March 23rd, 2011 / 2:53 pm

Lee Scratch Perry on ganja*

When I left school there was nothing to do except field work. Hard, hard labour. I didn’t fancy that. So I started playing dominoes. Through dominoes I practiced my mind and learned to read the minds of others. This has proved eternally useful to me. *

VICE: What is the most important item in your wardrobe?

PERRY: I don’t think any of them are important, they are just garments and just clothes. And clothes and garments are just vanity so I don’t think they are important to me. I didn’t come here with any clothes on, I come here very naked. So nothing in the wardrobe could be important to me. If I don’t have to walk in clothes then it would be a lot better to walk naked to expose my big long cock-y.

VICE: What was your favourite decade for fashion?

PERRY: I like all things very much; I like all fashion. I like all pants and all shirts, all jeans and everything like this. I love everything that is old. I like new stuff but like the word said (and the words are the leader of the creation): “There is nothing new under the sun.” So if you want to follow the words to be in the future and to love the future then you must know that the future is very old. The future is not young. So if we love all fashion things, we be loving all future. But if we only love new fashion things we won’t be loving all future. *

DOUGLAS HESELGRAVE: Why do they call you “Scratch”?

LSP: That means this is the earth, so that when you scratch the earth, you’re going to plant a seed, so when you plant a seed, the seed will grow, but if you don’t scratch the earth, the seed won’t grow, when you scratch the earth and the seed grow, that’s your tree. You plant a tree, and you make a blessing and the earth return to you your blessing.

D: You’ve planted lots of seeds

LSP: The more seeds you plant, the more blessings you get. To not plant, it’s not an insult. It’s your aura. The more you give, the more you get. You give to the earth your seeds. If the earth doesn’t grow your seeds, it means you’re not good lucky.

D: Have you had good luck?

LSP: All the seeds around my house. I plant them. And all the trees around my house make the music you are hearing. I don’t make it. The trees make it.

D: What do the trees say to you?

LSP: The trees say to me to go to United States of America and let them know that I am the reggae, but because of the behaviour of the artists and the promoters and of the reggae, I want to change to reggae to rock and pop and Jazz and Classic, disco and techno and roots and all of the music because I am all of the music.

D: What kept you from touring in North America for so long?

LSP: Well, the polar bear want me here, and the polar bear telepathic I because I believe in telepathic. SOS, ESP, because the polar bear said you need some warmth and a change of weather. Some of my fans are crying out for a change of weather. I don’t know if I can do anything, but I’m here to change the weather.

D: You sang on the new Beastie Boys CD, so a lot of younger people are hearing your music. Your crowd was full of young people tonight. Why do you think they’re so receptive?

LSP: Because the younger people have to listen to Scratch, so that Scratch can show them where to scratch. If we don’t scratch, nothing can happen. You don’t scratch, you won’t plant anything and nothing will grow.

D: Had everything stopped growing at Black Ark Studios? Is that why you burned it down?

LSP: I did make a dread studio, and said I’d make a righteous studio and a Godly studio, and it was even too dread for me. Too much dread was there. I had to burn it down to get rid of that dread vibration. It was too dread. I should have put it off. Soul and a half dread. I forget that I was a soul man. It was a dreadful equation. Too dreadful for me.

D: So you went to Switzerland –

LSP: To hide in the mountains. And to rinse the dread off of my head. I had to isolate myself in the ice and build myself an igloo.

D: You said the God/Goddess, Shiva, followed you into the mountains.

LSP: Shiva of course. But she couldn’t be here. Shiva have invisible wings, where she could fly amongst the people, sniffing too much car gas poison, then she wouldn’t have the power to fly anymore. I am sorry about that.

D: When did you first become aware of Shiva?

LSP: When Hari Krishna first call me to India. Hare Krishna want to show to the world that Shiva is the creator, and she is the wheel of the princess and the daughter of Neptune which you have as Ariel. That is the same Shiva. So Hare Krishna wanted to transform Shiva here in a reincarnation to make the world know that “once a man, twice a child. ”

D: Does Shiva ever deal with Rastafari?

LSP: She don’t know about Rastafari, but she know about me. What there is to find out, she will find out because Shiva is the creator. I was well exercised and all my exercise went into Shiva. My exercises are perfect, and they will teach Shiva about Rastafari. She is too young to know about Rastafari now. I want her to know about what I have created. Then she will know about Rastafari. Then she will know that she is Saint Selassie. If I tell Shiva now she is Saint Selassie, she won’t understand.

D: You sing in a song, “I am a Madman.” What is madness?

LSP: Godliness is madness. When you see God and he tells you who him is, you can’t do more than get mad. When it makes sense, you get sad. The people who looking for God, God is as a simple man, and God is full of love. God not come to kill anybody. God lets the fools kill themselves. Because of jealousy. Jealousy is what bring them to the grave. Because you’re jealous, you’ll send out evil thoughts and they will come back to you and kill you. God don’t kill anybody; people kill themselves. And God is very simple, and very messy. Extremely messy. If God want to show the truth, the teacher couldn’t show it because the teacher is piss and shit and poop. When you poop, the teacher hold up his nose and throws you out of the class because you poop, but you have freed yourself and freed the wind and heard the wind. What should you do with it? It comes in fresh and went out stale with a bad smell, and people are disgusted, but when it went in, it didn’t smell. But it keep you alive for a while, and God want a change, so he’s going to make you move a bit and give you another change. Fresh air. And you’re hungry and you eat the fresh food, and it’s so lovely, and after the change it smell so stink. But, it’s the same God.

D: So, if you had five minutes with the Pope, what would you say to him?

LSP: Tell the Pope that he only deserve constipation and stoppage of water. He don’t deserve anything more. That is the only blessing I could give to the Pope. Also to the Bishop. Make him want to piss and can’t piss. Let them twist up.

D: What about President Clinton? You’ve made rhymes about him. He’s a musician. Would you produce a CD for him if he asked you?

LSP: It would be a pleasant surprise. Let President Clinton show a new world that the politician world can’t work and the music world can work. He should return to his music world. If he want to rule the politician world, him a have to know the music world because the people worship music. Music is the only comfort, and music is only what can keep you happy and keep you alive. For, when all the politicians shall disappear from under the sky, music alone shall live and teach the children how to live. Or, to dance or how to chant or how to sing and be happy, and don’t to fret about vanity because vanity is nothing. *

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  1. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      What makes this especially good is having punknews open in the tab next to this one with all the hullabaloo about Ben Weasel. It’s a really satisfying and unexpected juxtaposition, like peanut butter and roast beef.

  2. alex crowley

      So I take it Scratch doesn’t realize that Siva is a male figure? Unless, of course, he’s referring to Ardhanarishvara which is a half/half form.

  3. Anonymous
  4. reynard

      no alex i believe he is blissfully aware of a great many things, which doesn’t make him any less of an artist in fact it’s almost definitely what led him to many of the butt-crazy conclusions he’s come to that cracked open a whole world of musical possibilities that are still being sorted out

      i’m glad you pointed it out though, there are a lot of funny things going on in there i think

  5. alex crowley

      I realize I came across dickish. I find the figure of Siva to be fascinating and that was supposed to be a chortle-push-glasses-back-up comment.

      But on the whole, yes, this was a bizarre read.

  6. reynard

      hope you know i totally meant to say ‘unaware’ but i did not think you were dickish, comments just sound like that and it can sound weird to read your own; much like farts, your own never smell as bad, but they don’t smell too great either