Firestarter Lee “Scratch” Perry turns 80
The one and only Lee “Scratch” Perry turns 80 on March 20 – you can help him celebrate on his Irish tour next month. Here are five snapshots from the life of Lee.
1The producer cut his teeth under the tutelage of the legendary Coxsone Dodd, first as a record seller for Dodd’s sound system and then as a producer on around 30 records at Studio One in Kingston. As would become the norm, the pair fell out and Perry skedaddled.
2His Black Ark studio was where his work for Bob Marley, The Congos, Max Romeo, Junior Murvin (“Police & Thieves”) and others took dub and reggae to new heights. By 1978, he had enough due to stress and financial problems and the studio was burned to the ground (Perry maintains he lit the match himself).
3The list of Perry collaborators continues to grow with the likes of Adrian Sherwood, Animal Collective, Andrew WK and The Orb among those added to the list in recent times.
4He’s lived in Switzerland in recent years, but his Secret Laboratory studio was destroyed in a fire last December. Perry says he forgot to put out a candle, losing his recording equipment, costumes, books and music collection.
5He remains a unique interviewee. Here’s the man on his biggest contribution to the world: “Happiness. There’s a thing here called stress that’s been sent here to test mankind – stress and distress, problem and trouble, and evil spirits. I have the power to chase the evil spirit away. I have the power to conquer the duppies. And I have the power to conquer evil.”
Lee “Scratch” Perry plays plays Dublin’s Academy (March 3), Limerick’s Dolan’s (4), Galway’s Róisín Dubh (5) and Cork’s Cyprus Avenue (6)