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Icons: Looking Forward With Lee “Scratch” Perry

While others might debate his sanity or dwell on his imposing legacy, The Upsetter himself stays focused on creating something new.

Ask a lot of people both inside and outside of Jamaica about Lee “Scratch” Perry and they’ll tell you he’s crazy. Even if they acknowledge that the Grammy winning producer and reggae artist has made important musical contributions, the main thing is that he’s out of his mind. It’s hard to blame them. The now scrawny, wizened 76 year-old from Kendal, Jamaica certainly seems crazy. He wears baseball caps and sneakers encrusted with medallions and assorted knick knacks and saying wildly nonsensical and often rhyming things in interviews. He dyes his beard pink a lot too.

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Thanks to Emch at Subatomic Sound System for sharing.

Lee “Scratch” Perry w/ The Heptones

The Black Ark (Photo by David Burnett)




  1. freerootical says:

    Lee Perry is certainly eccentric, but I don’t think he’s crazy, at least in the medical sense. Remember that most of the early adherents to Rastafari were considered crazy and thrown into Bellevue Mental Hospital. It is crazy to believe in a living, black God by societies standards. It’s crazy to reject society, it makes society question their own validity. That aside, Lee Perry had garnered the respect of his peers and had gained some financial security, when he found that he had too many hangers-on. I read once that he was fed up with the constant botheration and bought a pigs head from the local butcher and strapped it to his car and scrawled the words, “I am a batty…” on the car and drove around Kingston. That certainly kept many at a distance. Lee Perry is a genius who uses his own perceived insanity to keep people at arms length. I’ve seen it personally, he is quite able to turn the crazy on and off on a whim.

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