Lee Perry is the original dub mystic, the liquidator, the one-drop upsetter, the Black Ark afionaut. For this exclusive interview, K Martin received an invitation to an auhence with Perry who was on a brief visit to London. This is what happened. . .
Mick Jagger, you are a vwrWe!' The voice casting the curse is guys were makin' war all the time 'cause they wanted power. So Coxsone [Dodd, eerie, strained and instantly recognisable. The latest victim of owner of Studio One] wasn't so tuff like Duke Reid, so he wwlda give some time in Lee Perry's historicallydocumented vendettas seems ironically the studio, to get in and listen for a laugh. And so my thing he was doin' for a laugh, appropriate. In 1968, while The Rolling Stones were indulging he never knew it was serious. I had no problem with him, because it started off as a in chic, calculated and highly publicised exercises in poplaugh and I wanted it to start off somewhere; to start a thing with a laugh so it can radicalism with director Jean Luc Godard for the One Plus One film, Perry was working end as a laugh. If you start something with a laugh it will end as a laugh; if you start In musr's shadows, beglnnlng h s explorations Into the outer llmlts of sound that something wlth death ~t'llend wlth death , would have a more profound effect on the next 25 years of popular muslc's When you worked wlth DukeReld, was ~tas a tape op7
development than any number of cosmopolitan pub rock updates
No, lt was was one of those tlmes when He's a man who loved news He wanted
Havlng served ha apprent~cesh~pIn the 60s studlos of Cowone Dodd and Joe to be the news and he wanted to hear the news of what's happenln' all the tlme G~bbs,produced Bob Marley's flrst recordngs, Influenced Kng Tubby and Informed Who's up and who's down? So that he could laugh But those sorta people, I don't Adrlan Sherwood's chaouc methodology, Lee 'Scratch' Perry has acted as reggae's enjoy them, I don't enjoy people who laugh at the small people I enjoy the people splrlt gulde and a ndustry's perpetual thorn In the stde for over three decades who try and share the vlew of the small people Not the b ~ ggiants
Throughout that time, he has adopted a number of cunning, pseudonymous So when you set up the Upsetter label, it wasn't because you were inspired by what personalities which have served as both self-protection devices and recyclable you hadseen Duke Reiddo? commodities in a notoriously shark infested economy. The Upsetter, Pipecock Jaxxon, No, I called it the Upsetter label so I could upset everybody to create an upset The Duppy Conqueror: Perry has constructed a personal mythology that, in Didit work? contemporary black music, is riialled only by that of Sun Ra. Of course, as mad as what happen now.
Born Rainford Hugh Perry, details of his date and place of birth remain obscure When you brought out those early instn~mentalslike "Return Of Django", "Night (although the place might be Hanover or St Nary). A country boy who moved to Doctof.. . Kingston's urban sprawl, his childhood exposure to the Bible and the supernatural It was a series of gunfights from the OK Corral continues to haunt his music. One part seer, one part info-scrambler, Perry has So they were inspiredby Westerns? produced some of dub's most disorientating moments, mostly working out of his Yeah, my mind in those days as a kid was strictly Texas. So me say, 'It's now not an 1 . - , legendary Kingston studio, Black Ark Open to influences as diverse as James Brown, illusion, I bring it to reality.' Because I am a painter. I paint it and it come alive. For
Motown, Ennio Morricone and The Beatles, Perry filters infinite info through the Marley's portraits [on the sleeve of the Jamaican issue of the Soul Revolution studio's hyperreality, filling dub's open spaces with primitive sound effects, animal album1 I give him a [plastic toy] gun, I give Bunny [Wailer] a gun and I give Peter noises and, most prophetically, TV soundbites on such revolutionary albums as Dub [Toshl a gun. I have all the guns. I mean I am the gun controller. That's what I was Revduthm and !3@er Ape. showin' them.
Peny now llves In the Babylonlan heartland of Zurlch. I met w~thhim In March at When you chose to make~nstmmentals,was ~tto leave space for the 1mag1nat1on7 London's Arlwa studlos, where he was recording a new album wlth Nell 'Mad I am a rebel I am a revolut~onaryI revolt for the poor people Otherw~seI take up Professor' Fraser Clutching a block of hash the size of a large pocket encycloped~a, the form of Robln Hood several tlmes 6 slmng next to hls personal Inflatable globe which was reflected In the mlrrors on hls Stra~ghtfrom The Magn~f~centSeven? W
o n e - l i ~ sand hallucinatory conjunctrons. .
boots, hs speech, llke hls muslc, was llttered wlth revelatory observatms, drop-dead I love that [Yells out loud] I am Robln Hood1 Belleve ~tor not I am If you 'ave to W
ask, who sent I? I sent myself How aware of Ennlo Morncone'sfim scores for A Fistful Of Dollars etc, were you a t earliest m u s ~ a lconnectton?
LP. In those days you have to be a tuffy, and to make it you
Yeah man Those were the tlmes I would be influenced by A Flstfvl Of Dollars
Gonna be a blg shot or maybe at the OK Corral Deal Itsounded11keyou were trylng to relocate Texas ln outer space Of course, that was In space at that tlme That was my reallty It was not a jest or a l
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