Lee Scratch Perry On His 80th Birthday: ‘Bob Marley Wanted To Be Loved And Respected Like Me’

"I didn’t regret nothing because it worked perfectly, the way God planned it" says dub pioneer

Dub reggae originator Lee Scratch Perry has discussed a life in music as he turns 80 years old, in a recent interview released today (March 21).

The Jamaican born dub pioneer – who perfected the art of stripping back records to their bare bass and drum elements and often adding exclusive, one off vocals and sonic traits to dubplates – turned 80 years old on Sunday (March 20).

After spending over 40 years in music, Perry can add kick starting Bob Marley‘s career, collaborations with the likes of Paul McCartney, The Clash and co producing The Beastie Boys’ ‘Hello Nasty’ album to his long list of accomplishments.


In an interview with The Guardian on his birthday, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry spoke of working with Bob Marley: ‘He wanted to be loved and respected like me, so it worked.’

‘He’d learn about history and could understand everything, very fast. You’d tell him something and he’d pick it up instantly.’

Perry famously burnt down his recording studio The Black Ark when he thought it had been possessed by Satan. Speaking of that memorable event, Perry explained: ‘Burning up the studio was a way of burning the demon, burning up the bad luck that had come to the people who lived in Jamaica. There is a Jewish saying that if you don’t burn the demon, maybe you die instead of him.”

Now living in Switzerland, Perry can put his good health down to only one thing: ‘The music did it for me. As an example to prove to people that God is still alive. He keeps me well to this age. It’s like… I am a prince and the music is the king and the music is my father who art in heaven, hallowed be his name. So the music lives on.’


Lee Perry’s Vision of Paradise is screening at selected UK cinemas. It is available on DVD via Cadiz Music.

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