Fri | Apr 26, 2019

5 Questions with Lee 'Scratch Perry' & Larry McDonald

Published:Friday | September 22, 2017 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small
Lee 'Scratch' Perry (second left) with admirers in Negril in July.
Lee 'Scratch' Perry
Larry McDonald
Larry McDonald

Producer/vocalist Lee 'Scratch' Perry and drummer Larry McDonald have redone the Super Ape dub album, first released in 1976. Listed among the 100 essential reggae CDs by the Rough Guide publication, it includes tracks like Zion's Blood, Croaking Lizard and, of course, Super Ape. They recently completed a tour along with Robert 'Screechy Dan' Stephens and will soon be doing dates across the US:

1. Why revisit Super Ape after 40 years?

Larry McDonald: After 40 years you view anything differently. You don't want to mess with the original intent, but you try to say it in a manner that reflects how you feel today.

Lee 'Scratch' Perry: Well my music comes from God. Me nah copy no man. Me listen to nature and the sounds of nature are God's music. So my music is God's music and it will never get old and it will never die.

2. Who do you think is currently the most innovative or prolific locally-based reggae or dancehall artiste?

Scratch: Vybz Kartel is Jamaica's best deejay ever, but him haffi repent and change his ways so God can give him another chance at freedom. Alkaline is the best in the dancehall today. From first me see him and hear him voice, since before him sell off any stage show, me bring him to Negril to perform at my stage show.

Larry McDonald: Since Chronixx, the one I check for is Samory I. I think he does his own thing, but seems to draw from the golden age of the music.

3. What is the secret to keeping fit enough to be able to tour as senior citizens?

Scratch: I will never grow old and I will never grow lazy. I am a baby inside and what you believe is what you will be. So I exercise. I don't eat no meat. God don't want us to eat animal. People who eat animal think they steal the power of the animal, but really it is a curse. I am a fish. My father is King Neptune so I must return to the sea. The ocean in Jamaica is where I was born.

Larry McDonald: I'm going to the gym when I'm done here. I also try to stay right. I hunt down ground provisions up here in New York City. Veggies and nuff fruits.

4. Where does your style inspiration come from?

Scratch: My style is from nature, from the wind, from the earth, from the fire, from the lightning and from the thunder.

5. What is your favourite local stage show or party?

Scratch: Bourbon Beach. All the artists dem pass through and me haffi know what goes on in Jamaica. Me waan fi see Jamaica rise up. Jamaica music must rise up and defeat the curse. Too much singers and too much vanity put a curse on Jamaica music. Too much ragamuffin singer. Too much ragamuffin beat. All ragamuffin repent. Now I make a new beat, a new sound of dub for Jamaica to upset the curse and set Jamaica free just like I set Bob Marley free from duppies who curse him. I make him the song Duppy Conquerer and him go free to conquer.