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.