LEE PERRY: THE SKY IS THE SKULL

September 3rd, 2008 | Interviews


shea m gauer

Lee Perry invented about ten private years in the late half of the twentieth century and gave so much to music that it was decided he would be able to keep the word “Scratch” forever. His newest Repentance (with contributions by Andrew W.K., Sasha Grey, Chris Stein, Brian Chippendale and more) is out now on Narnack.

What do you bring to the studio when you record?
Incense. Incense and stones. Incense and rock stone and water. The water brings everything. Water wash the eyes and water quench your thirst and water is a main blessing. Your air is a total blessing because without air you cannot breathe. And water is a blessing because it puts God in you, and change you from your evil ways and makes you repent. Then you start to listen to the water your guide, and the water, it serves as a mirror, and you can see yourself in the water—the first mirror ever. And you believe in the mirror—follow the mirror and follow the water, you do what the water say, you do what the stones say, you do what the air say, and you are your own free man.
What about ice or earth or fire?
The earth grows trees and plants and flowers and roses. The earth is a life giver. You need energy of the earth. Then you need a stone because a stone is the son of the earth. Of energy power that can do anything you need. So you need stone, water, earth, incense and you burn your incense and light your incense and that’s your fire. Then you have ‘I AM.’ ‘I am an activity.’ ‘I am the earth.’ ‘I am the wind.’ ‘I am the fire.’ Then the words float out of your mouth on the wings of fire, and so you need the fire. So I am the earth, the wind, the water and the fire. I believe in the earth, and I believe in my mouth, and I believe in the wind and I believe in the fire. And in Jah my god. God of the earth, god of the wind, god of the water and god of the fire. Of all the gods, there is only one god. All the gods, you put them together and they become one god. Yes. The god is Jah that I take to the studio.
How does this fit in with the skull cave?
The skull cave? Well, you know—skull cave is our head. Our head is the skull. If we want to find the cave of the skull, the cave of the skull is over our head. Upstairs for every man. The sky is the skull is the cave. So we are under the cave of the skull. We have the skull under our head, but the cave of the skull is over our head. It is the space. The sky. The firmament. So we are the children of the skull under the skull. We do not want to crush each other bone. The machine that is the strongest color of bone or something like that—you know about that?
Have you ever used a skeleton in recording?
In recording? All is the stones. If I don’t have the stone in the studio, I have the stone in my pocket. I believe all present in stone, I believe all present in water, I believe all present in air, and I believe all present in the earth. I believe in nature.
What did you dream about last night?
My main dream is—is that God cannot dead. God who create us all—he alive. God who create us all cannot die. But! The enemies of God creation who are jealous of what God creation, of God give life and God make life—the enemies of God cannot give life. They can only take life. The devil only can take life. The devil cannot give life. So that is why Satan is so jealous of God who can give life, and Satan cannot give life. Satan get so jealous that he start to take life. Start to kill people. So that is my main dream—that Satan cannot kill if you do not choose. And Satan cannot kill if you believe God choose. That Satan can only kill the people who do not believe in God. And Satan can only destroy the people who do not believe in all of God. Because of God, Satan cannot destroy them. Or conquer them. The people who believe in God—an evil force cannot control them. And that’s my main dream. My living dream. Dream in the day, dream in the night, dream in the morning—if you believe in God, you cannot be destroyed by the devil or Satan.
What is the greatest danger to the human soul in the world right now?
The greatest danger to the human soul at the right moment is money. And it’s also money that is evil. Money have you on a trick. That if you don’t pay respect, they will do what they want to you and take away all your money and make you suffer. But let them take away all your money. You won’t suffer. You will learn to go through the earth and plant something in the earth that you can live longer—something like a food that have no bacteria. Don’t get the food that is bacteria! Natural food from the earth. And less rice and less flour. But let the money by. Money is evil. The most evil force on the planet Earth—that man going to kill a man only kill a man about money. So if you have anything about money…
Will the human race ever leave the Earth behind and go into space?
Well—like I said, the people who God choose, they have a place prepared for them. Whether it is on the Earth or in the space, God sure to have a place for them. But there is nothing profitable for them to be going in space. It is not possible for them to be flying out of the kingdom of the Earth. God is a growing power and a growing force—upstairs power skull cave protection—and I wouldn’t say no to people who need to go into space. God and the skull cave is above over our heads. God need to transfer us from the cave into the firmament and the sky to live forever and never die. And be happy with no money and there is no food—we’re just flying in the air or something like that!
Do you think the atomic bomb can destroy a human soul?
It can destroy a soul of the people’s souls who die. But it cannot destroy the souls of the people who are programmed not to die. Because God has some angels that shall not die. So if the people are killed because they are killers and they are not choosing the right God—they believe in the devil, and they are the ones that kill people and they believe in money. I’m not 100% sure if the devil is a man. The devil can be a woman. He could be a stray kitten!
Ike Turner said that life is a hole and to succeed in life is to control the hole. What do you think about that?
Life? Control the hole? Life is coming true all over the world. Where you put your cock in is life—you put your cock into the world, and the world, that is where the hole. You put life in the hole, and a little child is given life when you come in the hole and that is it.
What was the best day recording this album?
My best day is Tuesday.
Would you ever like work to with Roky Erickson?
Who is that?
A singer from Texas.
That would be wonderful. I used to like [breaks into Jimmie Rodgers’ yodel:] ‘Yodel-lay-hee! Yodel-lay-hee!’ And that western guitar. ‘Yodel-lay-yodel-lay!’
Why does water seek its own level?
A secret lover? I can tell you money’s very lovely and very nice and can do a lot of things. But having a girl or man who loves you—having a person who loves you, a daughter or son or a wife or a family who loves you—that is the secret. Love is the most reliable secret ever. Love.

—Chris Ziegler

LEE ‘SCRATCH’ PERRY WITH PACE WON AND MR. GREEN AND ABE VIGODA ON WED., SEPT. 3, AT THE EL REY, 5515 WILSHIRE BLVD., LOS ANGELES. 8 PM / $26 / ALL AGES. GOLDENVOICE.COM. LEE ‘SCRATCH’ PERRY’S REPENTANCE IS OUT NOW ON NARNACK. VISIT LEE ‘SCRATCH’ PERRY AT MYSPACE.COM/LEESCRATCHPERRY.