Most people have never heard of 2K, Advanced Acoustic Armaments, Angels 1-5, Big In Japan, Black Smoke, Brilliant, Custered, Disco 2000, The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, The JAMs, Kalevala, Lori & The Chamelions, Moody Boys, The One World Orchestra, The Scourge Of The Earth, Solid Gold Chartbusters, Space, The Forever Ancients Liberation Loophole, The Kopyright Liberation Front, The Timelords, or any of the other names Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty went by between the late 80’s and the early 90’s – but for some reason, most people have heard of The KLF. Most of the time, for the wrong reasons – an errant glimpse on a “Two Hit Wonders” show on MTVH1, or recollections of 3AM Eternal. Some people respond to the letters “KLF” with the thought “Tammy Wynette” and convulse.
Over 10 years after they forced the music industry to write them off, they still remain an unusual and interesting example of what two guys can do when they set out to absolutely fuck with the status quo.
What happened when a former A&R rep and one of the founding members of the Orb teamed up?
- They filled their music with Illuminati references just because they could.
- They released an album as The JAMs entitled “1987: What The Fuck’s Going On?”, containing a track – “The Queen And I” that sampled the entire chorus of “Dancing Queen” by Abba. They got sued. They thentook 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.
- They recorded an absolutely brilliant chill-out album, aptly named Chill Out.
- They then utilized cheap sampling technology to its fullest, finally found fame in the emerging UK rave scene, and released a string of world-wide hit singles in the 90’s.
- They sold more singles than anyone else in 1991.
- They wrote a book entitled “The Manual”, instructing anyone else who wanted to learn how they too could have a #1 song in Britain – complete with a money-back guarantee.
- They presented an art award for the worst artist of the year.
- They burned 1,000,000 Pounds Sterling, filmed it, and toured the film around the UK.
- After growing tired of the project, they executed a stunt on British TV “so utterly disgusting that it would deliberately ruin their career”.