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Photo by David Katz
Lee 'Scratch' Perry
Lee 'Scratch' Perry
Master of the Black Ark, Lee "Scratch" Perry may be moving from dub to dubstep but all the better to trample your soul underfoot this Thu, Feb 9 at C-Halle, along with digital disciple Mad Professor.
Arguably the most important producer in the history of reggae, 69-year-old Lee "Scratch" Perry has long used a Mad Hatter personae to cloak a haberdashery empire.
Instrumental in the creation of dub music, Bob Marley's shepherd before he broke big, and a voice of inscrutable philosophy on wax, his influence on modern music is deep as a pig's latrine.
He married well and moved to Switzerland, but still spends considerable time in Kingston, and he continues to tour, showing up at the Kesselhaus in the Kulturbrauerei on Friday, December 2.
Aside from music, what else are you interested in right now?
Art. Art is life. And the animals. All the animals you see there, if any human being would be like one of them, that human being would be fucking lucky.
You keep rabbits and fish in the front yard of your home in Kingston, the same place where you used to have your legendary Black Ark studio.
They were here in the beginning, before any human being was here. When the cannibals was here, the rabbit was here and they had some vegetarians. They swear not to be anything but vegetarian for ever, and then maybe bacteria or fronteria or side-teria cause a problem…
If human being don't care who God is, He don't owe them any favour. When the human being is showing ungratefulness to God, running down on this and not praising God, killing the animal and eating the animal dead meat and drinking blood, then what favour should God owe them?
If God should know them…meat eating, blood drinking…God is not stupid. God is forever and God is live and watching people, and him say, "Thou shall not kill".
Him didn't say to kill a man, neither the animal. You see, the facts is there. God put us here, and before the human was here, there was the animal, and then the human come, the first thing him decide to kill the animal and eat the animal.
So what kind of favour should God owe people like those? Unless God is partial, and God cannot be partial, God can't owe those people any favour. They are supposed to repent: they are dying.
People start to do something that them shouldn't do. That's the invisible spirit of the devil who tell them to do that, 'cause they don't want to see them die. Like what the devil said to Eve, and that's the sweetest part of it, just fuck it and find out what happen. When he see what happened, look how Adam gwan, his brain is here. Who's going to feed him?
Right, but who could resist that?
Well it's the same devil spirit that tell the woman that God a fool her, 'cause that is the secret, not to eat the food. And the sweetest fuck, the fuck is so nice. And when they started to fuck, look how much unwanted children and gonorrhoea, disease. Where you think them coming from? Sucking pussy and fucking pussy and eating dead meat. Drinking blood.
So what do you intend to do now?
Kill who must be killed.
By what means?
By the power that's been vested in I. This is the power invested in I: I am the Lord of the Rings, and I'm wearing King David's ring too. I won't do it for evil. I represent good over evil. So I want to see how strong the evil eye here, as I am here to wipe out all the evil here…
I was rich when I started, and when I mix up with those ghetto people, I end up poor. What them carry on is not good. So I'm going to be careful, I don't want to get poor any more. It's death to any oppressor whether black or white…but I won't go like Michael Jackson and get kaput. The colour won't change but this can change, I change it [indicates heart]. It's white, it's not black any more.
Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Of course, because it was too black.
What would have happened if it had stayed black?
Then the devil would take over, because the devil worship, the devil's god is black magic…Me no want those people amongst me, the Jamaican artists, they practice Obeah. Obeah is no good. Obeah bring torturing, sorcering, disease and destruction, curse. It's not good to wake the dead.
They did that in Egypt and God said "Me no know them" from there, and gave the black people ransom and say give Egypt… make you know the truth yet, and they can't fight against me because me antiblack.
I am anti-black! I am the ruler of the universe all the time, and all the people that you see me trying must get a test, if them in life for a change.
God can do anything. So the only thing I could try to happen was to die, I could not die. And these people, I don't even think I have any responsibility for them.
Seen any good movies recently?
Movies, one time me used to like gangsterism, and me see the rebel come and those people was the devil, so most of them me want to put away.
So what do you watch now?
Me. I watch me.
Originally published in December 2005.
The Roots of the Dub Step Tour, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Mad Professor, The Robotiks, The Dynamics Thu, Feb 9, 20:00 | C-Club, Columbiadamm 9-11, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf Platz der Luftbrücke