Over an incredibly prolific and lengthy 50-plus year career as a producer, artist and record label exec, much ink has been spilled over the legendary and influential Lee “Scratch” Perry, which would make delving deep into his backstory a bit unnecessary — and beyond the purview of this particular post. However, what I will say is this: as a producer and as an artist, Perry along with Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Burning Spear, Toots and the Maytals and several others, is instrumental in popularizing reggae across the world. And of course, with that in mind, Perry’s influence may be as far reaching as Marley’s in this respect — not only has Perry worked with a number of Jamaica’s and reggae’s most revered artists on some of their most beloved releases, he’s credited with being the forefather of the dub sound, a sound that several generations have just automatically associated with all things psychedelic and reggae.
Perry turned 79 this past March and remarkably the man has managed to remain youthful, vital, challenging, forward-thinking and as innovative as ever with a number of writers and critics considering the Perry’s work over the past decade or so as being avant garde performance art — but he’s also managed to collaborate with an impressive number of artists over the years including The Beastie Boys, The Orb, Felix Da Housecat and countless others proving to be examples of the man’s seemingly inexhaustible creativity.
Tonight, the reggae legend will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the release of Super Ape with Subatomic Sound System for the Dub Champions Festival at Brooklyn Bowl, and in honor of that occasion, I wanted to share a few videos of Mr. Perry to give you a sense of what it’s like to catch him live — and why I’m so excited to catch him live again.
Lee “Scratch” Perry “Dub Those Crazy Baldheads” — Live at Summer Jam 2011, Cologne, Germany.
Lee “Scratch” Perry and Subatomic Sound System “War Ina Babylon” Live at Coachella 2013.
Lee “Scratch” Perry and The Orb “Hold Me Upsetter,” off The ORBSERVER in the star house.