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Paging Dr. Lee “Scratch” Perry 

The ageless reggae star rolls out his Subatomic Sound System Aug. 17

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Lee Perry has operated on the lunatic fringe for so long, his distorted reality has itself turned out a distortion. Bob Marley became the big tree while Perry stayed the small axe, but today, the 4-foot-11-inch mage towers over a reggae field he alternately built and razed. "Scratch is kind of like Yoda," offers Subatomic Sound System producer Emch, who serves as tour bandleader; to others, he's "the Salvador Dali of music" (Keith Richards) or simply "Dr. Lee, Ph.D." (The Beastie Boys). In a recent "outer-view" for the Great Big Story documentary series, the Jamaican E.T. and head Upsetter dubs himself "the grim reaper," a split personality that captures both his bountiful musical legacy (spanning Sir Coxsone Dodd to Animal Collective) and the destructive means by which much of it came to pass (a second studio fire befell his Secret Laboratory in Switzerland last year, this one entirely unintentional). Yet here he is, the "child inside an 80-year-old's body," planning another creative jailbreak (Must Be Free, due on Megawave Records next month) and bringing his birthday tour and Super Ape 40th anniversary performance to Tipitina's smokeless hot box. Prepare for a surefire bananas bonanza. Tickets $18.

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