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‘Rapture Riders’ by Blondie v the Doors

Garry Mulholland on the slinky bootleg mash-up that has acquired respectability - and Debbie Harry's approval


20th November 2005

‘There is intelligence and musical knowledge involved. My ideal is to take two bands, hopefully including one that I love, like the Stooges or the Sex Pistols or XTC, and put it with a vocal track, so you have to work to match keys and make it fit musically.’

Mark Vidler, aka Go Home Productions, does this very well. So well, in fact, that his originally illegal bootleg mix – or ‘mash-up’ – melding Blondie’s 1981 hit ‘Rapture’ with the Doors’s 1971 chillout blues anthem ‘Riders on the Storm’ is now the official single from the latest Blondie greatest hits album. Call it good karma. Because DJ and remixer Vidler likes to give away bravura bootlegs like ‘Ray of Gob’ (Madonna’s ‘Ray Of Light’ vs the Pistols’s ‘God Save the Queen’ and ‘Pretty Vacant’), ‘No Feelings For Cher’ (the Pistols’s ‘No Feelings’ vs Cher’s ‘Believe’) and ‘Uptight Killer’ (Stevie Wonder being slapped around by the Killers and the Stones) for absolutely nowt, as MP3s from his gohomeproductions.com website. But, Mark, won’t I be getting you into legal hot water by mentioning these witty bits of hooligan art? ‘It’s turning into a grey area because of certain things that have appeared over the past couple of years,’ he explains, taking a break from a session in his London studio. ‘The Dangermouse thing [the Gorillaz producer’s controversial The Grey Album, a mutation of the Beatles’s White Album and The Black Album by Jay-Z ] got EMI in a twist and they slammed down an injunction. But it’s opened up areas where a lot of record companies and artists can see the benefits of things like this appearing for a week on a website. It actually promotes an artist without costing them anything.’

Ostensibly, all Vidler does on ‘Rapture Riders’ is hook the backing track of Blondie’s disco nugget up to a tougher backbeat, and then replace Debbie Harry’s ode to the dance with Jim Morrison’s dark road movie testimony. Jimbo’s gruff croon slinks through Blondie’s sleek funk, seeking and finding a new tune, melding enigmatic backwoods Americana to urban pop art. Morrison’s narrative of ‘a killer on the road/ His face is squirming like a toad’ makes a druggy B-movie connection with Debbie’s rap about an equally destructive fantasy alien cruising hedonistic New York, consuming cars and bars full of revellers. The result is strangely sexy dance-pop deluxe.

But has Vidler’s unlikely stroke of genius bagged him a meeting with the iconic Ms Harry? ‘We did it all over email. But Blondie have asked me to DJ at the after-party for their Royal Albert Hall gig, so hopefully I’ll get to meet her then.’ So, people, if you crave an audience with a living legend, blag some remix software and get mashing. Or if you want to check out adventures in bootlegging, try both Mark’s site and the entertainingly insane Get Your Bootleg On, where hundreds of mash-up mavericks give it all away.

‘Rapture Riders’ is out now as a download from iTunes and Napster, a CD single, and on Blondie’s ‘Greatest Hits: Sight & Sound’ (EMI)


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