The most frequently asked questions regarding The KLF. This is where you should start reading about the work of Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty to explore the History of the JAMS.
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.
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.
Differences between international releases. the recording of Chill Out and the other sound of Mu, covering the early Brilliant releases as well as the K Foundation and the One World Orchestra.
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 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.
“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!
Bootlegs of rare KLF releases have been released aplenty over the time. While some of them can be easily spotted, others are hard to distinguish from the original issues.
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.
We know of at least two different bootlegs of the Space LP.
The first version, released in 1995, is only distinguishable upon closer inspection. Some of the elements on the back cover look like they have been cut out from the original artwork, then pasted onto a black background.
The second version is actually easier to tell apart from the original due to its stamped runout groove and the omission of the barcode on the back cover.
There are two different CD bootlegs as well. The manufacturers tried to duplicate the Space CD identically, and apart from a slightly botched print job almost managed. Both versions are easily recognisable though, for a large black area after the phonograph right and copyright symbols and before the words “MADE IN ENGLAND”, whereas the original KLF Communications release says “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. Reportedly Bill and Jimmy called the pressing plant asking them not to press ‘Love Trance’ but they had already begun, hence the few copies pressed with labels and sleeves in existence.
There are various details that points towards it being taken from an original run of pressings supporting these reports. 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.
Apart from these accidental original pressings a large batch of bootlegs surfaced in the early 2000’s, though most of them without proper labels.
The track itself features some vocal samples that were used on ‘Space’ as well (“Penetration: seven minutes…”).
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.
One might argue that ‘Love Trance’ does not really sound like any other KLF record, nor do parts of it resurface on later tracks. 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 is that ‘Love Trance’ is indeed an unreleased KLF track, a theory which is supported by a tweet by Jimmy, as well as another track salvaged from a couple of DATs Jimmy had thrown away, displaying some similiarities to the ‘original’ version. This is most probably the most obscure KLF release around, so 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?
Some of the more rare and obscure tracks and projects can be hard to track down, so these should give you an idea of what to expect.
What does [...] sound like?
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… ;-).”
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Other Creative Exploits
The never ending list of things, events and projects from, around, before and after The KLF – from the never finished White Room Motion Picture to the infamous burning of a million pounds on the Isle of Jura.
Other Creative Exploits
Yes, when he was seventeen in the early seventies. It’s rather well-done in a stylistic, gothic-y-looking way. “It’s quite funny actually – the border is made up of Orcs climbing on top of each other up the sides, and crawling along the top and bottom. For the Tolkienesque out there, it features Gandalf with the Red Ring shining and Glamdring to hip, with Samwise and Frodo hobbits, and also three portraits of Legolas the Elf, Gimli the Dwarf and Gollum the gollum.” When Pete Robinson asked Cauty about it, he mentioned that ‘it was mainly student nurses who bought it’. It is signed J. Cauty at the bottom. This is one of Athena’s best-selling posters, and rumour has it that they came to pick it up in a helicopter. The publishing information from the back of the poster:
2931 Lord of the Rings/ Artist: J.Cauty. illustration based on the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R.Tolkien (c) George Allen & UNWIN (PUBLISHERS) LTD. 1954, 1966 (c) 1988 Wizard & Genius-Idealdecor 8618 OETWIL AM SEE/ZURICH Switzerland.
(this information is taken from the old FAQ – note that the original poster says (c) 1976 – Ed.)
Interestingly, the Walt Disney company used an image for one of their own comic books about Donald Duck experiencing the LOTR story, which is highly inspired by Jimmy’s poster.
For more details and a high quality scan see Athena Posters.
Yet another KLF project that didn’t quite get off the ground. It was envisaged as a 10×2000 series of limited edition 12″ singles, released weekly in September-December 1988. The original schedule included the following releases:
KLF 004T/R: What Time Is Love? (17th/24th October 1988)
KLF 005T/R: 3 a.m. Eternal (31st October/7th November 1988)
KLF 006T/R: Love Trance (14th/21st November 1988)
KLF 007T/R: Turn Up The Strobe (28th October/5th December 1988)
It is not entirely clear which of the many scheduled but non-released singles was intended to be KLF 008, as there are two singles that were announced and for which sleeves and labels were printed:
KLF 008T/R: E-Train To Trancentral/The White Room (12th/possibly 19th December 1988)
KLF 008T/R: The Lovers Side/Go To Sleep (12th/19th December 1988)
All the labels and sleeves were printed up as a batch lot to save money (and still survive – they can be seen in Pete Robinson’s ‘Justified And Ancient History’, and some record dealers try to sell them for 25 pounds a time! Mad!) even though some of the tracks were unfinished.
In the end a combination of location filming in Spain for the White Room motion picture taking precedence, and a complete lack of interest from the British public, lead to the series being cancelled, although the first 4 of the 12″ singles were eventually released (unknown whether they contained the same tracks as first realised) and most of the tracks re-appeared as radio edits on the unreleased White Room soundtrack LP. The discography holds full detail about all the (some only scheduled) releases.
However in January 1990, ‘Last Train to Trancentral’ was released with the cat no. KLF 008R, first as a white label, then 2000 standard releases (of which 1000 were warped and not released). It is possible that this is the re-named remix of the original E-Train To Trancentral, but no-one knows. Another interesting note regarding KLF008R is that the label’s “Other Data” is “Go to Sleep”, not “Welcome to the Trance” as on all the other pure trance 12″s.
Many copies of KLF 008R have a sleeve similar to KLF005T (pink on black) but the pink is a more fleshy colour than on Pure Trance 2. All sleeve fronts also featured the name of the track, “THE KLF”, a small pyramid blaster in a circle and “PURE TRANCE” in the colour of the number.
It is not sure whether or not Love Trance and Turn Up The Strobe have been recorded (although there is a possible bootleg release that claims to be Love Trance; please see the bootleg section for more details), but some of Go To Sleep is on the White Room film soundtrack and it features on the bootleg demos. The chorus of Go To Sleep is also sampled on the 808Bass mix of LTTT, and parts of it also appear on the Moody Boys remix of What Time Is Love?.
According to Pete Robinsons Justified And Ancient History, there were plans to remix the above as an album called “Pure Trance”, and then further as “Live At Trancentral”, as well as having them on the White Room soundtrack. As is usual with most KLF plans, it didn’t happen.
The Partnership of “Rockman and Lx” was producing great results, not only with their own work, but elsewhere – the ´Blue Danube Orbital mix´ of the KLF´s 3 a.m. Eternal and the promo-only remixes of ´Money´ by Fischerman´s Friends, for example. But, according to Alex, some of those mixes came out in Germany credited as KLF remixes. That was done by another company which neither of us had any control over, and we didnt see the cover artwork until it was too late. I went mad, Jimmy went mad, Bill went mad – what was the KLF doing with the Orb? This type of music was meant to be Orb stuff.
It led to a lot of confusion, though the only real confusion is knowing who were the members of the Orb at the time the record was released. In fact it was a row over this very question, of linking the KLF with the Orb, that fractured the original Patterson/Cauty pairing. Alex Patterson remembers that “the Sun Electric project (Olocco) was recorded at Trancentral, and Jimmy didnt want to be known on the record as Jimmy Cauty so we called him Gavin Cauty. That was how ridiculous the whole scenario was becoming.”
Consequently, details of the Orb’s activities around this time are a little sketchy. But we do know that an Orb album was recorded by Alex and Jimmy early in 1990, and that Alex departed in April 1990, taking the group name with him. “Space” was then released on KLF Communications, attributed simply to Space, and with only Jimmy credited by name. The split was decided acrimonious. Jimmy and Bill were keen that the Orb should join them on KLF Communications, but Alex felt that it was unfair, as “I felt the Orb was myself, with Jimmy working with me”. Jimmy already had the KLF and it appeared that that he wanted the Orb as well (Alex is at pains to stress that the argument is long forgotten, as he and Jimmy have since completely made up.)
The official KLF press release accompanying “Space” claimed that it was originally intended as the Orb’s debut album, but was now simply Jimmy’s own creation, as he’d removed all of Alexs contributions. Alex accepts this: “Space was done solely by Jimmy. At the end of the day, he took out all of my ideas and replaced them, or just left them as empty spaces. Alex has got the original version of Space, but as far as he is concerned, theres no need for that to ever see the light of day. Others claimed that there has nothing been removed and that Alex simply isn’t credited at all.
Apparently the KLF disliked the constant attention they got from the dance and pop music worlds: in the form of requests for PA’s, remixes etc., and the constant questions they got asked. Indeed they even refer to the ‘four handmaidens of evil: WHO WHAT WHERE and WHY’. So as Drummond states in info sheet 13 they decided to hold the Rites of Mu to make “the questions we get asked and are unable to answer” redundant. Of course other reasons for the Rites are more probable: they wanted to hold a good party, they would get a lot of press coverage, and it would increase their enigma. Whatever the reason then, for the 1991 Summer Solstice, The KLF entertained a selection of music industry figures, journalists, etc. on Isle Of Jura in an event known as the Rites of Mu.
The invitation said ‘The KLF require your presence. You’ll be transported to the lost continent Mu. Bring your passports’. Each guest was given a copy of the following statement as they travelled to Jura, by train, plane, car, bus, and boat on Friday 21st June:
‘THE RITES OF MU.
‘SINCE THAT FATEFUL DAY WHEN MAN LEFT BY THE EASTERN GATE, FRUIT STILL FRESH IN HIS BELLY, THOSE FOUR BEAUTIFUL HANDMAIDENS OF LUCIFER _WHY_, _WHAT_, _WHERE_ AND _WHEN_ HAVE LONG TEMPTED BUT NEVER QUENCHED HIS DISASTROUS THIRST FOR KNOWLEDGE. THE KLF HAVE INVITED YOU TO JOIN THEM IN CELEBRATING THE RITES OF MU THIS SUMMER SOLSTICE, DURING WHICH THE FALL OF MANKIND MAY BE REVERSED, RETURNING HIM TO THE GARDEN WHERE THE REST OF CREATION WAITS.
‘THE MOST BEAUTIFUL, YET MOST EVIL, OF THE FOUR HANDMAIDENS IS_WHY_. SHE EVEN NOW MAY BE TEMPTING YOU TO ASK QUESTIONS, WHEN ANSWERS ARE NOT ONLY NOT NEEDED BUT COULD NEVER BE GIVEN. SINCE CELEBRATING THE RITES OF MU FOUR SEASONS PAST, THE KLF’S MOMENT HAS COME; SHIMMERING AND DAZZLING LIKE THE HAUNTING BEAUTY OF AURORA’S RACE, IT IS DESTINED ONLY TO FADE. WHILE THE MOMENT LASTS THEIR STADIUM HOUSE TRILOGY REVERBERATES AROUND THE GLOBE, THE REQUESTS FOR LIVE SHOWS, INTERVIEWS, TV APPEARANCES, REMIXES, PROMOTIONAL TOURS AND COMMERCIAL ENDORSEMENTS HAVE SPEWED FORTH RELENTLESSLY FROM THEIR FAX MACHINE.
‘_WHY_, _WHAT_, _WHERE_ AND _WHEN_ HAVE BEEN VERY BUSY; THEIR SEDUCTION TECHNIQUES NEAR-PERFECT. THE KLF, WITH REGULAR FEET OF CLAY, HAVE WEAKENED AT TIMES AND HAVE PRETNEDED TO ANSWER THE UNANSWERABLE. THEY TOO HAVE TRIED TO UNDERSTAND INSTEAD OF ACCEPTING THE UNFOCUSABLE, BEAUTIFUL TRUTH OF THE MYSTERY THAT LIES AT THE HEART OF POP’S PASSING MOMENTS.
‘AS WELL AS ASKING YOU TO ACCEPT THE CONTRADICTIONS OF THE ABOVE WE HOPE THAT YOU WILL GIVE YOURSELF FULLY TO THESE THREE DAYS, ACCEPTING WHATEVER THE ELEMENTS TIP OUR WAY; WHATEVER MILD PHYSICAL STRAINS MAY BE PLACED UPON OUR BODIES AND SAVOUR THE UNDERVALUED QUALITIES OF WAITING, AND MAYBE AFTER IT IS ALL OVER WE WILL UNDERSTAND THAT THERE IS FAR LESS TO UNDERSTAND THAN WE EVER KNEW.’
The guests were welcomed from the ferry by Mu passport control officer Drummond in peaked cap and shades, who checked their passports and stamped them with a pyramid blaster stamp. They then allowed themselves to be dressed in yellow ceremonial robes, and led in a chanting procession by a white robed high priest of Mu with Horned God headpiece, over the moors to a bonfire beside a huge (20m?) wicker man, arms raised with weapons poised, head looking up to the sky. The four angels of Mu, in white dresses, with flower head-bands, rose from the sea, and joined the celebrants. The high priest addressed the crowd in ‘a tongue that no longer exists, at least not in this world’. What did the KLF have in store, or was it the Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu controlling the KLF? As the ceremony reached its climax at midnight on the longest day, it was still light. The priest encouraged the guests to direct their psychic energy towards the wicker man, chanting ‘Burn Burn Burn’ and the idol burst into flames with many explosions!!! What lay ahead was ‘enlightenment … or madness’. After the ceremony was over the guests were treated to a huge party. The next day is unrecorded but judging by the statement it involved savouring the undervalued qualities of waiting. However they spent the time, by Sunday 23rd of June, the KLF had transported the guests to the Liverpool Festival of Comedy, where, hooded, they joined them on stage for an accapella rendition of Justified And Ancient as Bill and Jimmy handed out ice creams from an ice-cream van which they had borrowed. The total cost of the weekend was supposed to be around 70,000 ukpounds. But for what?
The event was filmed by Bill Butt, as were all the KLF’s public appearances, and edited for promotional use only. A Promo video of 5×2 min episodes was circulated in July 91. The soundtrack music is largely dark, sinister, and evil, often punctuated by sudden outbursts of the industrial ‘woooooo!’ sound from ‘It’s Grim Up North’. A narration by Scott Piering (their record plugger) proved that he couldn’t act. Each episode begins with the closing scene of the previous.
Part I – The Bonker (the passports to sunset)
Part II – The Construction (sunset to procession)
Part III – The Initiation (procession to angels of Mu)
Part IV – The Offering (angels to high priest chanting)
Part V – The Burning (high priest to burning)
By sacrificing the wicker idol, somehow the KLF have reversed the fall of mankind! The film ends intriguingly with ‘America 1992 – the celebration continues’. Did they intend to have a Rites Of Mu in the US in 1992? Or is this just a reference to the America promotional campaign.
A new 1×7 min version appeared on ‘The Work’ promo video at the end of 1991, with the opening credits removed from each episode. There were rumours that it was to be screened on Channel 4 in the UK, or on MTV Europe, at some point that winter, but it wasn’t screened until after the retiral, on the shortest day 1992, on MTV Europe, with a re-recorded soundtrack and new narration as the 1×7 min version. On the 26th of August 94 another (new?) version was shown at the NME film season in a triple bill with the Beatles ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ and Echo and the Bunnymen’s ‘Shine So Hard’ perhaps this version makes more of the mystery tour aspect. It also features as a bonus track on the ‘Work’ DVD.
It’s a 50 minute ambient road movie with footage of Drummond and Cauty setting off from Trancentral on a quest to find the White Room, driving through London and Spain, to a soundtrack of pop-trance. It has been shown in public only once.
As mentioned before, the KLF received weird mail from Illuminatus! fans after calling themselves the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu. Much of the mail was from obvious cranks and crackpots, but then in mid 1988, they received a very weird letter: a legal contract. The contract was with an organisation or individual calling themselves “Eternity”. The wording of this contract was that of standard music business legal speak, but the terms discussed and the rights required and granted were of a far stranger kind. Whether The Contract was a very clever and intricate prank by a legal minded JAMS fan was of little concern to Drummond and Cauty. For them it was as good a marker as anything as to what direction their free style career should take next.
Their solicitor (David Franks, played by himself in the film) advised that they should not put their names to legally binding agreements without first understanding all of the implications of doing so. He advised them not to sign the Contract. The KLF of course ignored him and signed the contract.
In the first term of The Contract they, Drummond and Cauty, were required to make an artistic representation of themselves on a journey to a place called THE WHITE ROOM. The medium they chose to make this representation was up to them. Where or what THE WHITE ROOM was, was never clearly defined. Interpretation was left to their own creativity. The remuneration they are to receive on completion of this work of art was supposed to be access to THE “real” WHITE ROOM. Your guess is as good as anybody’s. Initially Drummond and Cauty planned to stage a art exhibition where the journey and arrival at THE WHITE ROOM would be represented on canvas and exhibited; but driving down the Marylebone Road on a wet September afternoon in 1988 in their infamous U.S. Cop car, Cauty suggested, instead of doing the art exhibition they should make a film. The making of a “Road Movie” had always figured in their vague plans for the future. With money coming in from all over the place for their Timelords record maybe now was the time. Or at least they thought so.
They contacted their friend and associate, the film director, Bill Butt and made plans. Six weeks later they were filming in the Sierra Nevada region of Spain, with a top class international crew (who had just finished working on an Indiana Jones film). But things started to go wrong immediately. The weather, guaranteed to be blue skies of epic proportions until well after Christmas, was low and drizzly. Some business deals crashed, losing the money that was earmarked to complete the film. When they viewed all of the uncut rushes that had been shot, they knew that they had just thrown away the best part of 250,000 ukpounds: Most of the footage was out-of-focus, or badly filmed. Of course if you talk to anybody who tries to make a film they will tell you of the catalogue of disasters that came between them and their reported triumphant premier. Drummond and Cauty had no experience of this. They just felt that the Gods were against them and got seriously depressed. They had meetings with their accountants to assess what the damage would be if they were to cut their losses and pull out then. Bill Butt persuaded them to see it through.
By February 1989 when they had enough funds together for them to shoot the interior scenes and the London location shots, David Franks had become steadily more intrigued by all the implications of the various clauses of The Contract. Although The Contract was between The JAMS and Eternity, Eternity gave no address, Eternity left no room for negotiation. [Note in ‘Justified and Ancient’: “At 3am Eternity rang, said she knew What Time Is Love?”]. David Franks believed he had found a get out clause. Something that Drummond and Cauty would later call the LIBERATION LOOPHOLE. It was decided by Bill Butt and the other two that the signing of the contract and Franks’ discovery of the LIBERATION LOOPHOLE should be dramatically reconstructed, filmed and respectively used at the beginning and the end of the film.
The rest of the film was then shot, Drummond and Cauty recorded the soundtrack. Bill Butt and editor Rob Wright edited the film. It was only 52 minutes’ long but it was BIG SCREEN and looked good. They planned either a proper cinema release or a club tour, with the KLF playing the soundtrack live for the second half of 1989. The White Room soundtrack LP was to be preceded by the release of ‘Kylie Said To Jason’, the video for which included scenes from the film. Additionally many of the scenes were included in a short promo for the film, with a soundtrack of Madrugana Eterna (club mix), which was shown on TV. Drummond and Cauty are shown leaving Trancentral, and driving through London, then driving through mainly desert country. Some memorable scenes include the JAMs-mobile covered in white dustwash, with the windscreen wipers clearing a space, Drummond combing his hair before sauntering down the road as if he was a traffic cop, and the dead eagle scene: Drummond had come across a beautiful but decomposing eagle at the side of the road, which nobody else would go near, as it stank. Drummond insisted on being filmed with it as he strode down a one track rail line, the significance of this at the time could not be argued. Finally the wheels of the JAMs-mobile stop in a snow drift, and the KLF climb upwards through the snow towards a huge radar dish, wherein they find the White Room.
‘Kylie Said To Jason’ was planned to be a big pop hit to promote the LP. It wasn’t. The release of the LP was pulled. The What Time Is Love Story LP became JAMS LP 4 instead. A video for the pure trance ‘What Time Is Love?’ is sometimes shown on MTV. It consists of unedited footage from Sierra Nevada. Two shots of sheep in a field bookended a 3 minute shot of the JAMs-mobile gradually driving a couple of miles towards the camera across a barren plain. It’s extremely tedious, and getting MTV to show this can be viewed as a prank, despite the fact they often do! A slightly different version is also available on a compilation tape of Indie promos, but it is VERY rare.
A combination of worries about the dramatic qualities of the film, and lack of commercial success caused huge doubts in Drummond and Cauty’s minds. However the rapidly emerging rave and club success of their pure trance songs took their minds off the doubts. They played their premier live performance at the London Club HEAVEN on Monday the 31st of July. Later that evening they met a young down and out, claiming to be called Mickey McElwee. For the price of a meal he told them the most shit scary story the both of them had ever heard. Later they related the story to Bill Butt. It was agreed that it could make the basis of a plot for the film.
The finished film “should” contain both an Inner and Outer film. The Inner film is the original one shot in late 1988 and early 1989. The Outer film contains the dramatically reconstructed events that according to Mickey McElwee, took place, unbeknown to Drummond and Cauty while The Inner film was being shot. There will also be, what we will call, a Third Strand which will consist of scenes plotting the tensions and predicaments that Drummond, Cauty and Butt experienced while attempting to make The Inner film. All three plots will intertwine with each other telling the one simple story. The story of Men out of their Depth. In The Inner film Drummond and Cauty play their alter egos KINGBOY D and ROCKMAN ROCK. In the outer film they play themselves. Bill Butt reckoned it would cost a further $1,000,000 to finish the film. They showed the Inner film to German investors and some sheep in Munich, (its one and only showing!), to try and persuade them to finance the film’s completion. It appears they never raised the cash as the script was too weird. But when their pop career took off and they did make some money, it seems as though they dropped their plans to finish the film.
A complete script is available in the ftp archive, containing the Outer, Inner and Third strands, as well as sets/locations/stage directions and lots of other really interesting info.
An advert appeared in the NME in 1994, claiming to be copies of the whole film, but investigation has revealed this only to be the inner film. Thus several bootlegged copies and a DVD of the inner film are around, and available from generous list members. The quality of all known copies is pretty good, considering they’re 4th or 5th generation. Sound and visuals are quite clear and noise and interference don’t detract from the film’s content too much. There is no dialogue in this Inner Film, only the music. It is possible to hear much of the original White Room soundtrack, for example the original “Build a Fire” and “Go to Sleep”. It is not known what happened to the original film.
The whole story is better told in the NME article ‘The KLF vs. The BRITs’ which is available in the Articles section. Some more theories are expressed in the Select article ‘Who Killed the KLF?’ which is also there.
The story perhaps begins the previous year when the KLF were invited to perform at a concert celebrating new British music which was to be filmed to show as clips during the ’91 BRITs. The KLF’s suggestions for the nature of their performance were so outrageous (involving live elephant sacrifices), that the invitation was cancelled. Then at the end of ’91 they were approached to appear on the Christmas edition of Top of the Pops; they planned to perform the thrash-metal version of ‘3 a.m. Eternal’ with Extreme Noise Terror. The BBC however refused, and they performed a straight version of Justified and Ancient. So you’d think that the organisers of the annual music industry back-slapping self-congratulatory show, would have been tipped off that the KLF would try to do something shocking. “It had to be done,” said Drummond, his tone as always, somewhere between deadly earnest and total mischief. It soon becomes obvious that there’s a devil stuck in this man. “You only get so many opportunities… When they asked us to do it, we wondered if the BRITs people had done their research…”
Somehow the KLF persuaded the organisers to let them perform with Extreme Noise Terror, and they began to plan their performance. “The plans kept changing. They varied from me going onstage and literally cutting my age, Manics style into my chest with a knife, to me snogging Jimmy onstage, to Jimmy simulating sex with his girlfriend. Then we were going to cut up a dead sheep on stage and throw blood over the front rows of the audience. The idea was that two thirds of the way through the song this altar would appear with the sheep on… we’d bought the meat cleavers, the knives, the tablecloth, got everything.” Drummond explains how such ideas come to them: “we don’t always think things through beforehand…we just do them. Jimmy really had me going, he suggested that I use the cleaver to cut my own hand off!”
On the morning of the show (12th February ’92) Drummond drove to an abattoir in Northampton and bought a whole dead sheep and eight gallons of blood. Rumours began to circulate of the plan, and first the BBC lawyers and then hardcore vegetarians Extreme Noise Terror made it blatantly known that they were totally against the idea.” So the sheep plan was scrapped, and instead *just* the thrash performance, and Bill spraying the audience with blanks from a machine gun took place. There’s no doubt however that this performance did annoy, shock and disgust many of the ‘pigtails in suits’ present in the audience and presumably many of the live TV audience in their living rooms. Trevor Horn (producer of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “Relax”) seemed to be in a state of shock. “They were horrible! Shooting with machine guns! Disgraceful!”. Eminent Hungarian classical composer Sir George Solti tried to leave the auditorium during the performance and had to be persuaded to return to his seat.
As Scott Piering’s voice announced “The KLF have now left the music business” the two bands hurried off the stage and straight into their van and back to Trancentral. Later in the show The KLF (jointly with Simply Red) were awarded the title Best British Band. Since they had now left the building they sent along sidekick Hector, resplendent in motor cycle messenger gear, to pick up the statuette. Having been told there was no way he was being allowed access, Hector dashed onstage, grabbed the trophy from startled Martika and escaped into the labyrinth of corridors behind the glittering stage. This of course was cut from the TV coverage. Later, he was cornered by security, who wrestled ‘the BRIT’ back off him.
Back at Trancentral Jimi and Bill decided to do… more… stuff… They left Trancentral “on a mission”. Over at the posh Lancaster Gate hotel where the post-BRITS party is being held, blue and yellow flashing lights are splitting the darkness. A police car prowls around as a rubbish lorry disposes of the carcass of a dead sheep which has been left on the forecourt. Around it is tied a sign; ‘I DIED FOR YOU – BON APPETIT’. Bill explains why they did it: “There was a lot of symbolism about the sheep thing. It said to those people at the BRITs, ‘If you can’t take the contradictions and the shit within pop music, tough; you’re all willing to go into this big hotel and eat whatever but you don’t wanna look at a dead sheep’. I was brought up in the country and I’ve seen dead bodies and dead animals and I worked on a trawler and saw millions of dead fish. Anyway, the next plan was to take the sheep down to the hotel and leave it there on the stairs, dead, and pour the eight gallons of blood over the entrance. They might’ve been able to ignore the sheep, but wading through blood? That’s symbolic too. It’s like the industry wants your blood. And then, when you’ve given them everything, they want to make you a part of the ‘rich tapestry of rock’. When you’re dead, when you’re gone, it’s all nice, all Sid? Wasn’t he great!?”
It does seem that the KLF somehow wanted to purge themselves of the music industry. The fact that they wanted to ritually disembowel a sheep which are deeply embedded in the KLF mythology was perhaps “a bit like suicide”. It seems that they wanted to do something so deliberately offensive that their careers would have been ruined. Drummond said “there’s a twisted part to Jimmy and me that wants to be hated. Really hated…” This was probably the first KLF action that would’ve really alienated tons of people who normally applaud their every move. Right thinking people probably view the use of animals for some madcap pop/art caper as disgusting. Drummond explained “we’d gone through agonies about this, spent sleepless nights knowing that it was a terrible thing to do. But the sheep didn’t die just for us. It was going to die anyway.” Then he admits that his wife was “horrified… disgusted, completely disgusted. But y’know, we just can’t be the safe little pop group.”
Next morning, the backlash began. From the KLF’s point of view, they had subverted and disrupted the BRITs and made some sort of point. The editorial in dusty trade mag Music Week was appalled. The tabloid coverage was ridiculous in its inaccuracy and down-right lies. Note the following two stories needed multiple writers:
“The KLF almost brought chaos to the awards by firing a machine-gun into the celebrity- packed crowd. Frightened members of the audience were calmed after organisers said the gun, carried by band leader Bill Drummond, was loaded only with blanks. Then the band were barred from collecting their award. The group ordered a courier company to collect their trophy as a joke. But the organisers of the glitzy show, which went out on TV last night, refused to allow the leather-clad biker into the Odeon. The group’s Press officer said after the show: ‘It looks like their joke backfired.'” -Linda Duff/Julia Kuttner from ‘The Daily Star’ 13th February ’92
“KLF’s SICK GUN STUNT FAILS TO HIT THE TARGET
The KLF proved to be pop’s biggest wallies by “firing” a realistic machine gun at the star-studded audience. Singer Bill Drummond left the stage as the band performed their No 1 hit 3am Eternal. Drummond, 36, who was using a crutch after damaging his knee in a fall, then reappeared and pointed the gun at the crowd. But his antics were met with apathy by guests who carried on chatting. KLF did manage to cause a stir eventually by trashing their instruments at the end of their song. They hurled guitars across the stage, smashed microphone stands against scenery and threw buckets. Sadly, they won best group award jointly with Simply Red.” -Piers Morgan/Peter Willis/Dan Collins from ‘The Sun’
One does wonder why these so-called newspapers bother to distort reality to make the KLF look bad.
The morning after the BRITs Drummond was driving to the studio for Black Room sessions: “I’ve still got eight gallons of blood in the back of the van. Simon Bates is on the radio, giving out the ‘truth’ about the awards. He’s saying how he and his producer foiled the dastardly KLF plot to throw fake blood on the audience. And I’m thinking ‘Oh Simon is that the ‘truth’?’. I’m driving along with eight gallons of real blood not fake, in the van. Maybe I’ll go over to Radio 1 right now and dump it on him… But I haven’t got the guts.”
But in the end the KLF’s art-terrorist outrages didn’t really have the desired affect. The music industry’s reaction was more apathy than horror. Or it became part of the KLF’s ‘scam’ mythology. As the NME said: “He does seem to have himself nicely skewered on the horns of an almighty dilemma. He has taken over pop music and it has been a piece of piss to do so. And he hates that. He wants to be separate from a music industry that clasps him ever closer to its bosom. He loves being in the very belly of the beast, yet he wishes he was something that’d cause it to throw up too. He wants not only to bite the hand that feeds but to shove it into an industrial mincer and stomp the resultant pulp into the dirt, yet pop, as long as you continue to make it money, would let you sexually abuse its grandmother.” After the BRITs there was only one way out. To really leave the music industry.
The BRIT award statuette was later unearthed in a field near Stonehenge by a local farmer. From Q Magazine: “The yeoperson’s shovel-wielding presence remains as unexplained as The KLF’s wish to bury it there in the first place.” Jimmy has been vague when questioned on this.
In June 1993 an organisation called the K-Foundation began taking out full page mainstream national press ad’s. At first they were full of Drummond-esques about time running in, and “Kick out the Klocks”, and five year journeys which included pop success and deep space travel. A ‘further information address’ was included. Then a fourth ad appeared, on August 14th, reading: “ABANDON ALL ART NOW. Major rethink in progress. Await further announcements.” The next ad (28th Aug) read: “It has come to our attention that you did not abandon all art now. Further direct action is thus necessary. The K Foundation announce the ‘mutha of all awards’, the 1994 K Foundation award for the worst artist of the year’. It then went on to detail how a shortlist of four artists had been chosen, and that they would be exhibited in the Tate Gallery. The first newspaper piece about the K-F appeared the following Monday, correctly pointing out that the shortlist of named artists and the exhibition were actually both for the 1993 Turner Prize, the controversial annual award given by the UK art establishment to the best young modern artist, which came with a prize of 20000 pounds, but incorrectly assuming that the K-F prize was a hoax. Note the date that the award was to be announced – 23rd November, and note the fact that it is the 1994 K-F award as opposed to the 1993 Turner award. Obviously this signifies that the K-F are more forward-looking than the Turner, but also try adding 1+9+9+4 together. If you think I’m being pedantic, adding the individual numbers in years together is a standard Discordian thing to do. My [Stuart] theory is that Bill and Jimi were happy with their deliberately weird ads, when they heard that the Turner would be announced on the 23rd of November, decided that that was an opportunity too good to miss, cancelled their previous plans and never sent out any of the further information packs. Bill says he still has all the SAEs which they received, and they may be replied to at some time in the future.
The next ad invited the general public to vote for the worst artist, either by going to the exhibition and using their critical faculties or by letting their inherent prejudices come to the fore. The final ad summarised the whole campaign, asked some questions back to the people that had written to them, and explained that the winner of the K-F award would be announced in a TV advert during the live Turner prize coverage on Channel 4. All the press ad’s are available in the ftp archive, as are loads of newspaper and magazine articles about the events of the 23rd of November.
Briefly however: Rachel Whiteread was contacted by the K-Foundation and informed that she had won the 40000 pound prize. She refused to allow her name to be used in the TV advert. 25 witnesses (art critics, journalists, music industry figures, artists etc., there were 15 more people present: I presume they were photographers and video crews) were invited to participate and driven in a convoy of white limos (lead by a gold limo) to a service station where they were handed a press release and 1650 pounds in crisp new 50 pound notes. The accompanying press release stated that 25 x 1600 collectively made up the 40000 K-Foundation prize, and that the extra 50 was for the witness to verify its authenticity by spending it. The witnesses were dressed in fluorescent orange hard hats and safety jackets, and large quantities of champagne were drunk.
Eventually the convoy reached a field patrolled by two orange-painted K-F Saracen armoured cars, driven by Drummond and Cauty, broadcasting ‘K Sera Sera’ and Abba’s ‘Money Money Money’. Silver bearded Mr Ball, the compere with a megaphone directed the witnesses to nail their wad of money to a board inside a gilt frame, to assemble the K- F’s prize. Unfortunately some of the witnesses pocketed all or some of their wad, and the prize money was 8600 short, which the K-F had to make up. Mr Ball also directed the witnesses to “view the art”: A Million pounds in 50 pound note wads, nailed to a large framed board. The K-F’s first art work, ‘Nailed To A Wall’.
All the witnesses were visibly impressed by this sight. When an artist complained that it wasn’t a work of art, as it wasn’t signed, Mr Ball deadpanned “I think you’ll find that every note is signed sir”. The witnesses were made to hand over a 10 pound note as payment for an art catalogue. Half of each note was returned to the witness. The reserve price of the works has been set at half the face value of the cash involved. Nailed To The Wall – face value a cool million – is up for sale at 500,000 pounds. The catalogue states: “Over the years the face value will be eroded by inflation, while the artistic value will rise and rise. The precise point at which the artistic value will overtake the face value is unknown. Deconstruct the work now and you double your money. Hang it on a wall and watch the face value erode, the market value fluctuate, and the artistic value soar. The choice is yours.” The point is simple: art as a speculative currency, and vice-versa. To put it more bluntly: Art equals Money, and Money equals Art.
Meanwhile three TV adverts costing exactly 20,000 pounds were being shown on Channel 4 in between the live coverage of the real award ceremony. Since Channel 4 funded the Turner prize, the K-Foundation were in effect paying for both awards. These ad’s explain that the K-F are currently amending the history of art at a secret location. Rachel Whiteread won the Turner prize too, and absolutely no mention of the alternative award was made in the Turner studio discussion, an act of crass cowardice and stupidity by the Channel 4 programme makers which confirmed all the points about the modern art establishment that the K-F were trying to make.
The motorcade left the site of the amending of art-history and headed back to London, where on the steps of the Tate, Rachel Whiteread was due to be handed the prize money. When she refused to accept the money, the K-F explained that it would be burnt. With the crowd of now very drunk witnesses looking on hoping the money would be burnt, a masked K-F operative (Gimpo) fumbled with matches and lighter fluid. At the last moment Rachel Whiteread emerged from the Tate and accepted the money, stating that she would give it as grants to needy artists.
A huge amount of press publicity ensued, with all the major newspapers and press organisations reporting that Whiteread had won both awards. The K-F’s publicist, Mick Houghton, revealed that the voting for the K-F’s award was supposed to produce a tie, to illustrate the hypocrisy of the Turner award committee, but that strangely the result had been a huge margin of victory for Whiteread. He speculated that the few thousand voters had just liked or rather disliked the sound of her name.
In the week that followed the K Foundation returned the million to the Bank of England, but pierced with nail-holes, the money was unusable and the Bank fined the K- Foundation 9000 pounds for damaging money and charged them 500 quid to print a new million!! (if they had burnt the money they would have faced criminal charges!). Very many people quoted in the huge amount of publicity that followed expressed the opinion that the K-F had ‘wasted’ the money by spending it on advertising. Or that the joke was on the K-Foundation as they had lost all this money. Imagine the outrage if they had burnt the money…
In March 1997, Bill explained thusly: “Most of the people who wrote about what we did, and the TV programme that was made about it, made a mistake. I was only able to articulate it to myself afterwards with hindsight they thought we were using our money to make a statement about art, and really what we were doing was using our art to make a statement about money. Having arrived at that formula, I’m probably manipulating everything we did to fit into the theory, but we were just getting up in the morning and getting on the phone with each other and saying, fucking hell! So at some points we thought we were attacking the art establishment then we were saying, no that’s not what this is about.”
Yes. They burnt a million pounds in an abandoned boathouse on Jura, (near the village of Ardfin if you want to make a pilgrimage) in the middle of the night of the 23rd of August 1994. It took just over an hour for Cauty and Drummond to pile the wads onto the flames, while Gimpo filmed it, and freelance journalist Jim Reid witnessed it. The whole story is told by Reid in an article called ‘Money To Burn’ from GQ magazine, available in the ftp archive. Reid admits to feeling at first guilt, then boredom while watching the money burn. In the Omnibus documentary, the K-F’s bank confirmed that a million pounds in cash had been withdrawn (intriguingly, the pictured statement also shows a credit transfer of ukp1,300,000 going into the Foundation’s account just a few days later!!!), and picked up by a private security firm who also confirmed the amount. Some of the notes remained unburned, were washed out to sea when the tide came in, and were later found by a Jura resident on a beach. He handed 1500 pounds into the police who traced the serial numbers and confirmed with Drummond that they were his and that he didn’t want them back. Some ashes (valued in the Omnibus documentary at between ukp 800 to 81,000!) were brought back from Jura, and kept in a suitcase, until Bill and Jimmy asked Chesham brickmaker James Matthews (age 23) to make them into a brick. Bill said the reason for the request would be revealed in 23 years.
The film “Watch the K Foundation Burn a Million Quid” was shown to nearly half the population of Jura on the 23rd of August 1995. Unfortunately it was very badly filmed (on Super 8) and all the dialogue is almost intelligible.
The next question is why on earth did they do it?
For the first six months of 1994 the K-F tried to get their art exhibition (which consisted of over a million pounds in actual bank notes) staged. The most likely gallery was the Tate in Liverpool, where Jayne Casey from Big In Japan now works (shown here with Bill and Jimmy). Unfortunately it didn’t come off so they had to consider other options. They thought about taking the exhibition across Russia by train, but the cost of insuring a million pounds against robbery by the armed gangs that roam across the Steppes, was too high. They decided that the money was a millstone around their necks, that depressed them. They decided they would have to really burn the money.
They couldn’t decide whether to make the burning public or not. They thought of putting a picture of ‘Nailed to the Wall’ with a flame-thrower beside it, on a billboard in London. A week later the picture would have changed to ashes. Eventually Drummond decided that ‘the shock value will spoil it really. Because it doesn’t want to be a shocking thing; it just wants to be a fire’. However they still took a journalist along to witness it. They thought it was important that the public had faith that they did do it, so they (said they had) destroyed the video evidence.
All through their career the concept of burning a million pounds comes up. When they deleted their back catalogue it was described as being the equivalent of burning millions of pounds. They threatened to burn the K-F art award prize money (Gimpo was fumbling with matches and lighter fluid when at the last moment Rachel Whiteread accepted the prize). And in the 7th K-F press advert they stated “What would you do with a million pounds? Burn it?”
Also they had made the decision that the money was not theirs, it was the K-F’s. It had to be used for a K-F project, and couldn’t be given to anyone else. The money burning is in effect a massive, and very expensive, publicity stunt so that Drummond and Cauty can go down in history as the men who burnt a million pounds. It is supposed to make you think about money, and its relationship with art. Really what is the difference between spending money on useless objects or publicity, and making the actual loss of the money the publicity. No one castigates Cher for spending her millions on 12 mansions world-wide and not giving them to charity. Why attack the K-F for spending their million and not giving it to charity. Bill once said in a letter to Nick: “…we could have gone and put the money to some publicly acceptable good use (The starving millions, cancer research, Greenpeace; take your pick), but no, we chose to burn it. Why?… What is the appeal?”
If they have introduced an important debate about the nature of money, art and fame, then the money might have been used wisely. It’s not even true that they are fools who have lost their money, as by having “he burnt a million pounds” on their CV’s they will be interesting to the media for the rest of their lives, and able to make it back easily. Just like the first line in every biography and obituary of Divine was “he once ate dog shit on film” the names of Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty will always be followed by “the men who burnt a million pounds”. Bill also said, in 1996, that someone once told him, (after seeing the video for Earth Song), that the reason the K Foundation burned it is because they knew they would never be as good as Michael Jackson.
In March 1997, after some years consideration, Bill explained: “One night an audience was asked: is there anyone here that would’ve liked to do this or thought about this? And people put up their hands. That became a regular thing and it would be about ten per cent [of the audience], so ten per cent of the population …or ten per cent of the people who came to see this film! [Drummond laughs uproariously] Or maybe they were just trying to endear themselves to us- but it was a real thing. We realised that it wasn’t like we were so different or so special or so far-out or so fucking fucked-up; we just happened to have a million lying around…”
As we all know Bill and Jimmy burnt a million pounds. They gave Gimpo a camcorder to film (in Super 8) the burning as it happened. This resulting film was first transferred to two 8 mm projector film spools with a soundtrack, and first shown to bemused villagers on Jura. The film is in colour, good quality and “quite boring”. Quite literally it is 55 minutes of Bill and Jimmy burning the million pounds, feeding the flames with bundles of 50-pound notes. Jim Reid appears, and occasionally Gimpo is seen, mainly whilst he’s fiddling with the camera.
Later it was edited down in order to fit it onto one spool because “when the first spool ran out everyone thought it was the end and seemed disappointed that they had to sit through even more…” (Gimpo). However, Jimmy claimed that it was because everyone talked through it anyway so they thought they’d have the “audience providing the soundtrack”, but this may be a cover, as according to some reports, the soundtrack tape was ‘lent’ to the BBC for the Omnibus programme and never returned despite Gimpo’s best attempts. It is quite likely they just thought “why bother hooking up the sound?”. Jimi said that the video was to be destroyed two days after the event, because they wanted people to have faith and not have to have proof. But he was obviously lying!
The highlight for most list members is when Gimpo walks outside of the boathouse, and we can see the glowing embers rising out of the chimney, and floating off into the darkness. Somewhere in the film (perhaps its the bit where he goes outside) Gimpo decides to pocket a bundle of notes – a few minutes later he starts to feel guilty and puts the money back. Bill (in a letter to Nick) commented on the problem of the film’s name, against it really being Bill and Jimmy’s money: “Calling the film ‘Watch The K Foundation Burn A Million Quid’ is a creative compromise.”
On the 4th September 1995, and on some further occasions, newspaper adverts appeared advertising the film to local audiences. They announced a showing of the film, to be followed by a debate centring around a question e.g. Why did the K Foundation burn a million quid? Was it Art?, Was it Madness?, Was it Rock and Roll? etc. The 5th September saw Bill and Jimmy at the In The City convention in Manchester, showing the film, followed by a discussion in front of a 100-plus music-industry audience, where they asked for people’s opinions, not on whether it was ethical to burn the money, but on whether it was Rock and Roll? Then they were interviewed on Radio 1’s Evening Session. Bill said: “And we’re very proud of this film, this is the biggest kinda visual thing we’ve done.”.
The film was toured around the country, usually gracing cultural centres in major towns and cities, and some more obscure venues like film festivals, builders yards, Glastonbury Tor, an inner-city comprehensive and then Eton on the same day, and MIND drop-in centres. In Glasgow they planned to show it at various venues over a weekend of ‘art- terrorism’ eg, Barlinnie prison, (but they were refused permission and asked to leave!) (see the relevant archived articles from the Sunday Times, Blah Blah Blah and the Scotsman for more on this eventful weekend). Bill and Jimmy also took the film to Belgrade, in Serbia. The Independent on Sunday reported that it was very well received because 1) they showed to this very artistic community and 2) Serbia experienced 36 million % inflation so they could relate to burning money. Each showing was followed by a discussion, where Bill and Jimmy wanted to get the audience to voice what they thought was the reason B&J; burnt the money. Many reviews of the showings from local newspapers and transcripts of various local and national radio interviews are available online.
Following the Cape Wrath contract Bill and Jimmy would no longer comment on the burning at post-film discussions, preferring to leave an associate, Chris Brooke or Gimpo to lead them. Bill and Jimmy’s self-imposed silence was usually broken after around five minutes.
An Info-sheet was distributed in the later stages of the tour. Attached to this were a series of quotes of audience observations from the various screenings. Bill and Jimmy invited audiences to write to the address given (The K FOUNDATION, PO Box 91, HP22 4RS, The UK), with their own reactions. Some people even got replies from Bill. Other list members gained other memorabilia at the screenings, such as soggy newspapers adverts, signed vodka bottles, and in one case a signed ukp 50 note!
As well as discussing the film, Bill occasionally opened up on other matters. At the Manchester showing in November 1995 he is quoted as saying “We would do it [release records] again, if we thought people would like it”. At the same showing he refused to sign a copy of Pete Robinson’s Justified and Ancient History, saying “That’s a load of bollocks… It’s all lies.” Pete Robinson has yet to reply to Nick on these allegations. Bill is also notorious for refusing to be held to quotes.
The film was due to be shown for the final time in a car-park in Brick Lane in London, 8th December 1995. Several list members turned up to witness the event turn into something of a fiasco. The car-park idea was abandoned on the night, but a basement room was hired in the Seven Stars pub nearby. Around 400 people turned up for the showing, and most somehow managed to crowd into the small room. Bill and Jimmy hung around, but were evidently nervous, and hid for most of the evening in the toilets with their minders. Gimpo showed some of the film but the cramped conditions proved too much and the showing was abandoned. Some reports indicate the police called it off, but although the police did turn up, it is understood that they had no part in the decision.
The film was due to be cut up and sold off for ukp 1 per frame after the Brick Lane showing, but this never happened. At the end of the show, when everyone tried to grab frames, Gimpo protested “no, it’s not this film that’s being cut up, it’s the other [two- spool] copy”, going on to point out that he didn’t even want to do it, it was all Club Disobey’s idea. A subsequent advert in the NME gave the ansaphone number of London’s Club Disobey (0181-960 9529), but to the best knowledge of the list members, no frames were ever gleaned from this. The only frames list-members obtained were blank ones from the film header.
At several screenings people with professional cameras, camcorders and dictaphones recorded the film and subsequent discussions but bootleg copies have yet to surface. Gimpo also made videos/recordings saying “maybe a video sometime next year”. He is also quoted (from the Omnibus documentary) as saying “I’ve never been a film director before.” A proper DVD release was once planned if there was enough demand, but this has yet to happen.
The Cape Wrath contract was conceived in a Little Chef diner at Newtonmore (just outside Aviemore in the Highlands), the morning after Friday’s Glasgow showings of WTKFBAMQ and the Pissing in the Wind episode. Bill and Jimmy appeared to be fed up with the reactions they were receiving to the film, which were mainly questions to them, rather than answers. They wanted to use a van Gimpo had borrowed to write the contract on, but he got scared and drove it straight back to London. Thus abandoned Bill and Jimmy (and two witnesses both called Mark!) phoned Craig McLean, journo, now editor of Blah Blah Blah, in Edinburgh and offered him an exclusive story if he would drive them! By the time he got up to Cape Wrath (about 6hrs drive from Edinburgh), they’d hired a G-reg. Nissan Bluebird from Aviemore; and on the morning of the Sunday (5th Nov 1995) they drove it onto a helipad on a MoD live bombing range called Faraid Head, 10 miles down the road from Cape Wrath itself., painted the contract on the side and pushed it over the edge. Jimmy took off the radiator cap so “it smokes more as it goes over”. Photos of the painted (and falling) car later appeared in Blah Blah Blah (see the archive) and the book.
To quote the info-sheet, handed out during the latter stages of the film tour:
For the sake of our souls we the trustees of the K Foundation agree unconditionally, totally, and without hesitation to a binding contract with the rest of the world, the contract is as follows.
Bill Drummond + Jimmy Cauty agree to never speak, write or use any other form of media to mention the burning of one million pounds of their own money which occurred on the Island of Jura on 23 August 1994 for a period of 23 years after the date of signature.
Bill Drummond + Jimmy Cauty are free to end the K Foundation in all respects for a period of 23 years after the date of signature.
Bill Drummond + Jimmy Cauty agree to store all assets of the K Foundation, including the ash of the one million pounds burnt on Jura, for a period of 23 years from the date of signature. This is to be completed within 14 days of signature.
Bill Drummond + J Cauty agree to allow Alan Goodrick use, for whatever purpose, the film “Watch The K Foundation Burn A Million Quid” and all film rushes.
Bill Drummond + Jimmy Cauty agree to publish this contract as a one page advert in a broadsheet of their choice within 14 days of signature and to cover costs.
It is agreed that in signing this contract, the postponing the K Foundation for the said period of 23 years, provides opportunity of sufficient length for an accurate and appropriately executed response to their burning of a million quid.
(signed in Gold pen on the windscreen: J Cauty, B Drummond, (Mark 1), Mark J Hawker (Mark 2), 5 Nov 1995)
This developed later into:
On the 5th November 1995, Cauty and Drummond signed a contract agreeing to end The K Foundation for a period of 23 years. This postponement ‘provides opportunity of sufficient length for an accurate and appropriately executed response to their burning of a million quid’. Cauty and Drummond have rescued themselves from the burden of an impossible explanation. Their fate now lies irrevocably sealed in the imploded remains of a Nissan Bluebird nestling among the rocks 120 feet below Cape Wrath.
This was repeated in two newspaper adverts, one of which appeared in the Times on the 8th of December, the same day the film was due to be shown for the final time in Brick Lane, London.
When the WTKFBAMQ film tour reached Glasgow on the Friday 3rd November 1995, Bill and Jimmy enacted a piece of performance art entitled “Pissing in the Wind whilst thinking of Bob Dylan”.
Occurring early afternoon, the ‘performance’ featured Bill, Jimmy and Marc J Hawker, a Glasgow resident and friend of the K-F. It took place in Kelvingrove Park (medium: artists, park, security cameras, urine). Apparently, there was to be a live cc-TV link-up with the Hunterian Museum at Glasgow University which would have shown the boys in action to an audience of 200 luminaries, but this didn’t happen (the CC camera missed them), although a video of the urination was eventually shown there in the early evening. Bill is quoted as saying that it was probably a good thing it wasn’t live.
Wearing cammo jackets, they quite literally pissed into the wind, behind a shed. A photo in Scotland on Sunday only managed to catch a stream of urine coming from Drummond. Cauty and Mark Hawker were either just finished or about to start. You can’t see their willies by the way.
In November 1992, Drummond and friend Mark Manning (also known as failed rock star Zodiac Mindwarp, furthermore known as Zed or Z) decided to save the world by planting a photo of Elvis at the North Pole, with the idea that his soul would seep down across the world on the ley lines and bring about world peace. The two were also hoping to find Baby Jesus within themselves. So they and Gimpo to drive to the North Pole. They got all the way up to Lapland, almost freezing to death, before realising that the road runs out and the unfrozen Arctic Sea starts. However they did meet the keeper of the ‘most northerly lighthouse in the world’ so they presented the photo to him and then came home.
Drummond and Manning decided to write a book about their trip called initially ‘Bill and Zed’s Excellent Adventure’ or ‘The Lighthouse At The Top Of The World’. They decided that it would be a limited edition of one, hand-transcribed and illustrated by them (they were both artists after all) and bound in 18th century reindeer leather which had been recovered from a shipwreck (!!) and which Drummond bought from an auction for some outrageous price. The idea being that before the invention of the printing press books were so rare and special that an interested reader would make a pilgrimage across Europe to see a book. In this age of information technology, they wanted to re-capture some of that magic. So the book was to be displayed in the specially purchased Curfew Tower, which was built as a prison for 19th century dissidents, in Cushendall on the East coast of Northern Ireland. Unfortunately they hadn’t considered just how long it would take to hand-write and illustrate, and the project was put on hold. Then, in October 1996, it was somewhat surprisingly published in paperback by Penguin and is now widely available as ‘Bad Wisdom’.
The style of the book somewhat reflects that of Hunter S. Thompson (author of ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’). The sleeve reviews are by Jarvis Cocker from Pulp: “The truth, no matter how uncomfortable, cannot help but be beautiful – this is a very beautiful book” and subversive writer/artist Stewart Home: “This is a brilliant anti-novel with a pedigree running from Swift and de Sade to Dada and Burroughs. Blunt, shocking, uncomfortable. A future underground classic.”
There is no dedication, and it all begins on Monday 2 November 1992 the day Bill’n’Z’n’Gimpo set off for Helsinki. The text alternates between Drummond and Manning. Drummond just recounts the detail of the events, presumably truthfully, and describes people in his own often wonderful way. He also writes relfectively about life, his past (and the KLF and it’s demise) and various things that irk him about the world, eg. MTV. In the meantime Manning is writing wild Hunter S Thompson fiction, wild horrific trips of fancy based around the real life characters, but presumably with some basis in truth, like he’s tripping all the time and he sees everything exaggerated. The interplay between the two accounts is very interesting and works very well most of the time. You start to recognise the events or objects or people in real life (i.e. Bill’s account) that Z bases his fantasy’s around. Bill even writes about Z writing which sheds further light … one page he’s bored and not writing anything … the next he’s scribbling away furiously in the back of the car chuckling demonically … the next he’s acting out the characters he’s created, entertaining Gimpo and Bill.
To publicise the book Bill and Mark (and ‘tour manager-cum-support act’ Chris Brook; Gimpo also went along, but played no part in the actual performances) undertook a series of public performances (and book signings) initially starting off with a date in New York then at various venues in towns and cities across the UK. From the event flyer:
“This performance is adapted form the novel Bad Wisdom which is based on Drummond and Manning’s journey to the North Pole in the winter of 1992. The performance reflects the double narrative of the book with Manning and Drummond relating their separate but intertwining versions of the story.”
They react a rehearsed performance, with Zed standing behind an ornate brass lectern which Bill picked up from a church salvage yard for 300 quid, and Bill using “Stig of the Dump’s bird table – a crazed scaffold of fence posts and sycamore stumps”.
Mark Radcliffe’s (late) late-night show on Radio One featured Bill and Mark reading from their book, and sound-clips of these quotes can be found as hidden tracks on ‘Lost Sounds Of Mu 2’.
They also made an appearance on MTV’s Hanging Out, which is pretty surprising considering Bill’s anti-MTV stance in the book. This may be related to the following anecdote from one well-connected list member: “Okay. This is gospel – it came from a friend who works there and saw it happen. A guy who works in transmission at MTV in London found a black bag in the street last week. He took it to work, and from the contents (which I only know to include several sheafs of A4 and six copies of Bad Wisdom) deduced that the bag belonged to none other than…Bill Drummond! So a contact number was found, and Bill had to turn up at MTV to reclaim the bag!!!! According to my friend, he was scowling something horrid, and was rather terse with whoever it was he talked to (so same as ever there then!).”
In May 1996 Bill and Mark went to the Congo to write the next chapter in the search for the Lost Chord. Bill said the next chapter will probably be out around 1998, but it took them seven more years to get their second book finished and published. Wild Highway got released in August 2005, incorporating the same writing style as Bad Wisdom before.
They say that for the final chapter, they will voyage to the moon. But as will many creative exploits of the KLF, these things are yet to happen…
A Bible of Dreams is a book of images by Mark Manning (Zodiac Mindwarp), largely photomontages, with text by Bill Drummond. It is described as “a visual poem composed by MS Manning”, with Drummond giving “a personal interpretation of the poem” in a commentary, along with a biographical background piece. The colour plates are reproductions of a picture collage pieced together by Manning in a scrapbook during a 1992 Scandinavian tour, and sent to Drummond shortly after tour ended. Drummond found himself repeatedly drawn to its contents, each perusal revealing more, “like a collection of good verse”. Manning was horrified when he suggested publishing it.
The book is published by The Curfew Press, the two men’s publishing company based in The Curfew Tower. It’s available only in a limited edition of 200 numbered copies, signed by Drummond and Manning, costing UKP500. It is bound in blue Nigerian goatskin, each page hand-printed and stitched into a calf-leather spine, and comes in a blue moire silk slipcase. It’s not so much an expensive book as an average work of art. They have sold a few to “universities and the like” If you want one and have a “large amount of money” to spare, contact the Curfew Press.
Zed’s art in The Curfew Press’ A Bible Of Dreams looks like it’s deliberately fallen. The collected trash of a rock’n’roll degenerate, the collages entangle images from heavy metal, pornography, Nazi Germany and Disney. Drummond’s text suggests they represent an archetypal rock’n’roll headspace: a place where sleaze, ambition, rebellion and religion meet. Zed reckons that just by sampling these images he’s raising them from the base to the divine. And there are points in his commentary where Bill finds a postitivity in porn. Maybe Zed and Drummond are examining cultural inequality. Wondering why some kinds of art are raised over others. Which is no great surprise from two men who work in rock or pop, an area of culture that is often ignored by art critics.
Drummond and Manning undertook a series of interviews to promote the book, in i-D, Vox and GQ magazines. In one interview Manning said that the text of the book was available on the Internet, then laughed. List members have looked far and wide and have found no trace of it. It is most likely that this statement was a deliberate wide-up for us and people like us, and an Internet-hype backlash joke. We don’t think it is online.
To replace the dilapidated Ford Timelord Jimmy purchased two Saracen armoured vehicles at a scrap yard for ukp 4,000 and found equipment in them which he thought could have been used for sonic warfare. He has tried to assemble the acoustic gun from information he found on the Internet. Installing huge amplifiers and special speakers to cope with the very low frequencies cost him “tens of thousands of pounds”.
The 25,000-watt sonic gun can project sound for around 7 miles, and Jimmy annoyed his Devon neighbours by testing it on Midsummer’s Day, 1996. Jimmy said: “I moved to Devon six months ago for a bit of a rest and this is a project I am taking an interest in. I do not see it as music or art.” He said that he aimed the gun away from homes and it seemed to have no effect on sheep.
He was testing his two Audio Weapon Systems in a field near his new home. ‘He alerted people to the fact that he was doing this by setting off some military flares. Then he tested his Audio Weapons System for an hour for a very select group of scientists and friends. The Audio Weapons System is not designed to kill people.[Melody Maker]
Cauty first tested it at a Wire gig on Hungerford Bridge in May. In January, Panasonic [the “Finnish conceptual techno nutters”-NME] borrowed one of the Audio Weapons Systems for tests on how sonic waves affect the human body at Brick Lane in London. A fax from ‘Mr. Smith, the Head Of Commercial Exploitation at Advanced Acoustic Armaments’, was sent to The Maker. It read: “The test took place to establish the parameters of the new vehicle solo and in tandem with its sister model, SS 9000K+L. The test featured new software generated for our latest commercial client, EXP LTD, and is described by Mr. Cauty as featuring ‘the ultimate battle between sound and commerce ending in the death of all musicians and their ascension to rock-n-roll heaven or hell as befits them.’ Yesterday we received communication with ex- Government employees who, in the Sixties, worked on audio weapon development with an offer of help and some ex-classified equipment. We regret any such death or damage that has resulted from our tests, but there are casualties in every war. The Triple A Formation Attack Ensemble will perform ‘Foghorns Of The Northern Hemisphere’ as part of an educational programme supporting our research shortly.
Most of this is probably scam, but Cauty has (very allegedly) recorded an album of sonic waves for Paul Smith’s Blast First label under the name AAA. The album is in the hands of lawyers who are trying to clear some of the samples used on it, and remains unreleased until now. It appears to be a Cauty solo project.
More recently, Jimmy teamed up with new Asian-techno group, Black Star Liner for a happening in a field on Dartmoor [this is the EXP reference above]. Jimmy chartered a ‘chopper to take BSL and assorted journos out to Dartmoor, where he intended to remix the Halaal Rock track in his tank. Apparently, BSL bumped into Cauty on London’s South Bank, while he was driving about in his tank, he got hold of their album, and said that he wanted to work with them. Anyway, the chopper was grounded by severe fog, so everyone was put on a convey of buses. All the journos were given orange jackets to wear. They eventually arrived at a field full of military vehicles, and people in yellow jackets, wearing goggles and ears protectors, doing some form of formation dancing. The journos were lead to their seats, and had large floodlights shone into their eyes, while the yellow jackets let of flares all around them. There were a load of goats skulls on sticks around the field, and a whole pile of fireworks let of towards the end of the mix, when Cauty was mixing in some Jimi Hendrix. However, this didn’t really go down well with BSL. For the record, Choque (leader of BSL) said in the NME “Cauty’s truck is a bag of complete shite. And he’s a f—ing misery guts”
Then in November 1996, Jimmy turned up at the A30 road protests in Honiton, Devon, to lend his support. The A30 Action press release read:
“A30 Action and A.A.A.(Formerly the K Foundation, formerly the K.L.F.)
As of 2300 hrs 19.10.96 the armoured division of the A.A.A. Formation Attack Ensemble established a front line defensive position at the Trollheim Hill Fort, Fairmile, Devon, in collaboration with A30 Action in defence of the threatened trees, badgers and some insects. At dawn on 21.10.96, the Triple A will activate their S.Q.U.A.W.K. 9000 sonic device in response to any offensive action taken on behalf of the Connect consortium. The @utonomous communities of Fairmile, Trollheim and Allercombe have resisted the soul destroying consumer nightmare of the private profit A30 through a 2 year campaign of Non-Violent Direct Action. Now armed with the 2 Saracen armoured personnel carriers both loaded with 15 Kilowatt Soundsystems and weighing over 10 tons they intend to dance in the face of the legions of destruction.”
Shortly after Jimmy began blasting local Devon residents with Puff the Magic Dragon at the protest against the A30 road-building, an article appeared in the Big Issue (mag by and for the UK homeless), by self-styled “art terrorist” Stuart Home describing how he was kidnapped and shown an arsenal of weapons at Jimmy’s house.
The article was a spoof, but the UK security services took it seriously and put Jimmmy’s house under surveillance for several days before finally 30 police with sniffer dogs turned up and searched the place from top to bottom. They found nothing, except the two Saracens which were both properly taxed and insured. Jimmy was released without charge. He said “I suppose if you take two tanks to a road protest you’ve got to expect the authorities to get involved.” Finally, the two Saracens were towed from the road protest with Jimmy’s consent, (but not cooperation). A few weeks later he took them back.
From T-Shirts to Books, from Promo Videos to home-made DVDs – there have been many non-CD releases and collectibles during all those years. Read more about them and find out wether they are still available.
Yes, firstly two official releases were made:
Waiting (KLF VT007)
A very rare 42-minute ambient video filmed on the Isle of Jura, was released in November 1990 and sold via mail order only, is now deleted and is PAL/VHS only. I doubt you’ll ever find a copy. In it the KLF are filmed waiting for their equipment to arrive, recording the sounds of nature (birds, surf etc.) and then re- broadcasting the sounds back at the ocean, along with some techno. Sheep feature quite prominently. It was filmed on the estate on Jura belonging to an old school pal of Drummond’s and is considered by many list members to be “quite boring”.
A commercially available compendium of the three ‘stadium house’ hits presented as a pretend live concert at Woodstock Europa. The versions of 3 am Eternal and What Time Is Love? are different from the original promos. The videos feature Wanda Dee (!). Catalogue info can be found in the discography. The UK release adds a bonus ambient feature about the making of the videos as well.
The video is still available outside the UK, and UK copies are easy to find in second hand record shops.
There are various KLF promo videos which may turn up in specialist dealers, etc. Generally these are single video promos for TV use. We don’t know how many copies there might be of these. Non-UK licensers of KLF product may have made their own promos too. However especially interesting are two different videos of the Rites Of Mu, and a promo video compilation called ‘1991: ‘The Work’ released in 1991, which featured various promos from their entire career to date.
One lucky list member has proclaimed: “I found a copy of “Indie Top Video – Take Three” (1990 UK Picture Music International MVP 9912153). It claims to be a companion to Volume 8 of the Indie Top 20 LP/CD/CASS which is included in the KLF Discography. On it is a version of the Kylie Said To Jason Promo Video. It differs from the one found on the “This Is What The KLF Are About” compilation, in that instead of the cue clock at the start, it shows a still from the White Room Film overlaid with text explaining that the Promo contains clips from the forthcoming film – The White Room. Playing over the top is a short ambient soundtrack that blends into the start of Kylie Said To Jason and then the Video starts as per the normal. The end is also slightly different in that it fades to black as the music ends instead of freezing on the satellite dish at the end. The best things about this compilation is (a) the Video is a pristine first generation copy and (b) it only cost me 2 UKP (yes that’s right 2!) 🙂 ) ”
Then there are two bootleg compilation tapes which crop up around:
This Is What The KLF Are About
A 150 min extravaganza of the ‘Work’ and ‘Waiting’ videos, various other promos, and lots of bad quality TV appearances. Its not in stereo, and there are some patches of nothing (although these were on ‘Work’ as well). Track listing can be found in the discography as well. This video was available (June 94) from Mike Dutton, but he allegedly stopped making them a long time ago. The video can occasionally be found in second- hand record shops.
A three hour compilation which describes itself as having very high visual quality, most of the material being only second generation, and excellent quality sound, all in stereo. This is a lie. The quality of the TOTP appearances is poor, both in sound and vision, but this quality improves slightly with the Waiting and Stadium House videos. Again a PAL/VHS release.
Finally, various list members have copies of other rarities, such as the original White Room film and the Omnibus documentary, which they are quite willing to copy for interested parties.
Lately, some of them have compiled their own DVDs, most notable an extended version of ‘The Work’ that features some bonus tracks, and the original ‘White Room’ film. Their sound quality varies due to the fact that the audio was taken from the videos as well, but the picture quality is far beyond anything you might have seen in the various videos on file sharing programs or the FTP server. As these two are non-profit works, list members should be willing to do copies for free.
The number of publications by or about The KLF and its members has been growing over the years. Head over to the Publications page for a hopefully complete list of books, pamphlets and what not.
(Julian Cope’s autobiography, Head On (Head Heritage 0-9526719-0-5) and Holly Johnson’s autobiography A Bone in my Flute (1994 hardback ISBN: 0-7126-6145-X. 1995 Arrow Books paperback ISBN 0-09-939341-7) feature some details about Drummond’s carreer in the early 80’s Liverpool scene. They will be added at some point.)
The original t-shirts were deleted along with the KLF back catalogue. There are various shirts on eBay every now and then, but these are either represses of the original layouts (by passionate list members) or awful prints like the one with the ice cream van on the front.
What can be picked up on eBay quite regularly is the 2K shirt with large letters on it shouting ‘Fuck The Millennium’, either as part of the 2K bag handed to the audience at the Barbican in 1997 or on their own. And yes, this is an official shirt.
Questions that didn’t fit into any other category so we had to create one for them.
On their first LP, ‘1987: What The Fuck Is Going On?’ the stand out track is ‘The Queen And I’ – a derogatory, political rap about the state of democracy in the UK, which samples large parts of Abba’s Dancing Queen, (i.e. the whole chorus) and accompanies this with cheeky baby ‘wah wah’ noises. The whole thing is very punky, crude and hilariously funny. And Abba not surprisingly didn’t like it. The Mechanical Copyright Protection Society got in touch with the JAMs and ordered the masters and all copies destroyed, and all copies in the shops recalled. To avoid a court case the JAMs decided to comply with this but first they would try to meet Abba and convince them of the sincerity of their actions. Of course you could be cynical and say that the trip to Sweden was a publicity exercise pure and simple as they took an NME journalist and photographer along with them in Jimmy’s Galaxy V8 Ford police car, but the truth probably lies somewhere between that and a romantic road trip ideal that the JAMs have and an unthinking ‘lets do it’ attitude.
So the JAMs and their guests took the ferry to Sweden, drove cross-country to Stockholm where they presented a gold disc “in recognition of sales in excess of zero” to a blonde prostitute outside Abba’s studio at 3am (!) in the morning. The photographs of this were supposed to convince the world that this was Agnetha, now fallen on hard times. They obviously failed to get a meeting with Benny and Bjorn (if they even tried) and they set off back to England, stopping in a Swedish field to build a fire out of the unsold copies of 1987, a scene which is captured on the cover of ‘Who Killed The JAMs’ and History Of The JAMs’. As they returned to the JAMs-mobile to drive off an irate Swedish farmer appeared, furious at the heap of burning vinyl giving off acrid black smoke in his field, who proceeded to fire a shotgun at the JAMs-mobile as it drove off. Further down the road the unfortunate car broke down perhaps helped by the shotgun, but luckily (and not so romantically) the JAMs had taken out Automobile Association membership before they left and they got towed home. In Justified and Ancient History Pete Robinson states that on the ferry home they played their only live date for a Toblerone bar, and chucked some more copies of the LP into the sea.
The whole story is told in a great NME article, included on the Shag Times CD gatefold insert. At some point during the JAMs excursion to the land of Stigs they were reported to have run over and killed a moose. There’s even some lyrics about it in one of their songs. However, one list member (Chris Leuty) once wrote to the KLF about this (August 1990), cos’ “…I didn’t quite believe it, and got a reply from Jimi. He said, and I quote: “No it was a giant dog”. Write to James Brown c/o NME-he’s got some Polaroid photo’s of the attack.”
A postscript to all this LP destruction is that the KLF took out a full-page ad in The Face magazine, offering to sell the five remaining unplayed copies for 1000 pounds each. In 1988 Info sheet two, King Boy says “we sold 3 of the 5 LP’s … it went some way to paying off our creditors, we gave one away as a prize. We have one left, the price just keeps going up.” This could be the copy oft seen in the back window of their ice-cream van.
In the UK, a Flake 99, (or often just a ’99) is a wafer cone with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a piece of Cadbury’s Flake. Any ice cream van will know what you mean if you ask for a ’99.
The first KLF ice cream connection took place at the Liverpool Festival of comedy when they handed out 99’s from an ice cream van they’d borrowed from it’s owner outside Trancentral. Then came Justified and Ancient with its ice cream references in the lyrics, an ice cream van on the cover, a catalogue number of KLF 099, and promo’s labelled CHOCICE 1 to 3. When they appeared on TOTP Drummond and Cauty were dressed in huge latex 99 costumes designed by Luck and Flaw of the ‘Spitting Image’ TV programme. In promotional campaigns in the US, Arista organised ice cream van stunts too. The KLF used to “pop up” unexpectedly in places, blasting tunes and passing out ice cream, from their ice cream. During an intermission at one of Emo Phillip’s concerts, they drove onstage, blastin’ and passin’ which you could describe as being very typical of the “strange” behaviour of the KLF.
All this lead some fans to wonder if there was a connection to The Ice Cream Men from ‘Rudy Rucker’s cyberpunk novels ‘Software’ & ‘Wetware’. It would seem not as “The Ice Cream Man was a android controlled by one of the main computers on the moon, who was advancing the cause of one of the two factions in a revolution between the little robots and the big robots that was ongoing on the moon. It was also to allow the ‘personalities’ that had been read (by the aforementioned brain-eating) into the computer to operate as if they still had human bodies. (The brain eating took all of the chemically- encoded memories into a processor so that the computer could integrate the personality.) Anyway, the ice-cream man’s van was really a refrigerator for the robot brain that it carried around, I seem to remember. Since the novel took place in the Orlando-Cocoa Beach-Daytona Beach area of Florida, USA and no-one has reported that Bill and Jimmy acted a bit ‘mechanical’ on meeting them, I don’t see that there’s much connection beyond the coincidental. However, they were written back in the late 80’s, so there is a slight possibility of it being influential, but it just doesn’t seem likely to me.”
However, strangely, Info sheet 13 has a list of “questions that we get asked and are unable to answer. So we decided to hold “The Rites Of Mu” to celebrate this year’s summer solstice and in doing so hopefully make the above questions redundant.” One of the questions was ‘Are you the ice cream men?’ But the KLF’s ice cream activities came just after the ‘Rites Of Mu’, where they performed in Liverpool using an ice-cream van they had borrowed from a man in the street outside Trancentral. But why did someone ask if they were the ice cream men, before they had done any ice cream related activity?
Sheep have been associated with the KLF throughout their career. There were sheep noises on the ambient version of ‘Last Train To Trancentral’, and on ‘Chill Out’, where sheep also appear on the cover and merchandise insert. Its rumoured that some sheep appeared on stage at one of the club PA’s they did in 89-90. There are many publicity shots of the KLF standing with sheep, and sheep appear in ‘Waiting’. Sheep are mentioned in the “It’s Grim Up North” sleeve essay and when they showed The White Room film in Germany, several sheep were guests of honour. Then there was the notorious dead sheep incident at the BRITs.
But ‘Why Sheep?’ This incidentally is one of the “questions that we get asked and are unable to answer.” It is also printed under a picture of them holding a sheep on the “White Room” CD insert.
Its to his credit that list co-ordinator Lazlo Nibble is one of the only people to interview Drummond who has got an answer on this. The full X Magazine interview is in the ftp archive. Bill Drummond said: “The sleeve is a very very English thing. The Pink Floyd album ATOM HEART MOTHER, do you know that album? The sleeve with the cow’s head on it? That’s a very English thing and it has the vibe of the rave scene over here. When we’re having the big Orbital raves out in the country, and you’re dancing all night and then the sun would come up in the morning, and then you’d be surrounded by this English rural countryside … so we wanted something that kind of reflected that, that feeling the day after the rave, that’s what we wanted the music for. So when we went to the photo-library, we had a copy of ATOM HEART MOTHER under our arms, and we went in: ‘Okay, we want a picture of sheep, like this.’ They didn’t have any pictures of sheep that were like the cover of ATOM HEART MOTHER, but they had these other pictures of sheep … hundreds, thousands of pictures of sheep, and we picked the ones we used because it had that same sort of feeling.”
Additionally in the KLF vs. the BRITs article in NME Drummond is asked why cut up sheep on stage? “Tons of reasons. You know, it’s that whole thing about sacrificial lambs and about lambs to the slaughter. And there was something in there about that Geoffrey Howe thing, being savaged by a dead sheep.” [quiet peaceful Howe had a savage attack on Mrs Thatcher after she sacked him which helped to bring her down.] Danny Kelly then reminds Drummond that “sheep…(are) deeply embedded in the JAMs/KLF mythology (and so) wasn’t the sheep-hacking idea a bit like suicide? Drummond agreed “Exactly, that’s in there too. That’s what the ‘KLF have now left the music business’ was about…”
The Fall are a British indie group from Manchester led by loud-mouth singer Mark E Smith. They have been releasing uncompromising guitar punk-pop tunes for an incredible 18 years so far. There is no connection to the KLF other than Big In Japan and The Fall started at the same time and they (and members of the Teardrops and Bunnymen) were all hangers on in the Northwest punk scene in 1977.
However there are some connections in the KLF’s body of work. Firstly The Fall’s ‘Totally Wired’ single is sampled in ‘Next’ on 1987. It was the only sample on the LP that they had permission to use, and it is the only sample that appears on 1987 – The Edits (JAMS 25) which is the LP with spaces instead of samples so that it’s legal!
Secondly the lyrics of “The Prestwich Prophets Grin” on “Who Killed the Jams?” contain a reference to The Fall. In a section on changing identities, and the end of the JAMs the lyrics are something like:
Well Mark E Smith, it’s your turn now/
To roll the dice and win/
The tables turned, now we’re The Fall/
The North will rise again!
Around this time the Fall were enjoying their only period of chart success, including a dance-influenced single called ‘Hit The North’.
Then The FALL was listed as one of the alias of the KLF in The Manual, and spelt out as The Forever Ancients Liberation Loophole (and on a 1990 T-shirt). This refers to the liberation loophole which their lawyer David Franks found to release them from their contract with Eternity in the White Room movie. They mention the liberation loophole in the lyrics of the UK LP version of ‘Last Train To Trancentral’ by the way.
Different people pretending to be the same person, is a common situationist-inspired tactic as practised by Stewart Home and friends who produce different magazines all called ‘Smile’ written by multiple Karen Elliots reviewing music produced by multiple Monty Cautsins.
Solid State Logic is a manufacturer of analogue and digital audio consoles for music, broadcast, post production and film, founded in 1969. It’s mentioned various times in throughout the KLF catalogue: “The Manual” has a short snippet about them, it appears in Disco 2000’s “I Gotta CD” and, most notably, the 1991 version of “3 a.m. Eternal (Live At The S.S.L.)”.
The reference in “3 a.m. Eternal” points towards their range of mixing desks, most likely because it was recorded using one, so you _could_ read it as ‘live at the mixing desk’ (which pretty much sums up all singles from the Stadium House trilogy).
Before Christmas, one of the two newspaper ads had promised free cans of lager to those who turned up to the Brick Lane showing of the WTKFBAMQ film. As things had turned out this didn’t happen, so Bill and Jimmy were left with several hundred cans of beer. It was reported in very early 1996 that Bill and Jimmy had given away a few thousand cans of Tennant’s Super-strength lager to the homeless of London.
The reports allege that these were made into a piece of artwork (a photo appeared in Blah Blah Blah with the cube of 6,237 cans (approx. 25x10x24)) They were driven around London on the back of a lorry on New Year’s Eve (1995) by Gimpo, Bill and Jimmy. However, there was an accident on London Bridge, and some of the cans fell off. They were then distributed to the homeless by Bill and Jimmy that night. Bill also writes about this in his autobiography ’45’.
Shown on Monday 6th November 1995 (BBC1, 50 mins) directed by Kevin Hull and subtitled “A Foundation Course in Art”. The Omnibus programme set out to “tell the story of the creative partnership of Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond, and how they tried to storm into the art world.” The programme began with a (very) brief history of Bill and Jimmy’s music career, from the Timelords to the BRITs, and then concentrated on the burning of the million pounds. Using clips from the “Watch the K Foundation Burn a Million Quid” film (complete with original soundtrack), interviews with both Bill and Jimmy, Gimpo and other associates like Jane Casey, the documentary managed to account the events leading up to and the burning itself, and then went on to look at the aftermath; Bill and Jimmy’s motives for doing it (they gave little away), what they planned to do with the ashes and whether the money burnt was genuine.
They had tried to get several galleries to exhibit the “Nailed to the Wall”, or host the burning, but none would, so they went to Jura and did it there. The programme makers took (“stole” according to Bill, who says he had no knowledge of it at the time) a briefcase containing the remaining ashes from the burning to a number of galleries, to see whether they considered it ‘art’ and what value they would place on it, but most didn’t and hence wouldn’t. It was also taken to a lab where some ‘experts’ examined the ashes, validated the notes and proclaimed them to be the remains of around ukp 80,000 worth of 50-pound notes.
The programme also looked at the beginnings of the film tour, with footage of the In The City showing, Bill and Jimmy in discussion with Jane Casey about projecting it onto the side of the Tate in Liverpool and Gimpo’s reactions to them giving him ownership of the film (“I’ve never been a film director before”). One interesting point is that the film showed Bill and Jimmy being interviewed for Radio 1, and Jimmy rummaging in a bag for the DAT of “The Magnificent”. Bill is clearly heard to say “Make sure it isn’t the DAT with 3 tracks on it”. The nature of these mystery tracks is (as yet) unknown.
List members thought the programme was not really pro-the burning, and perhaps a tad sceptical and biased against it, but was most interesting and informative, nevertheless. Some list members may still have copies lying around.
We’re not entirely certain. The closest fonts people have found so far are Compacta Bold and Commador. Both are pretty similar and can easily fool someone at first glance, though they are not 100 percent identical to the real thing.
It has also been suggested that the KLF font may be related to Folio, Helvetica, or even Hattenschweiler.
Is there any connection with Coldcut/Yazz? I saw a KLF record in the video for “The Only Way Is Up”!
Coldcut produced and released “Doctorin’ The House” as by Coldcut, the title of which was a pun on their original “Doctor In The House” available to DJs for some time before. The “Doctorin’ The House” release also featured Yazz and the Plastic Population.
The KLF thought this was a jolly amusing pun, and worked on their “Doctorin’ The Tardis” using Gary Glitter, the Doctor Who theme and The Sweet and released it to world-wide adulation and admiration.
Around the same time (but probably before), Coldcut produced Yazz’ first solo single, “The Only Way Is Up”, again featuring the Plastic Population, and billed to Yazz and them. No mention of Coldcut, except in the production credits. The video to this single (which was a UK number 1) showed a DJ scratching with a KLF record. I assume at the time that it was the back side of “Burn The Bastards/Burn The Beat”, as I don’t think “Doctorin’ The Tardis” had been released then. Try checking the relative release dates of the latter with “Doctorin’ The House”.
There are a few tracks out there which are not listed on our website. Chances are that the track in question simply is no KLF track at all.
The KLF “Please Don’t Go”
“Please Don’t Go” is a cover version by KWS (to our best knowledge). There are various versions of this song available, but none of them has ever been recorded by Bill and Jimmy.
The KLF “Turn Up The Strobe”
There are in fact two different tracks labelled “Turn Up The Strobe” out there. One of them is a very long track with not too much music at all but several voice samples spread throughout the track (most notably “I said it’s bigger than Scientology”). The actual title of the track is “God, the Devil and J.R. ‘Bob’ Dobbs part 9”, taken from a three hour radio broadcast of a band called “The Button”. It originally was going to be uploaded to mp3.com, but they didn’t seem to like all of the samples for some reason. The tracks then found their way to napster. When like minds of the Evolution Control Committee developed the “napster bomb”, The Button’s tracks were also made available in “bomb” form. Knowing that Turn Up The Strobe is a KLF “Holy Grail” which few (if any) have heard, they decided that it was a great delivery vehicle for the “bomb”.
The second track sounds like a very bad recorded trash metal jamming session, and is indeed by Bill and Jimmy (although its original name is either “The Black Room” or “Terminator 10”). The reason why there is no better version online is that it simply does not exist. Further recording of the “Black Room” album had been scrapped by The KLF in 1992, long before it had been finished.
The KLF “Kylie Said MU”
Apparently this is just a mislabelled remix of “Kylie Said To Jason”.
The KLF “38/The Black Room/Terminator 10/…”
These were taken from the first recording session of the “Black Room” album, so although they sound rather bad, they are indeed proper tracks by The KLF and Extreme Noise Terror. As mentioned above, there are unfortunately no better recordings of these.
Enigma ” Mea Culpa (KLF remix)”
The KLF never remixed any Enigma tracks during their five year long life span. The only artists that ever got the KLF treatment were Depeche Mode and the Pet Shop Boys.