Beat (July 1983)
The following "interview" with Lee Perry was recorded in January of
1982 at his home in Kingston. When I pulled up to the house, the first thing
I noticed was the graffiti all over everything. Scratch had written his own stream
of consciousness rap all over the fence, on the car in the driveway, and on the
house. Trevor Roots, toaster and pilot for my travels amongst the musicians of
Kingston, ran in ahead to check for Scratch and told him that the Midnight Dread
was out front.
Scratch came out, shook hands, and scrutinized my business card. Since he was
anti-dread at the time, the title of my radio show on the card seemed to put
the possibility of an interview in question. "I don't want to do interview," he
spoke abruptly as I plugged my mic into the Superscope hanging on my shoulder. "Do
you have any papers?" he asked, and then went back into his house when none
were located. He came back out with a portion of herb on top of a piece of brown
grocery bag paper. He tried to roll his brown paper spliffically around the herb.
When this didn't work easily enough, Scratch suddenly tossed the whole shebang
into the wind and with the same motion grabbed the mic from my armpit and started
to rap non stop. Luckily I was set up to be portable as Scratch took me by the
tethered mic out to the front sidewalk where various piles of ash, glass, dirt,
etc, were significantly piled. Then into the house and studio, where stacks of
tapes were stashed, all the time Scratch walking and talking...
Wendt: Is this the Black Ark?
Scratch: Well, this is the Black Ark studio of course, it's
more than the Ark, it's the power plant of righteousness, the heart of his Imperial
Majestic Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I, the conquering lion, the ever living
king, David who fling all stones. I'll not build up the night of the living dread.
I'll build up the life of the living life because I are the yazzus Christus,
Jesus the greatest. I never pretend, I never join people, I don't deal with things
that I don't know about. I want all life to be good, I'm thinking about good
life, nothing dread. I don't support nothing dread, dread fuck up as far as I'm
concerned and I'm dealing with life. Cleanliness is godliness, a clean hand and
a pure heart speaking. I join no one, I have no friend, I'm a lonely man with
my family. I follow no one, I follow the light, 'cause the light are the almighty
God. I whisper and worship the Earth where we get all our food from. I love the
sun which give us light to see, right? I love the stone and I'm always sure and
my stone is super sure, right? My name is King David, I love to fling stone.
Right? My papa is King Solomon Emperor Haile Selassie I the black gorilla king,
Super Ape, right? He can change into a lion, a monkey, a leopard, anything. He
has the power to do anything, right? He's the every fucking thing.
Wendt: What about these tapes? (Stacked against the walls in
Scratch: The ancient scrolls. Conquer everything. Politicians?
I don't check for politicians. Politicians are saps. I call them governors of
wrongs and administers of crimes. I curse all fucking politicians even though
they don't like this on the radio, you play it because they can't do anything.
Time and history manifest, right? And time and history record the doom of Babylonian
system. I am the black culture man, super art, super tart, super mind. That's
me, right? I think above the ordinary, no one can hurt me. I am an island on
the island of the gods, Jamaica, head of the globe. And I am speaking from my
father throne room where I'm standing. I'm standing on my staff and I'm standing
on my horse, which you cannot see because it is invisible to the human eye. How
great thou art, that's the word (roars with laughter). How great thou
art, Emmanuel King Perry. Speaking of the history king that create music that
createth itself. Didn't you hear the words flying like peas? Open eyes, the public
eyes, the public truth. I didn't even have to think, I don't hedge, I keep talking.
I can talk words. Words, words, words, words, words. The beginning of the alpha,
the beginning of the Genesis to Revelation. My favourite psalms were "blessed
is the man who walketh not in the council of the ungodly, and sound not in the
ways of sinners and sinners in the seat of the scornful. You know what is the
laws in the law of the almighty Jah? I'm talking about Judah Lion, the living
fire, right? I'm talking about the king of Israel, right? I'm talking about music,
I'm talking about words. I'm talking about words, sounds, power. I'm talking
about the time for me, the black man, to have a lot of fucking money. Right.
That's what I'm talking about. Heh heh heh heh - nothing else. I want
a good life, drive a big car, I want to drive a Rolls Royce, fly a Concorde,
and maybe I want to have about 144, 000 ships pulling in moneys to feed the hungry
children. How about that? So I want a good time, that's all I'm talking about.
I'm saying fuck off with all ministers of crime, fuck off with all governors
of wrongs. A clean hand and a pure heart, that's the song I'm going to sing,
a new song mister DJ man. Good evening. Heh heh heh heh...