A magical mystical tour with Mr Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry
We raced down the M25 at breakneck speed. Tonight, an hour before he was due on stage, we’d nailed a date with Mr Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. Killing Joke bassist Martin ‘Youth’ Glover was to lead the conversation. His contribution to the Scratch version of Golden Clouds with the Orb would no doubt get a mention.
The place was rammed wall-to-wall as we struggled to walk through the doors of Surrey’s Boiler Room Club. We fought through the crowd, scrambled up a flight of stairs and found ourselves facing a crew of unflinching comrades. These cats were serious but somehow, we got the green light, ditched our bags and got cameras prepped for the mayhem below.
He was about to come on stage anytime soon. The crowd was going nuts with anticipation. Rapturous applause and whistling welcomed Scratch to the stage. And as he got into full swing, dreadlocks of fellow punters crashed into my face while I tried to steady my camera. A Scottish dude next to me hollered like man possessed as we stood squashed like sardines inching our way to the front.
Perry has made over a thousand albums and as Youth later told me: “I’ve seen him play countless times but there’s been occasions where I haven’t recognised a single track because he’s made so many.” Iron Shirt though, was at least one everyone did… And it was evident it was the legend that is Scratch most had come to see.
He was in top form and high spirits as fans reached out to light up his joint. Bouncing ecstatically, they moshed like mad. It felt a lot more intense than the Village Underground gig where he had played the previous night.
This was the ultimate LSP magical mystery tour. The night before at a collaborative exhibition with artist Peter Harris, we got a glimpse into the mind of the indefatigable Scratch. From Genesis to Revelation: The Higher Powers Bible was essentially the Bible according to LSP with images which included the artist giving birth to himself, while another depicted the Queen as a ‘blood sucker’. Adrian Sherwood was on the decks and joined by the likes of Coldcut’s Jonathon Moore and the Pop Group’s Mark Stewart amongst a string of others.
This was one mental weekend of pure Perry power. So here we were at its apex. And once again, we found ourselves fighting through 300 die-hard fans to reach him for our scheduled chinwag. Youth was nowhere to be seen amongst the hordes of people but there was no time to lose. Spotting him mid-conversation with a Killing Joke fan, I dragged him up the stairs past a queue of journalists and fans. Beaming insanely into the unsmiling face of a band member, we were greeted with a stern: “You’re Anu, right?” We were in.
Lee walked into the kitchen and the magic began. He exuded an enigmatic energy that filled the room with a bright light, greeting each of us with a big warm hug. There was no way of knowing the direction this conversation would take. But there's a lot of ground to cover with a legend like Scratch and unless you can manipulate the space-time continuum, there's only one thing you can do and that's to go with the flow. Special things happen in life sometimes and this was certainly one of them. We were positively levitating. Hope you enjoy the film.
Journalist Anu Shukla recently eavesdropped on a conversation between the legendary LEE 'SCRATCH' PERRY and Martin 'Youth' Glover of KILLING JOKE backstage at The Boileroom in Guildford.....