Their subversive intrusions into ordinary mediated reality made the Sex Pistols look like Engelbert Humperdinck..
The KLF (otherwise known as The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, The JAMs and the Timelords) were huge in Great Britain in the late 1980s into the mid 1990s but here in America they were virtually unknown.
Today, August 23, in Liverpool, they return after a 23 year hiatus to do … something. We don’t know what. And yes, all this 23 stuff and JAM stuff refers to Robert Anton Wilson’s various playful obsession.
Among other things, KLF and its various other monickers
* were sued for sampling Dancing Queen by ABBA and dramatically burned most of the records
* had a popular acid house song “What Time Is Love” that appeared in various versions over a period of six years
• had a number one hit globally with a song called “Doctorin’ The Tardis” (under The Timelords monicker)
• released a version of their song “Justified and Ancient” with vocals by Tammy Wynette (with her cooperation)
By 1991, the KLF and their various disguises were the number one record selling act in the world. Given this and their situationist/discordian ideals, they had to destroy themselves… extravagantly.
At their highly anticipated performance at the 1992 Brit Awards — in collaboration with Extreme Noise Terror — they fired machine gun blanks at the audience. Then, at the Brit Awards after party they dumped a dead sheep with a sign reading, “I died for you—bon appetite.” This middle finger to the music industry marked their departure from the game. Not only did they stop recording, they deleted their entire digital back catalogue.
They then formed the K Foundation, a kind of dadaist media company, to spend the money they were still making by the circulation of their records, rights, royalties etc. After taking some strange quixotic advertisements in various rock magazines, the K Foundation decided to burn 1,000,000 pounds cash. On August 23, 1994, they did the deed, which was filmed. They then vowed — in a sign contract — to disband K Foundation and not to discuss the burning of the cash for 23 years.
That moratorium ends today August 23, 2017. They are hosting a three day event in Liverpool titled “Welcome To The Dark Ages.” It’s not entirely clear what will occur, but we hope to get some reports. Will they answer the question… why? We will try to keep you posted.
Read the full story of the KLF — The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band Who Burned A Million Pounds by John Higgs