South Africa-born and Scotland borderlands-raised singer/songwriter/producer Bill "King Boy D" Drummond has been shocking audiences since the late '70s. Together with his longtime partner, Jimmy "Rockman Rock" Cauty (formerly with Killing Joke and the Love Reaction), he shocked audiences at the BRIT Awards ceremonies when he performed a thrash metal version of "3 AM Eternal" with Extreme Noise Terror in 1992. They also attracted international attention when they burned one million pounds of their own money at a boathouse on the Scottish Isle of Jura, two years later. Their motives for the burning were explored on a BBC Omnibus documentary. Launching the K Foundation, in 1993, they created a "worst art" competition in which a prize of 40,000 pounds was awarded to Rachel Whitbread.
Drummond has been veering away from the mainstream since running away to become a fisherman off the Northeast coast of Scotland as a teen. Relocating to Liverpool to study art, he worked on Ken Campbell's Science Fiction Theater's stage production of the cult book Illuminati. As a member of Liverpool-based punk rock band, Big in Japan, along with Holly Johnson of Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Ian Broudie of Lightning Seeds, Drummond made his recording debut in 1977 with several singles. He moved into production after launching Zoo Records with former Big in Japan bandmate, Dave Balfe. Moving to WEA, in the mid-'80s, Drummond oversaw recordings by Strawberry Switchblade, Zodiac Mindwarp & the Love Reaction, the Proclaimers, and Brilliant, featuring Jimmy Cauty. When the commercial failure of Brilliant's first recordings failed to attract attention, he resigned from the label and focused his efforts towards a solo career. His debut solo album, The Man, included an answer to Julian Cope's tune, "Bill Drummond Said," "Julian Cope Is Dead," suggesting that Cope commit suicide as a way to boost record sales.
After a self-imposed hiatus from music, Drummond briefly worked with Zodiac Mindwarp as King Boy D. Forming the Jams with Cauty, he released a pair of singles, "1987 (What the Fuck Is Going On)" and "Who Killed the Jam" in 1987. Their third release, "It's Grim Up North," reached the British Top Ten. Determined to have a number one hit record, Drummond and Cauty changed their name to the Timelords in 1988. Their single, "Doctorin' the Tardis," reached the top position on the British charts and inspired them to write a book, The Manual (How to Have a Number One the Easy Way). Continuing to work with Cauty, Drummond formed the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, recording their first single, "All You Need Is Love," in a week.
Changing the group's name to KLF, Drummond and Cauty experienced their greatest success. Their debut full-length album, Chill Out, was dubbed, "the first ambient house recording," and included a Top Five British hit, "What Time Is Love?." Their second album, The White Room, featured tunes originally intended for an unreleased film. A video, Stadium House (The Trilogy), was released with a short feature film, This Is What the KLF Are About. By the end of the year, they had sold more singles around the world than any other British act. They received a "Best British group" BRIT award in 1992. Setting up the K Foundation in 1993, Drummond enlisted the Red Army Choir to record an interstellar anthem, "K Cera Cera (War Is Over If You Want It)" for the group. He subsequently announced that the recording would not be released until world peace is achieved.
Drummond has continued to be involved with a variety of projects outside of music. He produced a short film, Rites of Mu, narrated by American actor Martin Sheen, on the Isle of Jura, and co-authored a book, Bad Wisdom, with Mark Manning of Zodiac Mindwarp & Love Reaction, based on their trip to the North Pole. In 1998, he published two additional books, Annual Report to the Mavericks, Writers and Pop Festival, and From the Shores of Lake Placid and Other Stories. ~ Craig Harris, Rovi