The Reggae Pioneer Tells The Fader About New Music, Old Studios, and Negative Influence

Lee “Scratch” Perry, who crafted sounds for Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and countless others while releasing genre-formative albums of his own, is relaxing in a grand old English guest house in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire. He has just gotten through performing at the Lakefest Music Festival and is wearing a full red suit covered with dollar, pound, and Euro signs written in Magic Marker; his baseball cap is adorned with metallic badges, a large circular mirror, and a pinecone-shaped chunk of crystal perched on the brim. When he speaks, his words, like his clothes and his tunes, are freewheeling, arcane, and ceaseless. From a small settee, he holds forth on a wide range of subjects, including his new signee, Iguana, his return-to-form new album Back on the Controls, which he recorded in a replica of his legendary Black Ark recording studio, and why he feels guilty about the marijuana culture his art helped to spread to the masses. Video After The Jump…


You’ve had major influence in the world of reggae as one of the pioneers of the genre. How have you seen it change over the years?

Well, the whole thing about it… For me to say “reggae” me just say that to make the people who living off it live. Right? But the music itself is a spiritual organization that I put together. And because of the other people in Jamaica there wasn’t a name for it. It was like a weapon, a revolution weapon to correct or to make connection with the American funky. Like, to fight against the funky. So it did not have a name and they wanted to know what they should call it. So they want to say, “Let’s call it reggae.” But it name revolution music. Redemption music. Revolution music. But because of the people who are suffering like sufferers and they are rebels. “Streggae” the sufferer mean, so me join it as a fun.

(Via The Fader)

Photograph & videos shot by Mark James

Scratch Interview Part 1: “The Duppies Like White Rum”

Scratch Interview Part 2: “The Black Ark Cripple, Cramp & Paralyze”


Scratch Interview Part 3 “What would you do with that in bed?”


Scratch Interview Part 4 “I Used to be Addicted to Marijuana”

Subscribe to Boomshots TV

Follow @ReshmaB_RGAT

Follow @Boomshots