So, The JAMS (short for Justified Ancients of Mu Mu) were better known in the United States as The KLF>. We’ve heard them once before here at Teatro Triste del Clown when Memo shared their cover of the Dr. Who theme (which they originally recorded as The Timelords). As near as I can tell, members Bill Drummond (King Boy D) and Jimmy Cauty (Rockman Rock) were either trolling the entire music industry, trying to push the boundaries of artistic expression or were just insane. Maybe all three.
The next bunch of tracks are from their recalled and destroyed album 1987 (What the Fuck is Going On). A bizarre pastiche of old school rapping, criminal sampling, deadpan female singing and half-assed saxophone work, the album included such extensive samples of ABBA’s song “Dancing Queen” on one track that their label basically forced them to recall the album right after it was released. It was impossible to suppress an album in the 80′s, so of course the advent of the Internet meant that it became fairly easy to find a boot of this record somewhere.
The thing about 1987 is that is a terrible record. It has moment of brilliance, but even those moments are terrible. I think its overarching awfulness is kind of the artistic point of the record. Its a tremendous idea for an album – that people will listen to almost any crap you feed them if it gets a buzz – but, by necessity of its very premise, it has to be awful.
This, to me, is the ultimate KLF/JAMS moment. They appeared on the Brit Music awards, played a speed core version of their biggest hit, and pretended to open fire on the audience with machine guns. The next day, they quit the music business and deleted their entire back catalog so nobody could accuse them of doing it to make money:
The KLF vs. Extreme Noise Terror – 3AM Eternal by popefucker
Later, Drummond and Cauty literally burned a million pounds as an artistic gesture.
So, my point here, is that if the album is terrible and an assault on your senses, they did it right.
“Hey Hey We Are Not The Monkees” samples heavily from, well, The Monkees. After some rapping by Drummond, a chorus of extremely bored sounding women (they are all over this album) start to sing the “they’re justified and their ancient…” line that they reused in some of their later songs – notably, the KLF’s “Justified and Ancient” featuring Tammy Wynette:
I’ve already listened to this album more than I ever want to listen to it, so I’m going to try and get through the rest of this as painlessly as possible.