Outerviews: Doug Wendt

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 his house)

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...