Lee "Scratch" Perry
|Lee "Scratch" Perry|
|Birth name||Rainford Hugh Perry|
|Also known as||Pipecock Jackxon
20 March 1936 |
|Genres||Reggae, dub, ska, rocksteady, drum and bass|
Lee "Scratch" Perry CD (born Rainford Hugh Perry, 20 March 1936, Kendal, Jamaica) is a seminal Jamaican reggae producer noted for his innovative studio techniques and production values. Perry was one of the pioneers in the development of dub music with his early adoption of effects and remixing to create new instrumental or vocal versions of existing reggae tracks. Perry has worked with Bob Marley & the Wailers, Junior Murvin, The Congos and Max Romeo.
Perry's musical career began in the late 1950s as a record seller for Clement Coxsone Dodd's sound system. As his sometimes turbulent relationship with Dodd developed, he found himself performing a variety of important tasks at Dodd's Studio One hit factory, going on to record nearly thirty songs for the label. Disagreements between the pair due to personality and financial conflicts, a recurring theme throughout Perry's career, led him to leave the studio and seek new musical outlets. He soon found a new home at Joe Gibbs's Amalgamated Records.
Working with Gibbs, Perry continued his recording career but, once again, financial problems caused conflict. Perry broke ranks with Gibbs and formed his own label, Upsetter, in 1968. His first major single "People Funny Boy", which was an insult directed at Gibbs, sold well with 60,000 copies sold in Jamaica alone. It is notable for its innovative use of a sample (a crying baby) as well as a fast, chugging beat that would soon become identifiable as "reggae" (the new kind of sound which was given the name "Steppers"). Similarly his acrimonious 1967 single as Lee "King" Perry Run for Cover was likewise aimed at Sir Coxsone. From 1968 until 1972 he worked with his studio band The Upsetters. During the 1970s, Perry released numerous recordings on a variety of record labels that he controlled, and many of his songs were popular in both Jamaica and the UK. He soon became known for his innovative production techniques as well as his eccentric character. In 1970 Perry produced and released The Wailers track "Mr Brown" (1970) with its unusual use of studio effects and eerie opening highlighting his unique approach to production.
The Black Ark
In the early 1970s, Perry was one of the producers whose mixing board experiments resulted in the creation of dub. In 1973, Perry built a studio in his back yard, The Black Ark, to have more control over his productions and continued to produce notable musicians such as Bob Marley & the Wailers, Junior Byles, Junior Murvin, The Heptones, The Congos and Max Romeo. With his own studio at his disposal, Perry's productions became more lavish, as the energetic producer was able to spend as much time as he wanted on the music he produced. Virtually everything Perry recorded in The Black Ark was done using basic recording equipment; through sonic sleight-of-hand, Perry made it sound unique. Perry remained behind the mixing desk for many years, producing songs and albums that stand out as a high point in reggae history.
By 1978, stress and unwanted outside influences began to take their toll: both Perry and The Black Ark quickly fell into a state of disrepair. Eventually, the studio burned to the ground. Perry has constantly insisted that he burned the Black Ark himself in a fit of rage. After the demise of the Black Ark in the early 1980s, Perry spent time in England and the United States, performing live and making erratic records with a variety of collaborators. His career took a new path in 1985 when he met Mark Downie (Marcus Downbeat) with whom he worked on the 1986 album "Battle Of Armagideon" for Trojan. It was not until the late 1980s, when he began working with British producers Adrian Sherwood and Neil Fraser (who is better known as Mad Professor), that Perry's career began to get back on solid ground again. Perry also has attributed the recent resurgence of his creative muse to his deciding to quit drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis. Perry stated in an interview that he wanted to see if "it was the smoke making the music or Lee Perry making the music. I found out it was me and that I don't need to smoke."
In 2003, Perry won a Grammy for Best Reggae Album with the album Jamaican E.T.. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked Perry #100 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. More recently, he teamed up with a group of Swiss musicians and performed under the name Lee Perry and the White Belly Rats, and toured the United States in 2006 and 2007 using the New York City-based group Dub Is A Weapon as his backing band. Currently there are two films made about his life and work: Volker Schaner's Vision Of Paradise and The Upsetter by film-makers Ethan Higbee and Adam Bhala Lough.
After meeting Andrew W.K. at SXSW in 2006, Perry invited him to co-produce his album Repentance. The album, released on 19 August 2008, on Narnack Records, featured several guest artists including Moby, Ari Up, producer Don Fleming, drummer Brian Chippendale and bassist Josh Werner.
In 2008, Perry reunited with Adrian Sherwood on The Mighty Upsetter.. Between 2007 and 2010, Perry recorded three albums with British producer, Steve Marshall. The albums featured performances by Keith Richards, and George Clinton. Two of these albums, End Of An American Dream (2008) and Revelation (2010), received Grammy nominations in the category Best Reggae Album.
In 2009, Perry collaborated with Dubblestandart, on their Return from Planet Dub double album, revisiting some of his material from the 1970s and 1980s, as well as collaborating on new material with Dubblestandart, some of which also included Ari Up of The Slits. In 2008 leading up to this release, Perry's first foray into the dubstep genre was released on 12" vinyl, a collaboration with Dubblestandart and New York City's Subatomic Sound System called "Iron Devil". That record was followed by several more reggae oriented dubstep collaborations with Dubblestandart and Subatomic Sound System on digital and vinyl, first Blackboard Jungle Vols. 1 & 2 (2009), which featured dancehall vocalist Jahdan Blakkamoore and then Chrome Optimism (2010) which also featured American filmmaker David Lynch. Following that, in 2010, Scratch and Ari Up of The Slits on a limited edition Subatomic Sound System 7" called "Hello, Hell Is Very Low", a rootical dubstep tracks that would turn out to be one of Ari Up's last recordings and the final release during her lifetime.
In 2007, Perry's song "Enter the Dragon" was sampled on the track "Carrots" by Panda Bear of Animal Collective. As well, Perry was selected by Animal Collective in 2011 to perform at All Tomorrow's Parties, which the band curated in May 2011. That same year, he recorded Rise Again with bassist and producer Bill Laswell; the album featured contributions from Tunde Adebimpe, Sly Dunbar and Bernie Worrell, and was released on Laswell's M.O.D. Technologies label.
In 2010, Perry had his first ever solo art exhibition at Dem Passwords art gallery in Los Angeles, California. The show entitled "Secret Education" featured works on canvas, paper, and a video installation.
In 2011, The Upsetter, narrated by Benicio Del Toro was released worldwide in theaters after its premiere at the 2008 SXSW Film Festival. The film was directed and produced by the American film makers Ethan Higbee and Adam Bhala Lough and opened in Los Angeles in March 2011 and continued to screen world wide into 2012, with the DVD, ITUNES and Video On Demand release soon following
In 2012, Perry teamed with The Orb to produce The Orbserver in the Star House, which was recorded in Berlin over a period of several months. The album earned critical acclaim, and featured the single "Golden Clouds", named after the historic property located near Perry’s hometown in Jamaica. In August 2012 it was announced that Perry would received Jamaica's sixth highest honour, the Order of Distinction, Commander class.
In 2013, Perry performed at the first Dub Champions Festival in Vienna, a sold out performance, backed by Dubblestandart with Adrian Sherwood handling the dub mix. Perry also performed at the first two Dub Champions Festivals in New York City in 2011 and 2012, backed by Subatomic Sound System. Perry performed at the 2013 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California.
Perry currently resides in Switzerland, with his wife Mireille and two children.
- The Upsetter (1969)
- Return of Django (1969)
- Clint Eastwood (1970)
- Many Moods of the Upsetters (1970)
- Scratch the Upsetter Again (1970)
- The Good, the Bad and the Upsetters (1970)
- Eastwood Rides Again (1970)
- Africa's Blood (1972)
- Cloak and Dagger (1973)
- Rhythm Shower (1973)
- Upsetters 14 Dub Blackboard Jungle aka Blackboard Jungle Dub (1973)
Black Ark era
- Double Seven (1974)
- DIP Presents the Upsetter (1975)
- Musical Bones (1975)
- Return of Wax (1975)
- Kung Fu Meets the Dragon aka Heart of the Dragon (1975)
- Revolution Dub (1975)
Black Ark/Island era
- Super Ape aka Scratch the Super Ape (1976)
- War ina Babylon (with The Upsetters) (1976)
- Colombia Colly (with The Upsetters) (1976)
- Police and Thieves (with The Upsetters) (1977)
- Party Time (with The Upsetters) (1977)
- Heart of the Congos (1977)
- Super Eight (1977) aka To Be a Lover (with The Upsetters) (1978)
- Roast Fish Collie Weed & Corn Bread (1978)
- Return of the Super Ape (1978)
- The Return of Pipecock Jackxon (1980)
- Mystic Miracle Star (with the Majestics) (1982)
- Megaton Dub (1983)
- History, Mystery & Prophecy (1984)
- Battle Of Armagideon (Millionaire Liquidator) (1986)
- Time Boom X De Devil Dead (with Dub Syndicate) (1987)
- On the Wire (1988)
- Satan Kicked the Bucket (with Bullwackie) (1988)
- Chicken Scratch (1989)
- Mystic Warrior (1989)
- Mystic Warrior Dub (with Mad Professor) (1989)
- From The Secret Laboratory (with Dub Syndicate) (1990)
- Message From Yard (with Bullwackie) (1990)
- Satan's Dub (with Bullwackie) (1990)
- Lord God Muzik (1991)
- Sounds From The Hotline (1991)
- The Upsetter and The Beat (1992)
- Excaliburman (1992)
- Spiritual Healing (1994)
- Black Ark Experryments (with Mad Professor) (1995)
- Experryments at the Grass Roots of Dub (with Mad Professor) (1995)
- Super Ape Inna Jungle (with Mad Professor) (1995)
- Who Put The Voodoo Pon Reggae (with Mad Professor) (1996)
- Dub Take the Voodoo Out of Reggae (Mad Professor with Lee Perry) (1996)
- Technomajikal (1997)
- Dub Fire (with Mad Professor) (1998)
- The Original Super Ape (1998)
- Son of Thunder (2000)
- Songs to Bring Back the Ark (2000)
- Techno Party (2000)
- Jamaican E.T. (2002)
- Earthman Skanking (2003)
- Encore (2003)
- Alien Starman (2003)
- Panic in Babylon (2004)
- Alive, more than ever (2006)
- End of an American Dream (2007)
- The Mighty Upsetter (2008)
- Repentance (2008)
- Scratch Came Scratch Saw Scratch Conquered (2008)
- Iron Devil (2008)
- Dub Setter (with Adrian Sherwood) (2009)
- Return from Planet Dub (with Dubblestandart) (2009)
- Blackboard Jungle Vol.1 & 2 (with Dubblestandart & Subatomic Sound System) (2009)
- Mad Alien Dub (2010)
- 'The Unfinished Masterpiece' (2010)
- Revelation (2010)
- Chrome Optimism Remixes (with Dubblestandart & David Lynch) (2009)
- Rise Again (2011)
- Master Piece (2012), Bleak Art
- Humanicity (with ERM - Easy Riddim Maker) (2012)
- Chicken Scratch (produced by Coxsone Dodd) (1963–1966)
- Reggae Greats: Lee "Scratch" Perry (1984)
- Open The Gate (1989)
- Upsetter Collection (1994)
- Upsetters A Go Go (1995)
- Introducing Lee Perry (1996)
- Words Of My Mouth Vol.1 (The Producer Series) (1996)
- Voodooism (Pressure Sounds) (1996)
- Arkology (1997)
- The Upsetter Shop Vol.1: Upsetter In Dub (1997)
- Dry Acid (1998)
- Lee Perry Arkive (1998)
- Produced and Directed By The Upsetter (Pressure Sounds) (1998)
- Lost Treasures of The Ark (1999)
- Upsetter Shop Vol.2 1969-1973 (1999)
- Words Of My Mouth Vol.2 (The Producer Series) (1999)
- Words Of My Mouth Vol.3 (Live As One/The Producer Series) (2000)
- Scratch Walking (2001)
- Black Ark In Dub (2002)
- Divine Madness ... Definitely (2002), Pressure Sounds
- Dub Triptych (2000)
- Trojan Upsetter Box Set (2002)
- This is Ska and Reggae Roots (2005)
- The Upsetter Selection - A Lee Perry Jukebox (2007)
- High Plains Drifter - Jamaican 45's 1968-73 (2012), Pressure Sounds - Lee Perry and the Upsetters
- The Sound Doctor: Black Ark Singles and Dub Plates 1972-1978 (2012), Pressure Sounds
- At WIRL Records (2013), Kingston Sounds
- Co-wrote "Police and Thieves" with Junior Murvin. It was later covered by The Clash on their 1977 debut album, some versions of which include their Perry-produced single "Complete Control".
- "The Only Alternative" on the compilation Roots Of Innovation - 15 And X Years On-U Sound (1994) by Dub Syndicate on On-U Sound label.
- "Dr. Lee, PhD" on the album Hello Nasty (1998) by Beastie Boys
- Appears on two tracks on the album Whaa! (2005) by Zuco 103
- Starred in a series of Guinness advertisements (2008)
- Appears on two tracks on the album "Nairobi meets Mad Professor: Wu Wei" (2009) by argentinian dub band Nairobi
- Lee Perry: Return Of The Super Ape (BA BA ZEE) - Rick Elgood and Don Letts (UK)
- Visions of Paradise - director Volkner Schaner
- Scratch in Deutschland (1992)(10mins)
- Ich sende aus dem All (1995)(30mins) 16mm, director Peter Braatz
- The Upsetter (film): The Life and Music of Lee 'Scratch' Perry (90mins) (2011) directed by Ethan Higbee and Adam Bhala Lough narrated by Academy Award Winner Benicio Del Toro Official website
- Tracks: Lee Perry (2005) (ARTE) (France)
- Golden Clouds - Dir. Volker Schaner (2012)- Collaboration with The Orb
- Lee Scratch Perry: The Unlimited Destruction, 2002, US
- Lee Scratch Perry: In Concert - The Ultimate Alien, 2003, US
- Lee Scratch Perry With Mad Professor, 2004, US
- Roots Rock Reggae - Inside the Jamaican Music Scene, 1977. Directed by Jeremy Marre.
- Carrying The Swing;; - Dir. Howard Johnson (1998)
- Reggae: The Story Of Jamaican Music (Part.2 - Rebel Music) 2002. Mike Connolly
- Rock & Roll - Punk (10 part series) (PBS) (US) (1995)(Episode 9 only) aka Dancing in the Street: A Rock and Roll History (Episode 8 only) (UK)
- Tribute To Sister D - The Forum, London 1995 (One Drop - Crazy Baldheads - Roastfish and Cornbread)
- Portraits Of Jamaican Music - Dir.Pierre Marc Simonin (2003)Video Clip
- Jools in Jamaica - Dir.Geoff Wonfor, Presenter Jools Holland
- Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 738–741. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.
- "The Upsetter: the Life and Music of Lee Scratch Perry". Theupsettermovie.com. Retrieved 2012-12-21.
- Heselgrave, Douglas (December 2006). "Lee Scratch Perry: From the Black Ark to the Skull Cave, the Madman Becomes a Psychiatrist". Music Box Magazine. Retrieved 2006-12-28.
- "Beastie Boys' Hot Sauce History: Lee Perry Rides The Subway - Music, Celebrity, Artist News". MTV.com. 2011-05-03. Retrieved 2012-12-21.
- "The Immortals: The First Fifty". Rolling Stone Issue 946. Rolling Stone.
- "Dubblestandart featuring Lee Scratch Perry* & Prince Far-I* - Iron Devil (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2012-04-22.
- "Dubblestandart Meets David Lynch & Lee Scratch Perry* - Chrome Optimism (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2012-04-22.
- "ATP curated by Animal Collective - All Tomorrow's Parties". Atpfestival.com. Retrieved 2012-12-21.
- "Lee "Scratch" Perry: Rise Again". PopMatters. 1 June 2011.
- Ziegler, Chris (2010-11-12). "Lee "Scratch" Perry's First-Ever Art Show Opens Tomorrow - Interview with Curator Sebastian Demian - Los Angeles - Music - West Coast Sound". Blogs.laweekly.com. Retrieved 2012-12-21.
- "Benicio Del Toro Narrates Doc on Reggae Legend Lee 'Scratch' Perry (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 2011-02-24. Retrieved 2012-12-21.
- "'The Upsetter: The Life & Music of Lee "Scratch" Perry' Released On New Self-Distribution Platform | Shadow and Act". Blogs.indiewire.com. 2012-09-30. Retrieved 2012-12-21.
- Nate Jackson (2011-03-24). "Lee 'Scratch' Perry's life on film in 'The Upsetter' - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2012-12-21.
- "Doc Channel Blog, Docs on DVD: "The Upsetter"; "Shut Up Little Man!"; "Sarah Palin: You Betcha!"; "Revenge of the Electric Car"; "Queen of the Sun"; "Limelight"; "Hell and Back Again"; "From the Sky Down"". Blog.documentarychannel.com. 2012-01-24. Retrieved 2012-12-21.
- "New On DVD/Blu-ray/VOD This Week - "13," "The Upsetter: The Life and Music of Lee Scratch Perry," "A Good Man" | Shadow and Act". Blogs.indiewire.com. Retrieved 2012-12-21.
- "The Orb & Lee 'Scratch' Perry: 'Golden Clouds' Video on JamBase". Jambase.com. Retrieved 2012-12-21.
- "The Orb's New Album 'The Observer In The Star House' Ft. Lee Scratch Perry Out 8/28 @ Top40-Charts.com - Songs & Videos from 49 Top 20 & Top 40 Music Charts from 30 Countries". Top40-charts.com. Retrieved 2012-12-21.
- "The Orb Featuring Lee Scratch Perry Debut 'Hold Me Upsetter' As A Free Download". Contactmusic.com. 2012-09-03. Retrieved 2012-12-21.
- Bonitto, Brian (2012) "Tosh gets OM", Jamaica Observer, 7 August 2012, retrieved 7 August 2012
- Collingwood, Jeremy (2010) Lee 'Scratch' Perry: Kiss Me Neck - The Scratch Story in Words, Pictures and Records, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 978-1-901447-96-5
- Katz, David (2000). People Funny Boy: The Genius of Lee Scratch Perry. Payback Press, UK. ISBN 0-86241-854-2.
- David Katz and Jeremy Collingwood, Give Me Power: A Complete Discography, Trax On Wax
- Gary Simons, Super Scratch: The Almost Complete Lee Perry Discography, 1999, Secret History Books
- Caesar, Pogus (2010). Muzik Kinda Sweet. Punch, OOM Gallery Archive, UK. ISBN 978-0-9566741-0-4.
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