Currently active as a writer and artist, Bill Drummond (born April 29, 1953) is best known as co-founder of The KLF, the avant-garde "pop group" of the late eighties, the K Foundation, its nineties "avant-art" media-manipulating successor, and for burning a million pounds in 1994. He has also written several books, produced a variety of different conceptual art projects (collected under the Penkiln Burn label) and helped to set-up The Foundry, a thriving arts centre set within the aegis of a public house in Shoreditch, London.
Drummond was born William E. Drummond in Butterworth, Cape Town, South Africa. His father was a preacher for the Church of Scotland. His family moved back to the United Kingdom when he was 18 months old, and he grew up in Scotland.
Originally an artist, Drummond's musical history began in 1977 with the Liverpool group Big in Japan, a band whose membership also included future luminaries Holly Johnson (Frankie Goes To Hollywood), Budgie later of The Slits, Siouxsie & The Banshees and The Creatures, Jayne Casey of Pink Military , Pink Industry and now Chief Executive of The afoundation as well as Ian Broudie (The Lightning Seeds). After the band's demise, Drummond and another member Dave Balfe started a record label and music publishing company, Zoo, acting as producers and label managers, and releasing the debut singles by Echo & The Bunnymen and The Teardrop Explodes, both of whom Drummond would later manage somewhat idiosyncratically.
He later took a job in the mainstream music business as an A&R executive for the label WEA, working with Strawberry Switchblade, Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction , The Proclaimers and Brilliant before repenting his corporate involvement, resigning his job and issuing a solo album The Man. He then teamed up with Jimmy Cauty (whom he had signed to WEA as a member of "Brilliant") to form The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, (aka The JAMs, The Timelords, The KLF and a host of other names), their idea of an "anti-band", a richly imaginative and ongoing cultural critique culled from their experiences in the music industry. Under such aegis, Drummond and Cauty enjoyed a long-running approval and reverence from the music press for their combination of wayward promotional tactics, depthful media critique, and humorous, innovative and influential dance music.
Their final act as The KLF, deleting the back-catalogue that had made them rich, was only the first indication of their growing disgust with what they had themselves contributed to the popular culture. The ultimate act, that of burning a million pounds of the profits they had made, came a few years later. More recently, Drummond has developed a reputation as a writer of wide-ranging experience and talents.
- The Manual, or How to have a Number One The Easy Way, with Jimi Cauty as The Timelords (KLF Communications, 1988)
- Bad Wisdom, with Mark Manning (Penguin Books, 1996; Creation Books, 2003)
- From the Shores of Lake Placid and other stories (Ellipsis, 1999)
- 45 (Penkiln Burn, 2000)
- How To Be An Artist (Penkiln Burn, 2002)
- Wild Highway, with Mark Manning (Creation Books, 2005)
Websites set up by Drummond