R/E/P Community

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

Pages: [1] 2  All   Go Down

Author Topic: Thoughts on record production according to Lee Perry  (Read 13046 times)

RMoore

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4584
Thoughts on record production according to Lee Perry
« on: March 30, 2005, 04:46:46 pm »

<reposting from an old thread>



Genius eccentric producer - widely seen as the person who coached Bob Marley to develop beyond one of the run of the mill local Kingstonian singers to the style that made him a superstar - plus, producing some of the best Bob Marley recordings.

Album & single productions must number in the 1000's (of this most would be 45 singles).
 
 After his late 70's meltdown in which he torched his own studio, (brought on in part by economic pressures, lack of appreciation by Island Records, marriage breakup, paying weekly 'collection' fees to the local mob, daily 12 hr ganja and rum fuelled sessions)   - LP didn't produce anymore, moved to Switzerland married a wealthy business woman & occasionally performs a freeform spew live in concert - until his wife drags him offstage,signalling the end of the gig...
 
 For an essential BIO and tips on interesting studio techniques like setting it on fire,  well placed bottles of excrement, duck ponds, mooing cows, blowing ganja smoke on the tapes etc check out 'People Funny Boy' by Davis Katz..

Recommended productions:
Lee Perry 'Super Ape'
Congos "Heart of the Congos'
Bob Marley 'African Herbsman'
Lee Perry 'Arkology' - Island Records compilation.
Lee Perry 'Blackboard Jungle'

(Best online source for LP discs: http://www.ebreggae.com)

In the words of Lee Perry

----------------------------------

Q: How did you first become involved with doing production work in Kingston?

To discuss my original force of like is totally impossible for me to tell you how I got involved. I'm not a man who has kept memory of anything I've done. I'm a miracle man, things happen which I don't plan, I've never planned anything. Like I say, I never try, I never plan. And if there is a day that come that I have to try, I will ax the Almighty to let me die. A hate trying.

Q: You just like doing?

Instant. Whatsoever I do, I want it to be a instant action object, instant reaction subject. Instant input, instant output. If it's not the way it gonna work, well kiss my rass; if it even God, God would have to kiss my rass because we never work to a God that I don't get paid instantly. I believe in getting pay instantly.

Q: What albums are you producing now?

Albums!! Zillion and million and trillion and billion records. I art de camera, I art de future. I art de worlds without end, I don't think to talk, man, do y'understand? So if I want albums, I hatch them because I art Scratch the beginning.

Q: Did you start from scratch?

All de time. If you don't start from scratch, then your in trouble, you don't start nowhere.

Q: Can you explain the unique sound you get on all the records you produce?

Would you give away your secret? If you give away your secret, you may be a very stupid man. I will keep mine. Because I want to live.

Q: Why are most of your recordings in mono?

Well mono mean one heart, one thought, one love, one destiny, one aim, one alternative. So I defend only the one; anytime is a split personality I know then can be problem and danger and I don't support it. I support all-in-one, one communication, one Itation, one Iration, one faith, one human destiny. Anytime you come out with that, then I don't think you're parallel. You're confused, you're a mascot! And I don't defend mascot.

Q: Which musicians are you particularly fond of?

At this moment? Well, most of the good thing always pass away, cos sometime I say to myself, "How come de good t'ing die?" Thinkin' of all this, I wish the spirit of Otis Redding could come back alive, a vibration that can never die. I wish the spirit of Fats Domino would come back alive. I wish the spirit of King Cole would come back alive. I wish the spirit of King Solomon Burke, I wish those spirit could come back alive. I not in for the madness, because I can't take it. I don't defend f**keries. Dig!

(Stephen Davis - http://home.swipnet.se/~w-26153/perry.htm)

       ************************************************************ ****************
 "Good          evening and greetings to you people of the Universe - this is Lee "Scratch"          Perry, the mighty Upsetter, madder than mad, dreader than dread, redder          than red, dis ya one heavier than lead. We are here at the turntable terranova,          it means we are taking over..."      
 
 "When          I sh*t my enemies cry, when I speak they die."
 
 "I am          on top. With roots records, double music, dub revolution, black arkology.          And I am the black monarchy."
 
 "I          am the first scientist to mix the reggae and find out what the reggae          really is."      
 
 "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          learned to read the minds of others. This has proved eternally useful          to me."    
 
 "It          was only four tracks on the machine, but I was picking up twenty from          the extra terrestrial squad."
 
 "Why          I am so happy is because the people who want to hear the truth are hearing          it. And one of these days all of these record companies are going to kaput,          and they are going to be liquidated, and run out of money and run out          of good luck and run into bad luck, and that will serve them right for          stealing Lee 'Scratch' Perry, sir!"    
 
 "I          am the Upsetter, and I can put my upsetting power into any musician and          they become Upsetters."  
 
 "If          you look into the alphabet from A - Z, you will see L is for Lee, L is          for light, and L is for love, and L is for the Lord. S is for the sky,          and S is for sh*t, and for ships. P is for power and the pyramids, and          I am the pyramid and the power."  
 
 "This          is my brand new song: lightning and thunder, hailstone, brimstone and          fire, music, hurricane and tidal wave judgement. Mixed by earthquake,          produced by flood."      
 
 "I discovered          that teachers could teach me nothing. I refused to waste my time listening.          I go to trees and flowers in the jungle and have them show I what I should          know, learn what I should learn
Logged
People's Republic of Ryan

http://www.myspace.com/twilightcircus
 http://www.youtube.com/user/Ryonik
 
By the end of today, another day is gone forever. You will never get it back.
We must never let up for a second. Work harder at every single thing - Terry Manning

 You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take - Wayne Gretzky

JackJohnston

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 144
Re: Thoughts on record production according to Lee Perry
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2005, 05:29:05 pm »

I'm not buying the whole excrement in a jar theory, but I guess we all find creativity in different ways.

Jack

cgc

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 329
Re: Thoughts on record production according to Lee Perry
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2005, 05:40:49 pm »

I'm interested in how many responses this topic gets since Perry is fairly obscure, and it seems like a lot of the folks here are into more popular US and UK music.  I even thought the 'indie' rock list of essential albums was relatively mainstream and conservative (no Scratch or Can!), but maybe a few people will check out some Black Ark classics as a result of our rants.  Could be good for the future of record making...

iTunes has a number of albums if anyone wants to hear his work.  Try the aforementioned "Arkology' box set, which doesn't really have a bad track on it.  'Police and Thieves' by Junior Murvin is probably the best known, but anything by The Congos and The Meditations are brilliant as well.  'Roast Fish' is a classic Perry toast with a nice dub version (the Upsetter tracks are all dub versions).

If we get desperate for conversation on the subject, I can call my friend John Corbett who has interviewed Perry several times and I believe actually stayed at his house in Switzerland once.
Logged

compasspnt

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 16266
Re: Thoughts on record production according to Lee Perry
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2005, 06:42:14 pm »

Logged

JackJohnston

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 144
Re: Thoughts on record production according to Lee Perry
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2005, 07:16:55 pm »

Lava lamps are cool, but I'm really starting to understand the whole excrement in a jar vibe.

"No dog shit. No bull shit used as fertilizer. Human shit is the richest fertilizer. Even though they scorn their shit they don't know that their shit is the richest fertilizer. And they don'[t know that their piss is the greatest healer." - Lee Perry

Jack

RMoore

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4584
Re: Thoughts on record production according to Lee Perry
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2005, 01:41:36 am »

My fave thoughts on producing LP style are:

"Q: What albums are you producing now?
 
 Albums!! Zillion and million and trillion and billion records. I art de camera, I art de future. I art de worlds without end, I don't think to talk, man, do y'understand? So if I want albums, I hatch them because I art Scratch the beginning. "

<don't labour over them or produce them but HATCH them! I love that..>

 
  "It          was only four tracks on the machine, but I was picking up twenty from          the extra terrestrial squad."

<many wondered just how it was he got so much music and a great sound from a 1/4 inch TEAC 4 track! Now we know - it came from space>

!


 
Logged
People's Republic of Ryan

http://www.myspace.com/twilightcircus
 http://www.youtube.com/user/Ryonik
 
By the end of today, another day is gone forever. You will never get it back.
We must never let up for a second. Work harder at every single thing - Terry Manning

 You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take - Wayne Gretzky

Andi Gisler

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 20
Re: Thoughts on record production according to Lee Perry
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2005, 03:18:52 am »

But he sure knows how to soundproof a control room....

Andi

www.doorknocker.ch

tombola

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 7
Re: Thoughts on record production according to Lee Perry
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2005, 04:32:44 am »

I'd love to know more about how Lee Perry made his records - those studio pics are such a tiny tantalising glimpse.
I love that b/w shot of Black Ark with just a console, an RE201 and lots of pictures. And what is that little black box with 8 knobs and 'GOD' written on it? Or the black rack unit with 'Jack Pipe'?

RMoore

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4584
Re: Thoughts on record production according to Lee Perry
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2005, 06:54:33 am »

As I understand it, after heading out on his own as an independent producer   ,  he made most of his early productions eg: late 60's / early 70's at Randy's Studio in Kingston with the INCREDIBLE Errol Thompson (RIP) engineering..
all the Lee Perry Bob Marley & the Wailers productions for example..
Then when he had enough cash he built his Black Ark studio on his property - one would ASSUME he modelled it at least somewhat on the dimensions of Randy's studio..
So that would be that kind of 'classic' pop-rock-r&b  old school recording room, smallish but  with a high ceiling..
And one would assume he had it set up old school style eg: with drums, keys guitar / bass amps etc all permanently set up, miced and ready to go 24/7.
Apparently the 1st Black Ark set up had really cheap stuff, some cheap  mixer he traded a master tape for etc..
When he got more $ I think when he hooked up with Island, he shelled out for a Soundcraft Series 2 desk & TEAC 440 (?) 4 track..
In the photos of the classic ARK set up you see stuff like Roland tape echos, Echoplex, Pultec EQ, various phasers like Mutron Biphase..
And cheap reel to reel recorders / cassette players one assumes were used for mix down & throwing in sound effects early 'sampling' style..
Supposedly he would often have a mic open in the control room & be adding percussion parts live on the fly during tracking / mixing..
Where are photos of the God box? Would like to see that,
Cheers,
RM
Logged
People's Republic of Ryan

http://www.myspace.com/twilightcircus
 http://www.youtube.com/user/Ryonik
 
By the end of today, another day is gone forever. You will never get it back.
We must never let up for a second. Work harder at every single thing - Terry Manning

 You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take - Wayne Gretzky

RMoore

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4584
Re: Thoughts on record production according to Lee Perry
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2005, 07:05:30 am »

The LP Soundcraft Series 2 would have been one of these:

Series 2          


           The Series 2 console was originally conceived in 1975 as a medium budget approach to 4-track studio mixing. Twelve and sixteen input sizes on a one-piece front panel were available and the use of track switches enabled permanent connection to an 8-track recorder with no patching during the recording process.

In 1976, the console was revised with some new features and modular construction which enabled various configurations of channel inputs and either 4 or 8 groups, routable to 8 or 16 tracks.

Two options for input EQ were available: 4-band fixed frequency, with variable frequency high-pass filter, or the same with the addition of 2 sweep mids plus a sweep low-pass filter.            
Logged
People's Republic of Ryan

http://www.myspace.com/twilightcircus
 http://www.youtube.com/user/Ryonik
 
By the end of today, another day is gone forever. You will never get it back.
We must never let up for a second. Work harder at every single thing - Terry Manning

 You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take - Wayne Gretzky

lord

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 206
Re: Thoughts on record production according to Lee Perry
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2005, 07:37:57 am »

(cgc .. I listed Can on the essential indie rock list. If j hall left it out, then I'll kick his ass.)

To really get a handle on how Scratch worked, you have to get deep into his catalog and listen to as much as you can. He was a mad recycler of rhythm tracks, especially into the later Ark years when the archive of masters must have been out of control.

All Jamaican producers in that era reused rhythms, but Scratch kept morphing and editing his old tapes in much more dramatic ways, and just piled on so many layers. So, if you can pick out familiar pieces from all the different rhythms, you start to get an idea of how a final track went together.

He would take a finished track, drop the vocal, and make a dub mix to another 4-track. They'd overdub new parts, and then make a bunch of new versions. Different versions would get voiced by different DJs or singers, etc.. Who knows how many times this would repeat... until every track in his catalog eventually has a dub somewhere with the cow mooing.

People talk about what a genius he was beind his little board (and he was), but you got to be impressed at how solid the musicians that he used were as well. Lesser material would not have been a useful canvas for the kind of experiments he did.

His scatalogical obsession is pretty precious.

People Funny Boy is an awesome read for anyone into JA music.
Logged

compasspnt

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 16266
Re: Thoughts on record production according to Lee Perry
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2005, 10:50:50 pm »

I have been told many strange stories about LSP by Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, especially about when Perry was here at Compass Point when it first started in '77-'78.  One story (not confirmed [yet] by other parties involved) had Perry instigating himself and Chris Blackwell walking the perimiter of the studio property, dripping blood from fresh killed chickens along the entire property line.  This was some sort of ritual to keep out evil spirits and ensure cosmic and musical success.  There were lots more tales as well, but I will have to ask details from Chris & Tina again so I can relate them properly.  I will do this soon; unfortunately, C&T just left here after a week's visit, or I would have details now.  I'll also ask CB to elaborate regarding LSP, and pass along some of that.

Personally, it's all a bit much for me to get into.  But the music's cool.

See also the new post regarding Compass Point Ghosts.
Logged

RMoore

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4584
Re: Thoughts on record production according to Lee Perry
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2005, 02:20:55 am »

LP definitely had it in for Chris Blackwell it appears, even doing a 'Chris Blackwell is a vampire' type song detailling the chicken blood incident.

I think LP was pissed that CB / Island passed on a couple of his late 70's prods which are now seen as masterpieces (though at the time I can imagine the sound was just TOO strange and lo fi for a big label like Island).

I am 99% sure I've heard or read a Blackwell interview in which he does say the chicken blood incident at Compass Point was true - mixing it with rum in your mouth & spitting some out - but was supposed to be some sort of traditional Jamaican good luck ritual for the facility..CB is Jamaican as well I believe ?

LP seems to fall out with EVERYONE he has dealt with though and slam people mercilessly in the press and in song (BTW his 1st big hit as an indie producer was 'People Funny Boy' - socking it to his former boss Joe Gibbs..it did produce the classic line 'the one who cleans the shit must remember it' !!)  - most seem to shrug it off as more eccentric LP behavior and say they don't call him (LP) the 'Upsetter' for nothing..
Logged
People's Republic of Ryan

http://www.myspace.com/twilightcircus
 http://www.youtube.com/user/Ryonik
 
By the end of today, another day is gone forever. You will never get it back.
We must never let up for a second. Work harder at every single thing - Terry Manning

 You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take - Wayne Gretzky

RMoore

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4584
Re: Thoughts on record production according to Lee Perry
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2005, 02:46:58 am »

tombola wrote on Thu, 31 March 2005 11:32

I'd love to know more about how Lee Perry made his records - those studio pics are such a tiny tantalising glimpse.
I love that b/w shot of Black Ark with just a console, an RE201 and lots of pictures. And what is that little black box with 8 knobs and 'GOD' written on it? Or the black rack unit with 'Jack Pipe'?


Ok  - I see what happened, The 'GOD' and Jack Pipe boxes are from a pic of  a REPLICA someone made of the Black Ark studio control room!!!
Its not the real Black Ark !!
I've seen that around, I guess someone built it for an exhibit,
 

Check out the photos of the original Black Ark vibe:
index.php/fa/913/0/
Logged
People's Republic of Ryan

http://www.myspace.com/twilightcircus
 http://www.youtube.com/user/Ryonik
 
By the end of today, another day is gone forever. You will never get it back.
We must never let up for a second. Work harder at every single thing - Terry Manning

 You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take - Wayne Gretzky

RMoore

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4584
Re: Thoughts on record production according to Lee Perry
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2005, 02:53:32 am »

index.php/fa/914/0/
Logged
People's Republic of Ryan

http://www.myspace.com/twilightcircus
 http://www.youtube.com/user/Ryonik
 
By the end of today, another day is gone forever. You will never get it back.
We must never let up for a second. Work harder at every single thing - Terry Manning

 You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take - Wayne Gretzky
Pages: [1] 2  All   Go Up