When the “A Little Less Conversation” and “Rubberneckin'” remixes were released in 2002 and 2003, respectively, the underground mix scene quickly picked up on the scene and several remixes were released without the authorization of Sony/BMG or Elvis’s estate.
Underground remixes began where most people would think they would: in clubs. DJ’s mixed and “mashed” songs together or added their own sound effects or loops to an already existing master they had in their possession and would create their own customized version of the song.
With the rise of the internet, bootleg remixes, not just of Elvis, but of any artist in general, rose quickly into popularity, especially with easily obtainable and easy-access audio editing programs, and quick means of release, like video sites like YouTube.
The earliest of some of these “boot” remixes were alternate mixes of the already-released tracks “Little Less Conversation” and “Rubberneckin’.” Skeewiff, a duo of DJs, were the first to make an unofficial remix of “ALLC,” and instead of following JXL’s lead and using the Comeback Special rerecording, they used the original master take from “Live a Little, Love a Little.” The different in tone is astounding. Where JXL’s mix has serious bite and begs to be danced to, Skeewiff’s is far more laid back.
A “mash-up” is when you take one song’s vocal track and lay it over a different song’s background track, or vice-versa. Some results are disastrous, where others are surprisingly similar and work very well together, usually due to similarities in key changes. Simple audio editing can be used to match tempo together. An early bootleg Elvis mix mashed up the “Little Less Conversation” film master (I guess the remixers didn’t realize that JXL used a different master) and combines it with the dance hit “Pump Up the Volume” by M/A/R/R/S.
A second underground mash-up, done around the same as the offical Rubberneckin’ remixes, mashed up said track with Pink’s “Feel Good Time” from the soundtrack to the film Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. Arguably the most “danceable” of all the tracks, it’s a good combination of two very different songs.
This remix of Rubberneckin’, interestingly enough, was created just PRIOR to release of the official remix by Paul Oakenfold and actually did chart in the UK, which is especially surprising, considering it wasn’t offically endorsed by EPE or Sony. This remix is perhaps the most intriguing of all though, not just for that reason. The mix was created completely from elements within the multi-track tapes of the master recording. Nothing was added, everything simply rearranged. The other remixes here were likely done using an mp3 of a master track and editing that. However, this mix was created by Joseph Pirzada, who later became famous in the Elvis world for his UK-exclusive releases under the “Memphis Recording Studios” label that was basically an independent answer to Sony’s Elvis-exclusive Follow That Dream label, which is headed by longtime Elvis recording “master,” Ernst Jorgensen.
(NOTE: The audio on this video is the “Cognito” remix that charted in the UK, however, much like so many remixes online, and especially on YouTube, has been misattributed in its video description.)
Pirzada actually has, over time, acquired several master tapes and sources that are not only usually public unavailable, but sometimes even unavailable to even Sony/BMG. From a copy of the original master tracks of “Rubberneckin’,” he created what became known as the “Rubberneckin’ Groove Mix.”
And a year later, when Elvis remix fans were begging for a new remix, when Sony/BMG didn’t deliver, Joseph Pirzada did.