Lee Scratch Perry webchat – as it happened

Last modified: 05: 44 PM GMT+0

The dub reggae superstar answered your questions – on the greats of reggae, the war on drugs and the delights of Switzerland. Read his answers below

That's it, thank you for all your questions

User avatar for LeeScratchPerry Guardian contributor

Good luck to you the reader! Your question is answered. 100% love from Lee Scratch Perry, your ET. And if they ask why ET - E is for Ethiopia, not Herod. AD for Addis Ababa. And BC is before Christ was here. You put it together and have a good weather. Jamaica - Jah-make-a ET. Lee Scratch Perry.

DeboaMixnSync asks:

Which artist, past or present has inspired you the most, creatively? Where does your inspiration come from? Who was the most challenging to work with?

User avatar for LeeScratchPerry Guardian contributor

Otis Redding. Sweetest soul voice I ever heard. And then close to him was Al Green. But the sweetest was Otis Redding. Real soul. Clean soul. Clear like an angel. Marvin Gaye as well.

My inspiration comes from the black Christ, and the black Jesus. And black Jesus is why it's called Black Ark. I still have my Black Ark and black Jesus. [shows ring] These are the keys to heaven, the sun and the moon and everything. Black Christ bring a lightning flash, tell rain to come down, white snow coming down.

User avatar for LeeScratchPerry Guardian contributor

Not much were challenging. All of them are listening to me. All want to open the mind, and know that I'm someone who can open the mind. The more I please, the more I open their mind. I didn't have problem with any artist. They make a good feeling with me.


tomcasagranda asks:

Who wrote the majority of Big Muff ? Was it you, or was it the late, great John Martyn? Is it really about a character called Big Muff, or is it about something else?

User avatar for LeeScratchPerry Guardian contributor

Me write it. He get another present from me, to make him laugh. To make him happy.

BabyH asks:

Is the best music in the past, or still to come?

User avatar for LeeScratchPerry Guardian contributor

The best music is actually in the past, of course. But the present allows better music, depends on how people react, by living with the music of the past. People are living off it, and I hope that people love the music and it won't die. We create different music from the past for the present, for the present children to live. So people don't need the doctor. Love yourself. The past will provide for the future.


CaptainMal asks:

Given the preponderance of dark themes in much of modern culture such as films, TV shows, bestselling books etc – and being an early user of such themes – do you think that to really get to the bottom of things artistically and to really get deep one needs to go “dark”?

User avatar for LeeScratchPerry Guardian contributor

Because of the sufferers that need to explain themselves. It's for the dread, so the dread don't eat me. You give them something they can live off. So the dark meat is for the people suffering. They can make themselves better. They have a choice. If you don't like it you can rebel and complain. Then you can put more light in the beat, and become lighter, brighter.

Legalise ganja

Rob Dunlop asks:

And do you support legalisation of cannabis/other drugs?

User avatar for LeeScratchPerry Guardian contributor

That is fantastic. That is number one, that is very good to be a herb doctor. I 100% with the ganja production, and I feel very good and glad that it has been legalised to the max. That people are free to do what they wish to do. And don't smoke it but do different things. Don't oversmoke - make ganja tea, do curry ganja. Curry weed, curry manjo, curry lambsbread, heat up your greens and save your heart. Me drink ganja tea- ganja is a great doctor. My lungs is a baby, and I want to preserve my lungs, so I don't smoke any more.

User avatar for LeeScratchPerry Guardian contributor

I don't want my lungs to dry out, or die! I wish to preserve my lungs and my lungs is a baby. Someone ask how I stay healthy: by stop eating dead stuff, man become what you eat. If you keep eating dead stuff, one day you become dead. You are what you eat. You become what you drink. So you must be careful. Vegetables is life and life is green, so eat vegetables and stay green for ever! Less dead stuff, live longer.

Phil Sharp asks:

Dr Lee PhD on the Beastie Boys … Hello Nasty was a masterpiece. Do you stay in touch with Mike D and Ad Rock?

User avatar for LeeScratchPerry Guardian contributor

Long time we don't speak, years, but we still have mutual positive contacts, spiritually. We feel a spiritual move, vibration, that's why we are together. We have the same quality of Japanese movements - we love Japanese.

Cris Harrison asks:

I know that any political views you may have tended to be buried in the mix. But I was wondering how you feel about the current Caribbean climate? People being denied access to farm crops (skunk) that could boost communities revenue for public expenditire. Or in Peru the fumigation sprays by foreign agents upon those cultivating coca ... Its just so wrong that these people are the victims of the USA’s schizophrenic approach to the war on drugs. They (the States) have opened up deregulation to some states like Colorado and in the other hand they treat the islands as a police state.

User avatar for LeeScratchPerry Guardian contributor

Of course people should be allowed to grow - they can make money for their family. They should allow more. This is the people's fortune - let them enjoy their fortune peacefully without the interference from the greedy government. Peace with their fortune, with no fear from the greedy police.


FrankTilghman asks:

Who is your greatest rival in dub: King Tubby, Scientist, or Prince Jammy?

User avatar for LeeScratchPerry Guardian contributor

None are a rival in dub. They are my students. Prince Tubby is my student, Jammy is my student, and I'm the professor of dub. And the creator of dub. I don't have no competition in dub. Why should I have competition? I can put water in a bottle and make it sound like piano. Ping ping! Pickapickapingping!

mendonca asks:

Do you enjoy living in Switzerland?

User avatar for LeeScratchPerry Guardian contributor

I'm addicted to trees, to ice and snow, and rocks and all dem things. And there are way more of that than in Jamaica. I'm part elf - it's too warm for me sometimes, I need somewhere cold. So I can survive and don't die. I need to save my Elf Generation from the blazing heat, and the blazing poverty in Jamaica. There's less poverty in Switzerland - you can rise from poverty. My family can survive. I love elves! Though you won't reach a high shelf. That's why the monkey jump up a tree - they just run up to the top, the monkeys and elves.

User avatar for LeeScratchPerry Guardian contributor

Monkeys are great teachers, but no one understand them.


We got British people to sing reggae … Bob Marley was like a leader

Darell Philip asks:

Why do you think Bob Marley was such a big star in the UK, perhaps more so than in Jamaica? What is the greatest song you have ever produced and why?

User avatar for LeeScratchPerry Guardian contributor

Because the song that I write for him, like Punky Reggae Party, were putting a new community together. We were thinking of British people to sing reggae - we call up the punk, and make that song a special song. It make him like a leader, and the people he was leading were loving his music and loving his voice. They thought maybe he was Christ. All these people start to love, and then Jamaican people start to love him - they couldn't stop it. They couldn't stop it or compete with it. And could not copy it. They have to love it. I'm only interested in things you can't copy - don't think you can copy something I arrange. It is a masterplan - I always follow God's plan, the whole thing is ET-planned. You never go wrong.


kushsakhu asks:

Thank you for giving us your music and time. What role do musicians play in music, now that tracks can be made on computers without a musician in sight?

User avatar for LeeScratchPerry Guardian contributor

With musicians, he can take his acoustic guitar and he might want to play and the current is off. You can play it any time. Or with an acoustic piano. There are guitars that can sound without electricity, or keyboard. People can make guitar out bamboo, with a string on it. Or make a boombox out of wood. People can do all those things and you'll love it.

And drums, you can play the drum alone and people dance to the drum, like anywhere. Dance, shaking dance - the drummer can alone do a lot of things. The drum is a song itself.

Barack Obama, he's not crazy enough to be a president!

jazzual 1d asks:

I remember you being an outspoken critic against the likes of Bush and Blair on The Mighty Upsetter album. What’s your opinion about Barack Obama?

User avatar for LeeScratchPerry Guardian contributor

Well, Barack Obama, he's not crazy. He's not crazy enough to be a president. He's a little bit cruel, spiteful. He has the name of a spiteful devil. He was sent to bomb somebody, that name is not nice. President should be of peace, not to bomb. Unless he's coming to bomb for revenge and has the light in him. I'm not much against him, but I don't like his name. Come in peace. Love. Unity. But not to bomb.


verbillion asks:

Do you have a vault of unreleased music as Prince is rumoured to have?

User avatar for LeeScratchPerry Guardian contributor

Actually, the American soul singer influenced me a lot. I love soul music. To go into music with soul. And you copy some good soul music, I love to do things like that. It has a good melody and a good beat, I like pop music.

Like the mind is about ET - an extensive thought. I keep on hearing words, I have a computer to write down but I don't know where they come from. Thousands and thousands of different new music in the brain, but the people don't hear it. One day, sooner or later, I intend to make some new things by the end of this year. No problem. I'm going to make it special.

biblicalmeat asks:

I have for many years held an ambition to be an English ET (you, i believe, are a Jamaican ET). Please can you tell me what is required to achieve this?

User avatar for LeeScratchPerry Guardian contributor

Well, to be an ET, that means an extra terrestrial, is to love God's words. I want to love God's word, and become part of God, and you become God actor. Follow God's words and you become an actor. That's the way to become an ET - practice what God said. And copy God. Don't copy the devil. God sent me into the music business, with rocksteady, I make it what it is - not ska and rocksteady any more. I did what God said to do - change up everything.

noirnoirnoir asks:

Mighty Upsetter, what are your favourite pieces of equipment to make music with these days?

User avatar for LeeScratchPerry Guardian contributor

My favourite piece is the piano. Then drums, and bass. Maybe put a guitar away for a little while and the organ away for a while and make a dub. Later you call them in and add them to the three piece, and make the song a bit bigger. If you're dubbing, you use a phaser to uplift the feeling.

Martin Brodetsky asks:

What current reggae artists are good to listen to? Who were your main influences when you were starting out? And finally, how on earth do you manage to keep going?!

User avatar for LeeScratchPerry Guardian contributor

There's an artist, they call themselves Alpha Blondie. They are good artists. They have a good band, two nice girls singing with lovely harmony. They put things together and it sounds alright. Another artist that do reggae lately coming now is Chronixx. Some keep singing the same boring song though. And I stay home and don't go to the dance any more - dancehall is a really nice music to dance to, but the lyrics are no good for me. It's good for rebels and bad boys and rudeboys. I like to listen to music about good tings, about tings that can change their lives. Not to hate, hate is no good. Love is the power, we present love, and if you can't love you can't live or be happy. Love is your god. If love is your god, you have a guardian angel. And if you're reading the Guardian you must have a guardian angel! Guardian magazine is guiding. We present the people of God, and we love Christ. I'm not an antichrist.

I don't think it's right that Prince William should be against Christ - there is no better teacher than Christ. What Christ said, everyone can say, but people are afraid of Christ. Christ is Christ. Christ is in all things. Christ make rain and lightning flash the world - he can do anything. You can be an actor, and say you are playing the part of Christ. I play the part of Christ. And Prince William should play the part of Christ and not the part of antichrist. Christ's words are perfect. Christ is a healer, don't fight against the healer, don't fight against the son. Don't fight against the sun, the moon, the sky, the firmament. Don't be an antichrist. We the people believe in Christ's words. Yeah man!

ScorchTheBlueDragon asks:

What do you consider to be the best records you have worked on?

User avatar for LeeScratchPerry Guardian contributor

It's hard for me to decide which is best. I just make them and give them to the people and the people listen. Some might hear them one year, one person hear them another year, and they tell which is the best. Each album carry a different story, each one talk something different, but the people are listening. They have more of a chance than me to understand. They get a spiritual message, it goes out and the people react to it. People are the judge for that. This is Lee Scratch Perry for the Guardian newspaper, bless!

User avatar for LeeScratchPerry Guardian contributor

I work with the people and the people work with I. I have many songs from many artists, people like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh. Songs like Police and Thieves the punks get inspiration from me. I spread the music out there with Punky Reggae Party... So many good albums, good songs. And nowadays we're doing brand new ones with people out of college. They're all good.


Lee is good to go

Lee Scratch Perry
Lee Scratch Perry gets ready to answer... Photograph: Ben Beaumont-Thomas

Post your questions for Lee Scratch Perry

With his band the Upsetters, and as a producer for Bob Marley, Junior Murvin and The Congos, Lee Scratch Perry helped shape reggae as a music of both personal introspection and social conscience – all of it with a deceptively simple beauty. His skanking rhythms and washes of echoed vocals inspired a whole generation of modern-day dance producers across techno and bass music, from Burial to Mala.

He’s also known for his seer-like wisdom in his numerous entertaining interviews. But despite all his chat about being from another century (he’s only 79) and “coming to save paradise with my gamma ray”, he gave up both marijuana and alcohol years ago.

Before he heads out on a UK tour this week, he’ll be joining us to answer your questions from around 4pm BST on Wednesday 1 April. Post yours in the comments below, and he’ll aim to answer as many as possible.


The GuardianTramp

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