World’s wackiest band burnt £1m, buried BRIT at Stonehenge and fired gun at fans

British musicians don’t get much wackier than The KLF who are back in the news after promising to help “ravers to the grave” with a new care home business.

The eccentric duo of Bill Drummond, 70, and Jimmy Cauty, 66, want to look after their older fans by offering “branding solutions” to care homes. They said:” KLF Kare will take you where the sun keeps shining, through the pouring rain.”

But such compassion was something the electro pop legends were accused of not having during the 90s when they raised all sorts of hell.

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And below, we look back at some of their most bonkers stunts on and off stage from burning extraordinary amounts of cash to bringing a dead sheep to a party, something that made them regarded as one of the wackiest bands in the world.

Who are The KLF?

The KLF is an acronym for Kopyright Liberation Front and they were founded in 1987 and critics went on to describe them as “acid house prankers” and an “obtuse piss-take”.

But Bill and Jimmy achieved lofty success in rave culture and their memorable hits include Last Train to Trancentral and of course the hit Justified and Ancient.

Four years after forming, they were the bestselling British music act in the world having often appeared in the American charts. But their incendiary antics and various ways of taking the mick out of the music industry defined their legacy in pop culture.

Burning £1million

Their most infamous moment came 550 miles away from the rave scene in London at a remote boathouse on the Scottish island of Jura in August 1994.

In a bizarre deed in the early hours of the morning, Bill and Jimmy were filmed casually tossing £1million in cash, which they earned from selling records, into a bonfire.

They methodically placed £50 notes into the fire after announcing their retirement from live performances – and it caused uproar in the following months.

Many pointed out that the significant amount of cash could have gone to a worthy charity, but Jimmy hit back by saying: “There’s plenty of people who want to give money to charity. We want to do something we found more interesting with the money.”

Journalist Jim Reid took the ferry to Jura with the unpredictable musicians and he was the only one to witness their burning.

He later wrote in The Observer: “The fireplace is a rough affair. Occasional fifties get wedged in crevices above the fire before they eventually fall down to be destroyed. Cauty is poking at the fire with a stick, moving the bigger bundles into the heat. Whole blocks of 50 grand remain resolutely unburnt: singed, charred, but perfectly legal.

“We have a bottle of whisky with us and it is passed round as if nothing could be more natural than burning £1 million on a remote Scottish island in the middle of the night. This is the truly shocking thing about the evening. It almost seems inevitable.”

Bill later acknowledged that he regretted it, and said his kids were quick to ask questions after hearing about it in school. Speaking to the BBC in 2004, he said: “Of course I regret it – who wouldn’t. My kids especially regret it, but I don’t regret it all the time.

“ I remember once, one of my children came home from school and said ‘somebody told me in the playground that you once burned a hundred quid – is it true?’I said, ‘I wish that was true’.”

BRIT Awards chaos

In 1992, two years before the cash burning incident, The KLF caused carnage with their unforgettable performance at The BRIT Awards.

During it, Bill suddenly left the stage before returning with a machine gun, which he used to fire blanks into the crowd that contained industry bigwigs.

Bill, who was wearing a kilt and using a crutch, screamed that “this is television freedom” before declaring “KLF have left the music industry” to the stunned audience.

But a report in the NME in February that year stated that the group was banned from going to further extremes because they wanted to chuck buckets of blood out during the show.

They had also collected a sheep earlier in the day from a slaughterhouse in Northampton in the hopes of cutting open the dead animal live on stage.

Threats of legal repercussions and other music groups taking umbrage meant this did not happen, but they still managed to cause a scene with the carcass. This came hours later when they dumped the sheep at an after party before later burying their BRIT Award at Stonehenge.

Pyramid of human ashes

If you thought that The KLF saved all their bombastic behaviour for the 1990s, you would be wrong, because in 2017 they raised more eyebrows.

That’s because they announced the ‘People’s Pyramid’ – essentially a pyramid of bricks containing human ashes.

But after recently launching their KLF Kare business, Ted Lasso actor Vince Williams was quick to point out the irony. He said: “Hold on, don’t they also have a business where when you die they put your ashes in a People’s Pyramid? Are they just building up the supply of ashes?”

The questionable project was formed after Jimmy’s brother, Simon, killed himself the year before in 2016 and his remains were in the first brick laid in Liverpool.

Speaking to the BBC, Jimmy said it was “a really fitting start to the whole project” before adding: “It’s interesting to be in a bad that doesn’t make records but only makes pyramids of dead people.

“It’s easy to make it sound like a joke but it isn’t a joke, it’s deadly serious and it’s a long-term project.”

They want the pyramid in Toxteth to eventually be made of more than 34,000 bricks and to visit the strange structure, people had to simply take an empty supermarket trolley with them.

According to a report in the Liverpool Echo, those interested can buy a brick for £99 before 23g of their ashes are placed inside it after taking their final breath.

Bricks are laid every November for what is known as the Toxteth Day of the Dead and and a statement on its website states that it is “being built on its foundation stone and housed in a customised shipping container. This is so it can be moved to different sites for each Toxteth Day of the Dead until a permanent site is found”.

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