Dub Toaster 

Lee "Scratch" Perry at the Independent.

You hardly ever hear the phrases "pot smoker" and "raving lunatic" put together in the same sentence, but in the case of Jamaican reggae artist Lee "Scratch" Perry, "raving, pot-smoking lunatic" once seemed like a sensible epithet. Famous both for his musical innovations — Perry is credited with helping popularize the reverb-heavy mixing-board technique known as "dub"— and for his apparent multiple-personality disorder — he went by such aliases as "Pipecock Jackson" and "the Upsetter" — Perry always got extra mileage from his madman reputation. In an interview with British TV personality Jools Holland (search YouTube for "Lee Scratch Perry"), the famed reggae singer walked through fire, referred to himself as the Atomic Man, and proudly pointed to the toaster affixed to one of the fence posts at Black Ark, the studio he built in his backyard (it burned down in 1978). The toaster was apropos, Perry said, because it symbolized his special talent for "toasting" (the Jamaican term for freestyling over a beat). In the ensuing decades, this raggedy-voiced septuagenarian jettisoned both his marijuana stash and his past eccentricities. But he still makes infectious music. Lee "Scratch" Perry performs Saturday, August 4, and Sunday, August 5 at the Independent in SF. 9 p.m., $25. IndependentSF.com


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