Firestarter Lee “Scratch” Perry turns 80

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - NEWS - Jim Car­roll

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)

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