘X’ is a ‘3’ and a ‘O’ overlaid. This matrix is typical of tone-grooves. Comes in generic KLF sleeve A. Some labels state “bpm 120 Whitney joins the J.A.M.s” with “Made in Scotland JAMS24T” but others don’t.
Most of the differences can be put down to different production runs. The reason for the “Made in Scotland” inclusion is probably because it was, despite rumours that it was only ever released in Scotland. But most of their other releases state “Made in England” and various other locations. We think this is due to a EEC regulation which means records pressed in the EEC must state the country of origin. The 1987 album was “Made in France” also because it was! As with many ‘independent’ records at that time, it was pressed by MPO in France, because they were cheaper even with re-importation costs and actually better quality that many of the existing UK plants at the time, and would do more limited runs of records too. However the ‘Who Killed the JAMS’ LP label says “Made in Wales”, which is a complete mystery to all, as it wasn’t an MPO pressing.
Some discographies note a release “Towards The Trance KLF LP1”. “Towards The Trance” was the second part of the Shag Times UK double LP. The first part, “Shag Times” was definitely released as a single album in Europe (and omitting “Doctorin’ the Tardis”). No-one has ever seen “Towards The Trance” as a separate single album release. It may be that it never got released, and then they decided to run with “Shag Times” in the UK to cash in on the “Doctorin’ the Tardis” success, and bundled it with “Towards The Trance”. The catalogue number and above details came from Bill himself when asked in a letter from Culf, what happened to “Towards The Trance”. Most of the LP is the second disc of Shag Times, i.e. a collection of remixes showing the JAMs progressing towards the KLF.
We have identified several common variants in this release. Again each may have intrinsic variations:
The commercially released version. Dark charcoal grey/blue sleeve, with ‘KLF’ in large black letters on front, Pyramid Blaster on reverse. These and/or the background on the cover may be glossed to different levels or not – put this down to different production runs. The label is in very dark blue print, and may look black under artificial light – probably also different production runs. The matrix on the A side reads “KLF 004X A’ “, which is the ‘Live at Trancentral’ mix, and the B side reads “KLF 004-C-B1”, which is the ‘Techno Gate’ mix. There is a faint ‘DAMONT’ etched on the B side, vertically opposite the matrix. The bar code is 5 017139 224240.
The promo white label. May come in Generic KLF Sleeve A or plain white or black sleeve. Blank label. The A side matrix reads “KLF 004X A’ ” (which is the Live at Trancentral mix) and the B side reads “KLF 004X-C-B1” (which is the Techno Gate mix). It may also have “DAMONT” etched on the B side
The promo white label with the “Wanda-ful” mix. Generic KLF Sleeve A or plain white or black sleeve. Blank label. The A side matrix reads “KLF 004X A’ ” (Live At Trancentral) but the B side matrix is “KLF 004X B’ ” (Wanda-ful mix).
These are the three main ones, but some other variants are:
Release 1 but with black sleeve writing; Release 1, etched KLF 004X-C-B1 on the B side, but which plays the Wanda-ful mix; and Release 1, but actually with KLF 004X B’ etched on the B side (and which plays the Wanda-ful mix).
Each release may also have what appears to be an “R” etched below and between the KLF004X and the A or B, but this is insignificant, as are the letters which may be etched in the 9 o’clock position on the run out grooves.
Just so you know, the Techno Gate mix has vocals only on the intro, but the Wanda-ful mix is “Wanda-full” of her vocals throughout.
As far as we know, KLF 004P was never a pressing in it’s own right, the matrix was always 004X.
“Deep Shit” (Cat no. DS1) was a flexi 7″ pressed in 500 copies in September 1987 that should have been released along a comic drawn by Jimmy, but nobody has ever seen it, so we can’t be absolutely sure of its existence.
“At the start of 1993, Jimmy completed one issue [started in 1989] of his graphic novel ‘Deep Shit: The Further Adventures of the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu’ but he decided it was ‘crap’ and ‘threw it out’.”
It was on the KLF1 Completeist List as having been pressed, it has never been confirmed.
From JAMs info-sheet 001: “Deep Shit (the flexi)? I’m afraid although we recorded this we never actually got it out. We were hoping to slip it in with the first few copies of JAMS LP2.”
But from JAMs info-sheet 002: “‘Deep Shit’ can never be made generally available, but don’t be surprised if it turns up in odd places.”
They allegedly made the single because in 1987 they received a letter from an American calling himself ‘Don Lucknowe’ who warned them about the “Deep shit” they would be in if they continued with their many links to the “Illuminatus!” trilogy. It all turned out to be a joke (we think!). Their only contact address turned out to be that of a parody news outfit, “Yossarian Universal”. Paul Fericano, the then editor thinks the originator of the letter is James Wallis, a British satirist, and long-time Three Stooges fan (hence the name Don Lucknowe = Don’t Look Now).
It was then, allegedly released in August 1989 as 6 copies only of a 12″ white label (Cat no. KLF 101R), with the A side as “Deep Shit” Parts Two and Three the Illegal Remix” and the B side of “The Lovers Side”, from the original TWR album. The existance of both tracks has been confirmed by KLF Online when two of us had a pressing in our own hands.
Although listed in the discography, no one has ever found a copy of the promo 12” featuring the benio dub mix of ‘Last Train To Trancentral’. What happened to the dub mix is unknown until today, but chances are that it never existed in the first place. If the running time in the discography is accurate, it could even just be the mislabelled original Pure Trance mix of ‘Last Train To Trancentral’. The KLF MP3 Collection featured an mp3 labelled ‘benio dub’, but unfortunately it was only ‘What Time Is Love? (techno gate mix)’.
The bootleg UK CD version of 1987 (‘What the : is going on?’ KLFCD007 with the orange/white cover) plays as 3 tracks. The first two of which are made up of the tracks which were on either side of the original 1987 release.
However, track 3, the bonus tracks that are listed in the discography actually play as a live performance by firstly, american (?)-metal band Big Black and then another similar band called Rifle Sport do a few tracks. The origin of this session is unknown.
None of the stuff has any intrinsic value – it’s worth exactly a) what you’d take from someone else for it or b) what someone else would pay you for it, whichever’s higher 🙂 . To convert a price listed in the various guides to cash, you have to find someone willing to pay you that amount. You won’t make a killing as record dealers generally pay you only about a fourth of the listed value.
Among KLF collectors some of the harder-to-find stuff is obviously going up in value e.g. ‘Space’ CD; but The KLF aren’t exactly Led Zep or Kate Bush in terms of having a widespread fan base, so in the larger market, you’re probably not going to have much luck making $50 off your “All You Need Is Love” 12″. In fact the price of the KLF releases is actually falling with time (or to be more accurate they are not selling at the higher price any more, yet record shops haven’t noticed this and reduced the price yet).
‘KSTJ’ is about two of Australia’s biggest stars in the late 80s, Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan, starring in the soap ‘Neighbours’. Unfortunately (?) I have never seen this show myself, so I can’t give you a summary of what happens, but I [i]do[/i] know that Kylie and Jason (or at least the characters they played) get married in the show.
Kylie and Jason’s characters in the soap Neighbours were so popular that they really made the show a success, attracting regular audiences of about a third of the entire population of the UK! And bizarrely no-one referred to the characters by their names Charlene and Scott, they were known as Kylie and Jason. So Stock-Aitken-Waterman (it all connects of course), recognising the British public’s stupidity, took K+J and made a series of bland boy meets girl electro-pop singles with them and between them and together sometimes they must have had something like 10 No.1’s from 1987-1989.
There are many more references to various popular artists and TV shows all across the lyrics:
I was smokin with Felicity
The good life begins in bed
Richard was in the garden
Or I think that’s what she said
Felicity Kendall and Richard Briers also appeared in a TV series called ‘The Good Life’ (‘Good Neighbors’ in the US). No idea why that particular Good Life begins in bed in that song – maybe Bill and Jimmy had a crush on Felicity…
‘Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em‘
…was a famous UK 70’s sitcom.
Then in walks Skippy (party)
The bush kangaroo (party)
Skippy is pretty much the most famous bush kangaroo from another famous Australian TV show.
Rolf playing “Sun Arise” (party)
And playing the didgeridoo (party)
Rolf Harris who was famous for his appearance on Kate Bush LPs and his cover version of Led Zep’s ‘Stairway To Heaven’ on which he blows the didgeridoo himself. “Sun Arise” was a mid-60’s single by Harris, produced by George Martin.
With Angry singing ‘Suddenly’
‘Angry’ refers to Angry Anderson, who sang the song ‘Suddenly” that Kylie and Jason got married to in ‘Neighbours’. Naturally, the song was a massive hit in the UK.
Funny enough, there have been reports on the mailing list that one of the actors (Pete?) apparently had a huge KLF poster on the wall of his room!
There are two known vinyl bootleg releases of ‘1987’ which are both fairly easy to tell apart if you know what to look for.
The first one changed the original sleeve’s colour scheme from black/white to red/white which makes is rather easy to spot. There is no proper JAMS LP 1 that comes in this sleeve.
Reportedly, this issue has good sound quality, so if you can’t find an original copy (or don’t want to pay huge amounts for it) you can still pick it up.
The second variation got released in the Netherlands in 2000 and looks very similar to the original release, and without taking a look at the label itself it’s hard to distinguish it from the original. The big font (‘1987’) is almost the same, but the smaller writings are quite different from the ’87 release.
On the label, though, there is a spelling mistake – the small copyright notice that circles along the outer part of the label says “ALL SOUNDS O9N…”. Additionally, the text is aligned differently on the bootleg’s label. Furthermore, the original has “MPO JAMS LP 1 A” and “MPO JAMS LP 1 B” written by hand on the run-out groove, while the bootleg is stamped “JAMSLP 1 A” and “JAMSLP 1 B” by a machine.
While CD bootlegs do exist ‘1987’ never got officially released on CD.
In 1991, Marshall Dickson issued 3000 copies with a slightly different ordered tracklist (so people listening to it in a record shop would find out right after the first track that it featured the infamous ABBA-sample heavy ‘The Queen And I’).
You can clearly hear that it was mastered from vinyl, so you might get a better sound with a good vinyl copy (or bootleg).
Furthermore, there is a three track CD from 1992 with a white/orange picture sleeve that, along the original tracks from ‘1987’, also features some live recordings from Big Black and then another similar band called Rifle Sport do a few tracks, although labeled as JAMS tracks from ‘All You Need Is Love’ and ‘Who Killed The JAMS?’.
The origin of this session is unknown.
The bootleg comes with both LPs in a regular sleeve, whereas original has a gatefold double sleeve with one LP in every fold, hence the features newspaper articles are printed on the inner LP sleeves rather than inside the gatefold. There is a small error in the Pyramid Blaster logo (the right speaker is filled black), and on its back cover there is a huge KLF logo. Apparently, the original back cover later changed, though, so the logo is just a possible hint.
While the original Shag Times had the cat# JAMS LP 3 on its spine, the bootleg got issued as ‘JAMS DLP1’. The runout groove is labeled ‘JAMSD LP 3 A’ etc. and is, like on most bootlegs, produced by machine, while the original had all text written by hand (and only said ‘JAMS LP…’). The record labels themselves have been retyped and got a black ring on their border, while the original didn’t have one.
Furthermore, the font on the cover is not 100% accurate. Letters like “S” and “G” are too rounded on the top, and the “J” doesn’t do a full curl.
A French 15-track CD appeared in 2012. Since the original pressings only include 14 tracks it’s pretty easy to tell them apart.
The ‘White Room Original Motion Picture Soundtrack’ has never been officially released due to Bill and Jimmy cancelling it when ‘Kylie Said To Jason’ failed to chart at higher places, so basically, every copy you will find of this is a bootleg.
In 1998, list members released a bootleg of the soundtrack that was apparently taken from a stolen mastertape. Along the original ten tracks of the OST, they also added some rarer KLF tracks and mixes, most notable the ‘monster attack mix’ of ‘What Time Is Love?”. While those bonus tracks were mastered from CD or vinyl, which lead to a quite decent sound, the tracks taken from the mastertape sound quite muffled and got several stereo flaws in them. The sleeve features a quite interesting story about the ‘White Room’ movie, though.
Several years later, the owner of the original tape had it re-recorded in a professional studio, using the EQ settings from ‘Kylie Said To Jason’ (the only track that had been released on CD). The sound quality of these is very good, especially if you were used to the 1998 bootleg’s sound.
In 2016 a very limited run of the soundtrack got released on white vinyl in a limited run of 130 copies, being sourced from yet another DAT tape. The sleeve replicates those from the Pure Trance series. Sound quality is superior to that of previous bootlegs.
Due to the CD release being highly available (at least the US pressings), only the vinyl has been bootlegged so far, though multiple times. It seems that only the original JAMS LP5 has the copyright notice printed in the outer circle of the label as well as the KLF Communications logo on the right. Furthermore, the label of the first bootleg has the same spelling mistake as the ‘1987’ bootleg from the Netherlands.
Some bootleg versions of this exist. They are very hard to distinguish, and have an almost-identical cover design but which omits the mention of KLF Communications. If you examine the LP’s cover and label art closely, it looks like it was shot from another copy of the LP, which is pretty typical bootlegger’s territory, and hardly something they’d need to do on a legit reissue.
The manufacturers tried to duplicate the Space CD identically, and apart from a slightly botched print job almost managed. The bootleg is easily recognisable though, for a large black area after the phonograph right and copyright symbols and before the words “MADE IN ENGLAND”. If it is the original KLF Communications release, it would say 1990 KLF COMMUNICATIONS in that area. The CD itself is distinguishable because of the “fake” compact disc logo and the fact that the text that runs along the edges of the CD is only on the top, as opposed to being on the top and bottom of the original.
The original has 3 tracks and is labelled KLF ETERNA 1.
The alleged Italian one-sided bootleg has only one track and is labelled ETERNITY 23. It comes without a sleeve but with a “bumper”-style sticker that reads: “KLF / MADRUGADA ETERNA (CLUB MIX) / EDIZIONE SPECIALE / NUMERO (blank space)/500”. According to Erik Gander the bootleg features the same mix as ETERNA 1.
Note that neither feature the mix from the White Room promo video.
The original 7″ vinyl is one-sided and the catalogue number is KLF5TOTP. The bootleg is double sided (the same track on both sides) and the catalogue number is KLF 3AM1. It is rumoured that these originated when one member of Extreme Noise Terror heard it was not going to be commercially released and had a few printed up on the side, very allegedly.
Since its initial appearance on eBay (selling for $1.325!), ‘Love Trance’ has led to numerous discussions on the KLF mailing list. There are various details that points towards it being taken from an original run of promos, to which someone attached the original labels (which are sold on eBay quite regularly). The track itself features some vocal samples that were used on ‘Space’ as well (“Penetration: seven minutes…”). In the run-out groove you can still see the name of Adrenaline, scratched-out by someone. Adrenaline was one of the pressing plants that usually manufactured the KLF’s records, and while today’s vinyls usually come with printed run-out grooves, ‘Love Trance’ has hand-written information.
The sound quality is rather clear. We can’t compare the sound of ‘Love Trance’ to any other release, but the b-side (‘What Time Is Love? (monster attack mix)’) sounds slightly better than on the ‘White Room OST’ bootleg which is the only other place where you can find it.
On the other hand, ‘Love Trance’ does not really sound like a KLF record, and according to Bill and Jimmy, it never has been pressed. One of the japanese vocal samples says, “The KLF has now left the building” – which would then have been two years before the first promo appearance of ‘3 a.m. Eternal’. Even IF the JAMS ever had a master plan, it is quite unlikely that they had already planned all this in 1988.
At this point the common consensus seems to be that ‘Love Trance’ is indeed a demo version of an unreleased KLF track, a theory which is supported by another track salvaged from a couple of DATs Jimmy had thrown away, displaying some similiarities to the ‘original’ demo version. So while it is not sure wether or not this is a proper KLF release, it is most probably the most obscure KLF release around. If you ever see a copy, don’t hestitate to pick it up.
With only 1000 copies in existence KLF 008R is among the more sought after releases so naturally bootlegs exist, but thankfully the differences are right on the outer sleeve.
While the original is pink the bootleg is a lot darker in colour. The font and typeset varies between both – whereas the original uses the KLF’s standard font the bootleg uses a look-alike font (Compacta?) which results in differences in the overlapping of the “5” and “Trancentral” as well as a much more rounded “5” on the bootleg.
Though not as obvious as on the front the back cover features similar differences in font and typeset as well. Furthermore the bootlegs omits the barcode in the upper right corner.
Thanks to Maarten Bouwes for providing pictures for comparison.
Bootleg. This was never released by KLF Communications but appears on ‘Wix Trax! Records’. The sleeve is an amalgamation of Chill Out and Space sleeves, and the CD itself plays Chill Out as individual tracks, but cuts of the end of ‘The Lights of Baton Rouge Pass By’ to break into a single track of Space. CD Cat no. is ODY 026 KLF 1
Bootleg. There was never an official KLF release of this compilation. URT are a well-known series of bootlegs, there is also an Orb one amongst countless others.
The Lost Sounds of Mu series is an effort to make available to fans of Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty those tracks which have either fallen out of circulation, or are difficult to acquire in their original state. The discs are created and assembled by fans, for fans, and with a desire for the preservation of these Great Men’s contribution to popular culture. These are ‘Fan Club’ discs.
What does [...] sound like?
This question is not as easy to answer as one might think, since there seem to be two different mixes of “Madrugada Eterna”.
The first mix appears on the promo video of the White Room motion picture and can be found on various bootleg compilation videos and CDs. There’s a quite pumping TB303 bassline underneath the melody and a groovy beat, with lots of the mad preacher’s vocals chopped up and spread across the track.
Unfortunately, the short snippet from the promo video is all that exists of this version.
Then there is a very rare release of “Madrugada Eterna” on 12” (KLF ETERNA 1) which features another mix. Although it’s also quite groovy, it is more laid back than the mix on the promo video. It can either sound like an ambient track with a trancey beat in the background, OR it can sound like a great club track with a twist (the steel guitar) where the samples of the mad preacher sound like proper vocals, OR it can sound terrible with the two parts clashing and working against each other. Whatever, it seems that the KLF didn’t like it and decided not to widely release it.
Furthermore, there is a bootleg (ETERNITY 23) that plays the unreleased club mix from the 12”, but not the shorter edit (see Bootlegs section).
Bear in mind that the KLF have left the music industry and that this is the K Foundation PRESENTING the Red Army Choir. Its a great novelty pop song. It is unquestionable that it would be a huge world-wide hit if they released it. It really is the Red Army Choir. Bill saw them at a local performance and got them to sing a completely straight version of the old standard ‘Que Cera Cera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)’, gradually building up to a crescendo of crashing symbols, Cossack dance ‘HEY!’s and trumpets as they launch into the chorus. There’s a breakdown section very similar to that in ‘America…’, and the climactic-military-brass-band-style-pomp continues with ‘War Is Over If You Want It’ i.e. the John Lennon-Yoko Ono Christmas single. If you’re not dancing around your bedroom by this point wildly swinging your arms, with a huge grin on your face, then you’ve missed the point. Finally the song ends in an ambient outro, with church bells and a drum march, similar to ‘America No More’.
It was only ever released in Israel in a limited ed. of 3000 on CD and cassette, to ‘celebrate’ the 1993 Peace Accord there. They also tried to get it played at festivals and live events over that summer, but were usually thwarted because organisers thought it was “crap”. On one occasion, at the Reading Festival, Pete Robinson was spotted trying to make a tape of it from the PA playback. Now it’s usually only found if someone is selling, or maybe in a second-hand store. Expect to pay upwards of ukp30 for a copy.
Unfortunately the KLF track on the CND benefit album ‘Give Peace A Dance’ is not a proper song at all. Just a large explosion and a slow rumbling fade to silence for 1.37 minutes, obviously designed to make you think of nuclear explosions, it being a CND album and all. Best description must be: ‘BLAM rumble rumble rumble rumble rumble rumble’.
However, we actually think its a NASA rocket launch soundtrack, as featured on numerous Orb tracks, most obviously at the beginning of “Supernova at the End of the Universe”, and of course the KLF have used NASA clips as well, most notably at the beginning of Space, and the end of ‘What Time Is Love? (live)’. The second mini-boom on this track could be the second stage rocket firing. In fact it sounds exactly like the rocket launch at the beginning of Space.
Most people who have heard them will think that Brilliant featuring Youth and Jimmy Cauty with June Montana as singer were fairly awful really. Cheesy, clumsy, disco pop music (albeit with loud guitars too) produced by Stock Aitken and Waterman on a major label. “But it’s also worth remembering, rather like the KLF, that there are two phases to Brilliant’s career. First they were a sort of a funky Killing Joke who released some records via indie label Rough Trade; I remember listening to their first (perhaps only) Peel Session and thinking ‘funky bass’. Then they hit the ‘big’ time, signed to WEA and were given the SAW treatment.”
“Also does ‘on a major label’ equal bad? ‘I’m sure we’ve all got favourite artists who are on majors. I do like to support indies, but I’m sure you get my point. Also ‘produced by Stock Aitken and Waterman’ does not equal bad either. Those of you who have read the Timelords’ Manual will know Bill n’ Jimmy have a deal of respect for SAW, and they’ve produced enough quite excellent pop records to be always worth a listen in my book.”
“Their near hit LP I have to confess I’ve only heard at a party and I was almost quite impressed. I thought I’d just get a few singles by them rather than buy the LP. I would describe their later sound as being quite poppy but with a harder edge. Although totally different musically in some ways they did remind me of Frankie Goes to Hollywood in terms of the interestingness of the production. As a rule bands that SAW produced who were not totally part of the SAW Hit Factory (i.e. SAW did not write their songs) are usually worth a listen.” The author of the FAQ can’t comment on this one as he’s never heard them, and he’s relying on other’s testimonies by the way.
Some more: “I finally found Brilliant’s ‘Kiss The Lips Of Life’. Backing vocals are contributed by, amongst others, Princess and Pepsi & Shirley. That shouldn’t come as a surprise since the album is produced by Stock Aitken & Waterman (except for one instrumental, “Crash The Car”, which Brilliant produced). Not totally typical S.A.W. – those guys only helped co-write 2 of the album’s 9 songs. They cover James Brown’s ‘It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World’, and ‘The End Of The World’, not very impressively on the latter. Two almost-catchy songs, ‘Love Is War’ and ‘Somebody’, are the highlights of the album. Cauty helped co-write the 7 original tunes.’
“Since I like S.A.W. and The KLF in all their incarnations I thought I’d like this album. Not particularly… it was done before S.A.W. found the one beat that they used in 739 Top 40 songs for Jason and Kylie, and just sounds like some poorly constructed cheesy pop. I only paid $5 for it, so I’m happy, but if you have to pay much more I’d pass.”
“Quite a few singles were lifted from that album, I have some details somewhere. It was this musical project that caused Jimmy to first meet up with Bill: Drummond was working for WEA at the time, and they put up the money for this material to be recorded etc., since it was being released on a WEA subsidiary, Food Records, run by David Balfe. The project failed: Brilliant never became the megastars they were supposed to become, and the money went towards the setting up of Pete Waterman Limited. So, you *could* say, with a touch of cynicism, that it is Bill who is responsible for all those Stock, Aitken and Waterman tunes you ever hated… ;-).”
The One World Orchestra track, entitled “The Magnificent”, is a short but spicy drum’n’bass reworking of the orchestral theme from the film ‘The Magnificent Seven’, with samples from a Serb radio station. It is track number 15 on the CD.
Mark Hawker, K-F friend and operative made a film called “Zombie Town” about underground culture in Belgrade, which was first shown on Channel 4 in 1995 and again in July 1996. A lot of the film centres around Beograd 92, the Serb radio station and the “humans against killing…that’s like junkies against dope” and “Radio B92” samples comes from Fleka, the blind DJ on B92. Bill and Jimmy wanted to get Robbie, who’d just split from Take That, on the record but he was on holiday with his mum.
In the months following the album, Bill tried to deny responsibility for the track, but this contrasts with earlier interviews where he talked about how and why they made it. In a Radio 1 interview Jimmy said “It’s a novelty record. which is something we’re good at.”. It is possible that the OWO recorded more tracks. The thinking behind the name One World Orchestra in unknown.
Bill Drummond’s 1986 solo LP on Creation records is a mixed bag of country-rock tunes, awful singing, up tempo instrumentals, a couple of good pop songs, the ‘particularly funny’ old English ballad type ‘Julian Cope Is Dead’, and a Scottish Nationalist poem ‘Such A Parcel Of Rogues In A Nation’ read by his father, the Reverend Jack Drummond. It features most of Australian rock band ‘The Triffids’ as his backing band, along with Kyiem Lui, Graham Lee, Nick Coler and the ‘Voice Of The Beehive’ girls on backing vocals. Its probably not worth spending a lot of money on if you only like dance music, try looking out for it in used record bins or remaindered records shops.
Here’s some reviews by list members:
It’s almost comical, actually. Bill strums his guitar and sings country & western ballads in a thick Scottish accent. It’s not remarkable except for its collectible value as a KLF member’s solo record.
It’s a country album, with lots of steel guitars. The song ‘Julian Cope is dead’ is particularly funny, the only non-non-country track on the album; it’s a traditional English middle-ages ballad. The song about Ian McCulloch is called ‘Ballad for a sex god’, but I have no idea about the lyrics, since he sings with a very thick accent. The record is of course a must for any KLF-collector.
I think that you are wrong. I admit I have only heard one song off the album (‘The King Of Joy’), but that was definitely NOT a country & western ballad. It is one of the best pop songs I have heard in a long time. If you don’t like the songs, then buy it because it is fun to listen to all the allusions Bill pops in about his career and his exploits.