Psecret gets a summary history on the KLF ..
12 Sep 2003
> I think I missed the boat where they passed out the
> information on KLF . .
> . who are they?
OK, a far too huge history from a complete nerd. :)
They're two Scottish guys, Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond.
They started making music together in the mid/late 80s as a hip-hop act called the JAMMs (Justified Ancients of Mu-Mu) and did a lot of very funny, very silly stunts, mainly revolving aroudn doing things on an incredibly low budget. They did a lot of wholesale snatch-and-grab sampling of pop hits. Their first album, '1987: What the fuck is going on??' had to be recalled almost as soon as it came out due to their sampling approach, which basically secured their cult status straight away.
The funniest story I remember from around this time is when they had a gold record for 'Dancing with the Queen' (sampled 'Dancing Queen' big time) and did a drive across Europe, supposedly to present the gold record to Agnetha from Abba. They found some skank in a red light district, took a lot of photos, and released it with this whole "Abba members fallen on hard times" spin. :D Nice. :)
They had an international number one hit as The Timelords with a tune called 'Doctorin The Tardis', which ripped off a bunch of glam rock tunes and littered them with Doctor Who references...
This is reaching the early nineties, Cauty's hanging out with the guys from the Orb, DJing in clubs, and they come up with the concept of "ambient house".. mixing dance tracks with field recordings and whatever else.
So they release 'Chill Out' as the KLF (Kopyright Liberation Front), supposedly with a lot of uncredited involvement by The Orb's Alex Patterson. Ambient dudes cream themselves as the KLF mash up everything from Tuvan throat singers to bleating sheep to Fleetwood Mac to Elvis over shimmering synths and beats. Cauty also does a solo record in a similar style called Space, which is similar stuff.
Next up the KLF do a more dancey album called 'The White Room', and ram it full of mythologizing and stuff about "Mu-Mu Land", "The White Room" and the "Justified Ancients of Mu-Mu". It blows up. Lots of hits around the world. This is like 91 or 92.
Best story from around this time is when the played the Brit Awards and got the hardcore band Extreme Noise Terror to play their big hit '3 AM Eternal'. Cauty threw bags of sheep blood over the stage? the audience? can't remember. Drummond came out in a kilt and opened fire into the crowd with an M16 loaded with blanks. Understandably there was a lot of screaming and distress and they had to leave, sending a motorbike courier back into collect their prize they later won.
After a few years of milking this KLF shtick they started the K Foundation and started taking the piss of the art world.
They run competitions to vote for the most shit artist in all of Britain, using the same nominees as that year's Turner Prize, and then invite a whole lot of journalists burn the million pounds prize money nailed to a board and say it's an "artistic statement". The art establishment pours scorn back on them.
Since then they've done a few things, including a millennium hit, but whatever. I think they've lost it, music-wise. As Mark's mentioned Drummond's done a few books. Some of my mates have read '45' and recommend it as heartily as Mr Cubey, so I think I'll have to check it out. Drummond's also done a solo album of songs under his own name, which are a bit like Billy Bragg. Well, not really. But sorta folky down-to-earth stuff played live by a band.
Ra ra ra... I've probably just torn the life out of their antics. They do a lot of messing about with image and publicity and nailed the zeitgeist damn well for a good 10 years there.
oh, and here's a Bill Drummond site: