When I heard the news I was a little stunned. I was scrolling through Instagram and was really not paying attention, as there were a bounty of Sade Adu photos (perhaps it was her birthday), but I thought: “Please don’t tell me Sade died.” That’s a whole different lifelong infatuation with an amazing artist and timeless music, but I digress. I started to see an abundance of Lee “Scratch” Perry photos. OK, whatever, a lot of people that I follow/ are affiliated with me have the like mind set and dig Scratch. Then it hit me: Scratch died. I do not know the circumstances around his death and have been reading some weird things, but let’s see what comes out in the wash. This is what I have to say, and I’ve told the story a few times on here and recently on our Instagram feed.
Upsetter to me was like a teacher. Upsetter is not just a producer only. He is an artist, producer, writer, everything. I see Upsetter as an inspirer. He is not an imitator, he’s an originator, and you cannot keep telling an originator that he’s mad. I’m saying they shouldn’t wait until he is dead, they should recognize him now while he’s still alive, so he can enjoy some of that high.– Dr. Alimantado
When I saw him live at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park in 2007, he was backed by a band called Dub Is A Weapon. He put on a stellar show, was 100% Scratch, played a bunch of hits, and did exactly what he was born to do. There was a time when he grabbed my hand as I was shooting photos. I really felt like I was grabbing reggae music and everything he did. It was if I shook hands with Sun Ra or Miles Davis (which would not have ever happened even if the chance was given), I really felt something. It might sound silly to some, but those were the hands that produced Bob Marley, built the Ark, and also produced so many of reggae’s greats that inspired me as a DJ and an artist. It was one day almost 15 years ago, but the memory is still fresh and will be a day I won’t forget soon. Gutted that we lost one of the greats again, but fortunate to have this experience. Salut to you Lee Perry the Upsetter. Safe travels to the other dimension wherever you are.