The UK bootleg scene was incredibly creative in the early millennium. But few would go on to have truely successful careers in music. Freelance Hellraiser is one who did.


Essex-boy, ex-postman Roy Kerr, aka The Freelance Hellraiser, is one of the most respected creators of the UK bootleg scene. The inspiration for his name came from the passport of Oliver Reed (in which he listed ‘Hellraiser’ as his occupation). Roy gained fame with a mash-up called “A Stroke of Genius” (2001), which combined an instrumental edit of The Strokes’ track “Hard To Explain” with Christina Aguilera’s pop hit “Genie in a Bottle”. The track is a perfect example of taking two records and creating more than the sum of its parts. The Strokes stopped being a dreary rock band and got some pop glitter and Christina got some depth instead of mere pop superficiality. Although originally greeted by a cease and desist order by RCA (the label which both Aguilera and The Strokes are signed to) and never being formaly released, The Freelance Hellraiser went on to remix Aguilera’s single “Fighter”, as well as tracks for Placebo and ex-The Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft.


In 2004 he was commissioned by Paul McCartney to remix some lesser-known McCartney tracks as preshow entertainment for his tour of that year. Those tracks, and several more, were released under the name Twin Freaks. In 2006, he made his album Waiting for Clearance, featuring such artists as Jan Hammer, Iain Archer and Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody. After a busy 2007, there has been little recent news.


Although it is bootleg heresy, I was never that keen on ‘ASOG’. But ‘Want You To Know’ is a beautiful record. Here in its original pre-album 12″ form from 2003. And if you want to really hear how inventive Roy is, here’s Ballad Of A Hellraiser, an early set intro track which cuts and splices an amazing mix of music and film samples (who knew so many had characters named Roy?).


The Freelance Hellraiser – Want You To Know (White Label 12″)


The Freelance Hellraiser – Ballad Of A Hellraiser  with thanks to no1uno


The Freelance Hellraiser – A Stroke of Genie-us



Freelance Hellraiser website



~ by acidted on May 7, 2009.

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