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 KLF (1990-1992)
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.
While some international variants have different track markers than JAMS CD6 there are basically only two different versions of The White Room.
Most obviously, the original UK version – like its European variants – presents the first five tracks (What Time Is Love? through Last Train To Trancentral) 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, probably due to the copyright problems over the crowd noise.
Apart from that there are some further differences between the individual tracks.
- The US edition features the full 7″ radio version of What Time Is Love? whereas the UK edition drops the song’s second verse.
- Make It Rain is around 30 seconds shorter on the US edition and lacks the Stevie Wonder sample (“Say yeah!”) throughout the track. A full unmixed version including the sample is available on the MU EP, though.
- The outro of 3 a.m. Eternal lacks the Scott Piering sample (“Ladies and Gentlemen, The KLF have now left the building…”) on the UK edition and segues into Church Of The KLF instead.
- The most radical difference might be the inclusion of the single mix of Last Train To Trancentral on the US edition instead of the mellower UK album version.
- The US edition of No More Tears has been edited down to 6:42 instead of 9:24.
- There is a little more wind noise at the end of the closing Justified And Ancient on the US edition.
Later reissues by Arista also came with the CD single of Justified And Ancient, albeit with a slightly different tracklist than the original UK CD single.
The Japanese version mostly follows the US format apart from featuring the extended single mix of Last Train To Trancentral. In addition it also includes three bonus tracks – the Moody Boys remix of What Time Is Love?, the Guns Of Mu Mu version of 3 a.m. Eternal, and the 120 Rock Steady version of Last Train To Trancentral.