David Corio

Lee 'Scratch' Perry smoke

Ariwa Studios, London, UK
(October 31, 1984)

In this photo Scratch is at Mad Professor’s Ariwa studio in south east London. Scratch was voicing a tune that has some of the most damning lyrics you are ever likely to hear. He called the tune ‘Chris Blackwell Is A Vampire’ and it was released in 1986 as “Judgement Inna Babylon’.
Lee Perry is a photographer’s gem. He never fails to perform for the camera on or off-stage. On this night he hammed it up by riding a broomstick in honour of Halloween. Because of his sense of fun and drama I got an incredible variety of shots despite only having one roll of film with me.
Some people think Scratch is mad but in reality he is an eccentric genius in full control - some of the time at least. He has been a massive inspiration to many musicians far beyond the genre of reggae and dub.
The most recent photographs I did of Lee Perry was at WOMAD in 2013. At 77, he was still going strong and in this show his hair and beard were sprayed a fluorescent red. You’ve got to love him.

Lee 'Scratch' Perry smoke