"We had to pass the pyramid blaster / the JAMs are here, it's what you've been after."
This is what KLF is about, also known as the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, further more known as the JAMs...
...as well as The Timelords, Disco 2000, 2K, K2 Plant Hire, The K Foundation and of course The One World Orchestra Featuring the Massed Pipes And Drums of the Children’s Free Revolutionary Volunteer Guards.
Comprising Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, the group achieved their greatest success in the period 1989-92, when they were known as The KLF
and were associated with a style they called Stadium House (basically, Acid House
with pop/rock production and sampled noises from cheering crowds). However, they also dabbled in other genres, usually Electronic Music
(ambient, various house subgenres, techno, alternative dance), and became infamous for their satirical media stunts. For instance, when they were sued for unlicensed Sampling
, they responded by torching copies of 1987 (What the Fuck Is Going On?)
in a field (a photo of this became the cover of their next album).
To read up on a complete histroy of the group, the best place to start would be the band's Wikipedia Entry.
- 1987 (What the Fuck is Going On?) (1987) *
- most copies have been destroyed, the rest are collector's items.
- Who Killed The JAMs? (1988) *
- Chill Out (1990)
- The White Room (1991)
- "Whitney Joins The JAMs" (1987) *
- "I Gotta CD" (1987) *
- "One Love Nation" (1988) *
- "Doctorin' the Tardis" (1988) *
- "What Time is Love? (Pure Trance)" (1988)
- "Uptight" (1989) *
- "3 A.M. Eternal (Pure Trance)" (1989)
- "Kylie Said the Jason" (1989)
- The Lead-off Single from the Original 1989 version of The White Room
- "It's Grim Up North" (1991) *
- The Lead-off Single from the Original techno-metal version of The Black Room
- "Justified & Ancient (Stand by The JAMs)" (1991) *
- "America: What Time Is Love?" (1992)
- "K Cera Cera" (1993) *
- "The Magnificent" (1995 - Appeared on the charity album The Help Album) *
- "***K The Millennium" (1997) *
- The Man (1986) (Bill Drummond's solo record, released a year before forming the KLF. A Scottish Folk album.)
- 1987: The JAMs 45 Edits (Basically 1987 (What the Fuck is Going On?) with all of the unauthorised samples removed)
- Shag Times (1989) (a collection of non-album singles & remixes)
- Released in the United States as The History of The JAMs a.k.a. The Timelords.
- The "What Time is Love?" Story (1989) (compilation album of various "What Time is Love?" knock-offs)
- Space (1990) (Jimmy Cauty's solo album, made from scrap parts from the orignial version of The Orb's debut album)
- Waiting for the Rights of Mu (1997) (The audio from the Home Video releases Waiting and The Rites Of Mu)
- Presumed to be a bootleg, but was sold through normal retail channels for a while.
- Waiting (1990)
- The Stadium House Trilogy (1991) (A collection of all three "Stadium House" singles Music Videos)
- The Rites Of Mu (1991)
- Watch the K Foundation Burn a Million Quid (1995) *
- Pissing in the Wind (Footage of Bill, Jimmy, and Mark Hawker Pissing in the wind.) *
- This Brick (4 minutes of a still picture of a brick made from the ashes of the million pounds burned.) *
- The White Room (1989)
- Both a film (which was never finished) and an unreleased album. Both circulate online.
- The Black Room (~1990-91) *
- Described by Bill Drummond as "Megadeth with drum machines." Only song released from this version was "It's Grim Up North".
- The Black Room (~1992) *
The group provides examples of:
- Aborted Arc: They never did find the white room, or finish the film, or stage that art exhibition, or build the people's pyramid, or fuck the millennium...
- Arc Symbol: Sheep.
- They were the audience to the only showing of the unreleased White Room film.
- On the cover of Chill Out.
- This image,◊ which appeared in The White Room album liner notes. (If you can't read the caption, it says "Why sheep?")
- A dead one was thrown into the 1992 Brits aftershow.
- Arc Number: 23. note
- Their first single "All You Need is Love" was released with the Catalog number "JAMS 023".
- It was 23 years between the release of Tammy Wynette's single 'Stand by Your Man' and her appearance in 'Justified & Ancient'.
- Jimmy and Bill won't discuss the reason why they burnt £1 million for 23 years.
- They burnt the £1 million on 23 August 1994.
- Their reunion as 2K in 1997 lasted for Exactly 23 minutes.
- All There in the Manual: Well, as far as the Timelords episode goes, anyway.
- A Wild Rapper Appears: As the norm for early 90s Euro-Dance, a rapper (either Ricardo Da Force or Isaac Bello) appears on their most popular hits.
- Black Sheep Hit: Doctorin' The Tardis was essentially an attempt to invoke this deliberately. And It Worked. They were never able to duplicate its success though, although they did have several other fairly large hits later in their career.
- Boastful Rap: Frequently, from their debut "All You Need Is Love" onwards ("We're the hottest MCs on the River Clyde!")
- Book Ends: The White Room begins with Black Steel singing the album version of Justified And Ancient but he gets cut off after the first verse. At the end of the album, he gets to finish singing the song.
- Canon Discontinuity: Their entire back catalog.
- Censored Title: ***K The Millennium. They were never going to get away with it uncensored, but at least they got to choose which letter survived.
- Clumsy Copyright Censorship: 1987 (What The Fuck Is Going On?) was pulled from the market due to having a massive amount of unauthorized sampling. In response, the band released 1987 (The JAMs 45 Edits), which consisted of all of the original material from the album with long stretches of silence where the samples were. The liner notes cited what samples would have been there, and suggested the listener could use this information to replicate the original version of the album themselves. This edited version of the album had such a small amount of actual music on it that it was formally classified as a 12 inch single.
- The only sample that remained was from "Totally Wired", by The Fall.
- Cluster F-Bomb: The full, uncensored version of "Fuck the Millennium" has over 100 uses of "fuck" in about 14 minutes.
- Concept Album: Chill Out is the soundtrack to a road trip in the Southern US.
- The first half of The White Room (Side A on vinyl) represents the group playing a live show.
- Cool Car: The Jamsmobile (aka Ford Timelord), claimed to be an ex-stuntcar and credited as the "talent" in The Timelords. Possibly parodied with the Ice Cream Van.
- Creator Backlash: Drummond later said he regretted their contribution to the War Child - Help! charity album, "The Magnificent", as an inappropriately flippant response to the civil war in Yugoslavia. The radio station sampled on the track took quite the opposite view though, going so far as to adopt it as their theme tune.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Aside from the contentious samples, Cauty and Drummond spend most of 1987 (What the Fuck Is Going On) attempting to be the British equivelant of The Beastie Boys. They continued this here and there on Who Killed the JAMs, but by the time they started recording as The KLF, most of the hip hop elements of their sound were long gone.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Both 'Justified & Ancient' and 'Last Train To Trancentral' appear in Chill Out before their eventual release on The White Room.
- For the Record, the chorus of 'Justified & Ancient' featured on Chill Out was actually sampled from the first track of 1987, 'Hey Hey We Are Not the Monkees'. 'Last Train To Trancentral' actually began life as the backing track to a different track, "Go to Sleep", featured on the 1989 version of The White Room.
- Epic Rocking: The UK version of the album Chill Out was a single, 45-minute-long track. (The American version divides the album into individual songs, but sounds identical to the UK version.)
- Everything's Louder With Bagpipes: "America No More".
- Fading into the Next Song: 1987, Chill Out, side one of The White Room. (In the latter, the fading was accomplished via crowd noises sampled from U2's Under a Blood Red Sky. These samples were removed from from the US release of The White Room, which eliminated the fading.)
- Fun with Acronyms: The Justified Ancients of Mu-Mu was frequently abbreviated as The JAMs. Cauty and Drummond gave multiple, contradictory explanations of what The KLF stood for, the most memorable being "the Kopyright Liberation Front".
- Guest Star Party Member: Jimmy and Bill recurted a number of Guest vocalist for their most popular hits. Most notably, country legend Tammy Wynette was recorded for the single version of "Justified and Ancient". Former Deep Purple member Glenn Hughes joined for "America: What Time is Love?".
- Hardcore Punk: Memorably teamed up with the crust punk/grindcore band Extreme Noise Terror for a spectacular performance at the Brit Awards.
- Heroic BSOD: It's been rumored that Bill Drummond was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, possibly due to the group's success. This was possibly the reason why the group left the music industry.
- I Have Many Names
- The Illuminati: The Justified Ancients Of Mu-Mu are named after a society from The Illuminatus! Trilogy who subvert the Illuminati by infiltrating it and feeding it false information. The KLF Communications "pyramid blaster" logo is also a parody of the "eye in the pyramid" Illuminati symbol.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: The group deleted their entire catalogue in 1992 and they've been out of print ever since. Even before then, original versions of 1987 (What the Fuck Is Going On?) were difficult to find because copyright issues resulted in it being withdrawn from circulation, as mentioned above.
- Listing Cities: "It's Grim Up North" and the full-length version of "America: What Time Is Love?".
- Missing Episode / What Could Have Been: The group were working on an album called The Black Room which would have been utterly abrasive in the style of their collaborative performance with Extreme Noise Terror. However, they decided to retire from the music industry and it was never finished or released.
- The White Room film. * Even though it never saw an actual release, most video releases by the group states "This is not The White Room" just to tease the fans.
- Mondegreen: For those who don't know about the 'Justified Ancients of Mu Mu' reference, any song lyric that references it will likely sound like something else more conventional. For example: In 3 A.M. Eternal, 'Ancients of Mu Mu' sounds like 'dancing so groovy'.
- Money To Burn:
- First, when Amanda Whitehead refused to accept the K Foundation's award for being "the worst artist of the year", Drummond and Cauty threatened to set fire to the cash prize. Whitehead accepted the cash at the last minute, saying she would donate it to charity.
- Later, when the K Foundation's art work "Nailed to the Wall"—which consisted of a million pounds in cash, nailed to an easel—failed to make the impact that they wanted, Drummond and Cauty found themselves with a million pounds and no idea what to do with it. So they burned it. And filmed the whole thing.
- New Sound Album: Chill Out was completely different from anything they'd released before, and The White Room was completely different from that. If they'd ever finished it, The Black Room was supposedly going to be a different sound again.
- Their early work as The JAMs is steeped in Hip-hop. The original version of The White Room is a mixture of House Music and synth-pop (ala Pet Shop Boys), Chill Out is ambient album, The Stadium House Trilogy is Acid House with Stadium Rock production, and what we have of The Black Room, it's Thrash Metal.
- Old Shame: The "burning a million quid" project has been seen as this by the members in later years since they realized that having the money would have meant financial security and nowadays, they see their reasons for burning the money as them being young and stupid.
- One Hit Wonder: as The Timelords, they were this.
- Overly Long Gag: ***K The Millennium in its radio edit includes a verse from the hymn Eternal Father, Strong To Save. That's a gag. The full-length version includes three - that's an Overly Long Gag.
- Production Posse:
- Mark "Spike" Stent: the band's Engineer from "Kylie Said to Jason" onward
- Bill Butt: directed The White Room Film, along with all the group's music videos.
- Rearrange the Song / Evolving Music: All their hits went through extensive rewrites, reworkings, remixes and reissues.
- Recurring Riff: Several of these, "Mu! Mu!" is probably the most iconic. Another would be guest rapper Chike's "ANCIENTS of Mu-Mu" which was reused several times, as well as the whole "They're Justified, and they're ancient...." verse.
- 1987: The Monkees '(Theme From) The Monkees', Abba 'Dancing Queen', The Beatles' 'All You Need is Love', MC5's 'Kick Out the Jams' (later to be used on the S.S.L version of 3 A.M. Eternal) just to name a few
- Chill Out: Elvis Presley's "In the Ghetto", Fleetwood Mac's "Albatross", Van Halen's "Eruption", 808 State's "Pacific", Pink Floyd's "On the Run", various preacher samples, Russian broadcasts, Tuvan throat singers, etc.
- Whitney Joins the JAMs samples I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) along with the Theme to Mission: Impossible.
- Shout Out: 'Kylie Said To Jason' is packed with these.
- The Titular "Kylie" and "Jason" being Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan, then stars in the popular Australian TV soap opera Neighbours
- Their initial name, The Justified Ancients of Mu-Mu, was taken from The Illuminatus Trilogy. The group's career is basically one huge shout out to the trilogy. Drummond and Cauty also both embraced Discordianism, which inspired the majority of their antics.
- Stage Names: Rockman Rock (Cauty) and King Boy D (Drummond). Initially these were adopted for legal reasons (Plausible Deniability) but it took about 23 seconds for everyone to find out who they really were. They kept the names anyway.
- Stylistic Suck: "Doctorin' the Tardis", a mashup of the Doctor Who theme, Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll, Pt. 2", and Sweet's "Block Buster". Intentionally written as a Springtime for Hitler, it ended up going to #1 on the charts, and provided the duo with enough material to write The Manual (How to Have a Number One the Easy Way), a satirical manual about how to achieve a hit without talent or money.
- Train Song: "Last Train To Trancentral".
- The "Mu D. Vari-Speed Version" remix has samples of Trains playing in the background while someone speeds-up and slows down the track.
- Those Two Guys
- Urban Legend of Zelda
- Rumors persist that they did a track for Manchester University. This is in fact an imitator/tribute group called The Ancients of M.U.
- It's also fairly unlikely that the alleged 2K concert ever actually happened.
- The band printed up sleeves for a few Pure Trance singles that were never pressed. They might have never even composed.
- The Madrugada Eterna single with the Club remix.
- Word Salad Lyrics: Ricardo's raps tended toward this.