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 two books (The Manual and 2023) 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), a BRIT Awards protest involving a dead sheep and buckets of blood, a string of strange full-page mainstream press adverts, staging an alternative art award for the worst artist of the year, and they also burned a MILLION POUNDS 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 (though not necessarily to a comfortably filled bank account).
JC: “We can play instruments and we can do other things. Nobody seems to be able to do more than one thing without not getting taken seriously; not that we mind not getting taken seriously. We just think, ‘that looks interesting’, so we do it.”Bill Drummond & Jimmy Cauty (Sound On Sound, Apr 1991)
BD: It’s highly unlikely that we’ll ever get rich. It costs a fortune making albums, even singles. And, unlike a major record company, we’ve no forward plan.Bill Drummond & Jimmy Cauty (Melody Maker, 16 Feb 1991)
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.
A lot of The KLF’s activites might look like situational pranks from the outside, yet they always insisted to be entirely serious about their activities.
I think with whatever we do, if we stopped to think about it, it’d be ‘What are we letting ourselves in for now?’ But we don’t. We think ‘Yeah! Let’s do that!’ And it’s a genuine excitement. Something that gives us a buzz. We’re not thinking ‘That’ll impress the bastards!’ Or ‘This’ll take the piss ouf of that!’Bill Drummond (NME, 12 Jan 1991)
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.
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:
… which certainly fits 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:
- CLF sounds considerably less cool.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
In 2021 parts of the JAMs/KLF’s back catalogue was eventually made officially available through digital streaming platforms, and while those releases did not contain any completely new recordings some of the contents had been edited and updated.
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 Glenn 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 Sekada 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!”
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 children” 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.”
January 1990 Energy, Brixton Academy, London
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…..”
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
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.
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.
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. What follows is a list of the most notable versions you can find (depending on how lucky you are.)
1991 Cassette Bootleg
The earliest version known so far, released back in 1991 including a couple of bonus tracks including an 8-minute demo of 3 a.m. Eternal (Live At The S.S.L.).
1997 CD Release
In 1997, 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 1997 bootleg’s sound.
This version was also temporarily hosted on the old KLF Online website around the time of release so you should have no problem finding a version of it online.
Arkive Volume 4
The White Room Soundtrack also got released as part of the Arkive series, including yet another set of bonus tracks.
The exact release date is unknown.
2016 Cubefish LP
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 in its layout but is plain white with glossy lettering. Once again sound quality is superior to that of previous bootlegs, making this the best sounding version to date.
Another 60 copies were made available on CD, housed in a faux KLF Communications company cardboard sleeve which read 12CM instead of 12INCH.
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.
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.
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
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/or 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 Lover’s 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 Robinson’s 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 White Room film 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: 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, 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.
As far as we know 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 altogether.
A complete script is currently available on the website of Pirate Cinema Berlin (who screened the Inner movie in 2005), containing the Outer, Inner and Third strands, as well as sets/locations/stage directions and lots of other really interesting info, though it’s up to the reader to decide whether this is the real deal. When once asked about said script Bill Drummond denied its authenticity, but it’s unclear whether this was a genuine remark or just Bill not wanting to talk about something he had left behind himself.
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.
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.
Questions that didn’t fit into any other category so we had to create one for them.