Lee “Scratch” Perry OD (Order of Distinction) was born Rainford Hugh Perry in1936 in Jamaica. He is a music producer and inventor well-known for his innovative studio techniques and production style. According to Caribbean News Now, in the 1970s, Perry propelled Bob Marley and countless other Jamaican musicians’ careers to an international level. He also pioneered dub music, which, later, gave rise to hip-hop. Stephen Cooper writes:
It’s hard to gauge the immensity of Lee “Scratch” Perry’s contributions to music. By dint of boundless passion, creativity, and preternatural skills at the mixing board, Perry, known as “The Upsetter,” not only propelled Bob Marley and countless other Jamaican musicians’ careers to international stardom – he pioneered dub music, which, in turn, birthed hip-hop.
That’s why, without hyperbole, Ibrahim “Ebro” Darden, a radio host for Hot 97 in New York City and a DJ on Beats 1 (an Apple Music internet radio service), posted to his Twitter account on October 23: “Today I interviewed THE most important person in music culture of the last 60 years, Lee Scratch Perry.” It’s also why veteran radio personality and reggae expert Junor Francis, his voice trembling with heartfelt emotion, could barely contain his excitement when called onstage the night of November 1 to introduce Perry at Los Angeles’ popular Dub Club.
Perry, in town to promote his new album “Super Ape Returns to Conquer” – a sonically superb reimagining of his classic ‘76 Super Ape album – played a spiritual, spellbinding, two-and-a-half-hour-plus set backed by New York City’s Subatomic Sound System. The capacity crowd knew they were watching a living legend and might never get the chance again; most would have stayed all night watching the octogenarian perform if they could have, swaying, skanking, and smiling with the rising sun.
Throughout the performance adoring fans reached out to shake Perry’s hand and present him with all kinds of gifts including clothes, jewelry, even a stunningly life-like and life-sized portrait a super-fan had painted and passed up on to the stage. More than anything the jubilant reggae faithful just wanted to show Perry their love and undying appreciation.
When finally, at 2 am, Emch, Subatomic’s band leader informed the still spry “Scratch” they simply had to end the show, deafening chants of “Lee Scratch Perry” rose up as Perry exited stage left, arms raised high above his head in triumph. The “Super Ape” had returned to Los Angeles, and no question about it, he conquered. [. . .]
[Photo above: Lee “Scratch” Perry performing at the Dub Club in Los Angeles; courtesy of Stephen A. Cooper.]
To read the interview with Lee “Scratch” Perry, go to http://wp.caribbeannewsnow.com/2017/11/26/lee-scratch-perrys-underground-truths-las-dub-club-interview/