What have you been up to lately?
Right now I been mostly caught up in my electronics, designing electronic gear.
I been working with a whole bunch of different people on some hip hop projects, but right now been investing most of my
time in my line of electronics. If you look on www.myspace.com/scientist you’ll see some of the stuff I’ve been
Tell us about your website dubmusic.com
Dubmusic.com - I set it up kinda like a myspace for reggae, trying to get all
the people who are doing dub and reggae to sign up and create profiles on it. There are a lot of music sites out there
so I thought one devoted to dub and reggae would be really good. Of course I support other different genres of music like
hip hop and jazz too. I had it since the birth of the dot com from back in 95. Back then everybody was trying to get a dot
com and I was looking for a way to let people know about reggae. Finally I get together with some programmers and decide
to create this online community for dub and reggae.
have been very outspoken about royalties recently. Tell us about this issue.
Yeah there is an ongoing issue where you have a bunch of companies like Greensleeves, Trojan, Blood and Fire,
they’re basically breaking the law. They’re breaking the law of the UK, they’re breaking the law of Jamaica,
and they’re breaking the law of what’s been signed in the Rome Convention, where the record company has to
do due dividends to make sure that the producer who solicits the product to the record company has the sole permission of
the artist to exploit the tracks. In other words if you brought your Mercedes Benz to me and you tell me that you want to
sell me your Mercedes Benz, you have to show me that you own it. I can’t just go buy it on a word of mouth. You have
to show me some documents, titles, bank statements, something to validate that you own it. And Greensleeves Records been
pirating my stuff from the very first time. I’ve been asking through a series of bunch of different conversations
to stop exploiting my stuff and they basically do not have the rights – or at least my right – to put out any
of my stuff because they need a contract. And basically what’s happened here with this whole Junjo Lawes situation
is Greensleeves is trying to steal everybody’s copyright. Because you know it’s too coincidental and it’s
highly convenient for Greensleeves to say they own the product when the producer is dead – which is Junjo. And in order
for Junjo to own the product, Junjo first have to have a contract with the artist, and the artist first have to sign away
all their copyright to Junjo and then Junjo can sign it away to whoever they want. There is no such document trail.
When did you first realise what you allege was happening?
I have a lot of relatives who live in London. I have relatives in London going
all the way back from 1940. When I first started my career in Jamaica, they were the ones who started telling about all
these records that were coming out in my name – Scientist Versus Prince Jammy, Scientist Rids The World Of The Evil
Vampires – they were the ones who first alerted me to this. When I contacted Greensleeves they tried to tell me that
they had the permission from Junjo. I tried to explain to them I didn’t give Junjo the permission. And this thing
went on for a lot of time now, and they’ve been exploiting a lot of artists, every artist, over 30 albums that are
on their label that Junjo produced, they’re exploiting the tracks. They don’t have any permission from any of
those artists. Furthermore, they don’t even have an implied license, there’s no paper trail to say that they’ve
been paying any of these artists any money. And this has been an ongoing thing: If you talk to Jimmy Cliff, if Peter Tosh
was here, if Bob Marley was here, they’d all tell you the same thing. These record companies been ripping them off
for years. And they get away with it because of Jamaica and the ompany’s in the UK. Now as you know if you want to
sue somebody in London you have to have the money to put up a court case and put up a court cost. And if you can’t
put up a court cost it’s extremely hard getting a barrister or a solicitor in London to represent you when you live
in Jamaica. And they all take care to exploit this fact.
went to court in 2005 about the use of your works in the game Grand Theft Auto 3. Are you able to comment?
Yes. I went to San Diego to do a show, went to a supermarket to pick up some food.
Some kid recognised me and said he’d been playing this game that had my songs on it, this game called Grand Theft
Auto, didn’t really know the kid was talking about. So I did some research, for sure, found the game. So I contacted
Greensleeves and said you don’t have my permission, or any of the artists permission to use these tracks, you needed
our permission. “Oh I don’t know what video game… what video game you talking about?” and they
pretended for a long while that they didn’t know. When I emailed them a copy of the game they went “oh yeah,
yeah we remember it, we have licensed it”. But hey you don’t have my permission. Where is the document that
granted permission? On my behalf? On the behalf of the producer and the artists? You have to show it to us. You have to
show it to me at least. Where is the document? “I don’t have to show you the document… you are not an
artist… you’re just an engineer…” What the hell you talking about Chris Sedgwick? You can’t
say I’m not an artist. I been selling these records for a while now and you do not have permission and I have the
right to know about any deal you sign. “Oh we don’t have to talk to you… go get a lawyer…”
So I go away and get a lawyer. Then they have to turn over to us all the documents. But when the Grand Theft Auto decide
to pay me off out of court, when they ask Greensleeves to show them a contract with me – that’s required by
law – they couldn’t do it. The contract that Greensleeves submitted into evidence you could clearly see where
they forged Junjo’s signature. Nobody can write their name exactly the same way twice. You can’t write your
name the same way two seconds later. So they have a contract with Junjo signed in – when? – 1985? And right
before he died where Junjo supposedly signed over all the copyright to them, when you take a copy of the two signatures,
you make a photographic negative, and put it over the top, it matches line for line. All the dirt that was on paper from
1980 when Junjo first sign – it’s on the new paper so it’s clearly a forgery. And furthermore, Junjo
could not sign away all these artists rights. When you talk to Freddie McGregor, Michigan and Smiley, all of them. They’ll
all tell you the same thing – they never signed any contract, any copyright, any publishing away to Junjo so that
Junjo can take it and sign it away. And please, please to ask Greensleeves just to show that paper trail like if I own
a Mercedes Benz and I sell it to buyer number one and buyer number one sells it and it ends up with 50 different buyers,
you can always trace the paperwork say what car lot it came from, what care dealer, who was the first buyer, all the way
to the junkyard. And then to make it worse, was happened was, when we got into court, GTA paid me off out of court. Greensleeves
indemnified GTA saying if there’s been an illegal bill an expense that they would pay back. And this went on for
three years with big park avenue attorneys. And Greensleeves rack up a big bill. I can’t talk about how much money
they paid me, I can’t talk about that side, but they had this paper called Legal Expenses, which caused them to have
to sell their company to this company named Zest. While we were in court I told Greensleeves I’m going to start suing
them again elsewhere round the world. I told them that right on the bench. And so I fired off another couple of lawsuit,
and found out that there is a British law, that has up to three years against anybody bringing in a kind of liabilities
claim against a new company. So when Zest found out themselves were the subject of this lawsuit, them just get up and
get out the game! Zest contacted me and told me that they are worse than Greensleeves, and they’re not playing and
we not getting anything so they just planned to rip off everybody. So when Zest saw the lawsuits coming – Japan,
wherever they sell it, Germany, France, wherever they sell it I’m gonna sue them. I made this clear to them in court.
So you’re not going to give up then?
No. Because we have several different lawsuits pending. Not stopping. Wherever
they sell it I can sue them and anybody who sells it.
spoke to Winston McAnuff the other day. He said he and Max Romeo won their court case but couldn’t collect all the
money they were owed.
Yes but what I been hearing is that’s
not actually – er what you call it – er how I should say this… the people who has the money, they’re
trying to make their own rule and say you cannot go back five or ten years or something that’s not true. The way I
hear it is they owe the money so they have to give it so even the people that hold the money are trying to play some scheme.
But again, that’s in evidence. Max Romeo and the people you just mentioned, all of us are going through the exact
same thing with these record companies. Every one of us. Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff. Jimmy Cliff just got his first royalty
cheque for the Harder They Come! And they been doing it and they been doing it and when he look he sees all these different
compilations, all this different licensing and they not one time contract the artist – no. Here’s what’s
important. When Greensleeves was selling the company to VP they released on paper that, not their top executive, one of
their lowest member, was making seventy-five to a hundred thousand dollars a year. In the meantime, not one of Greensleeves
artists is making five thousand dollars a year. Somebody who works in the office is making over seventy thousand dollars
a year. That means that’s the artists’ money that they’re putting in to their pocket. I charge Chris Sedgwick
and Chris Cracknel are doing this. I caught them with their hands in the cookie jar!
Do you think file sharing and piracy are causing record companies to behave as you allege
or has it always been thus?
It’s providing them with
more of an excuse. Here where the dangers are with filesharing. It provides them with more of an excuse. Again, even with
the Greensleeves situation, every time they have to go to the manufacturer they have to get their license. One of the thing
we caught Greensleeves with is – where are their manufacturing receipts? You claim that the record’s not selling,
but when we trace where the record’s manufactured, you keep pressing ten and fifteen and twenty thousand. Why are
you pressing so much of a product that’s not selling? So now that evidence is basically erased because you can’t
track where they manufacturing. So now a whole bunch of them like Blood & Fire can just close the door, pretend like
the business bankrupt. But when I catch Blood & Fire I find them licensing all kind of music to all these people that
they don’t have any permission. Blood & Fire have a couple of records like one of the ones they have with King
Tubbys – I mixed those tracks. It was not King Tubbys mixed those tracks. I confronted them and if you go back and
look at the interview, a person would ask me “how did you develop a gong sound?” and I tell them how I create
that sound. When you go back and listen to the record you’ll find that sound was never on record before. And that’s
the same record they are saying that King Tubbys mixed. So when I pointed it out to them I said hey, you asked me in the
interview earlier, how did I create the sound? And the sound never exist during King Tubbys time. And yet you release
a record with the same exact sound saying Tubbys mixed it and Tubbys didn’t mix it. So what they doing, all the tracks
that I mixed they been putting King Tubby’s name on it. Why? Because they know that I will sue them. What they don’t
know, I am the executor of King Tubbys estate. I can bring suit against anybody who puts out any King Tubbys product.
Like for example, with Greensleeves record King Tubbys & The Radics – King Tubbys never mixed one record with
the Radics. So they are trying to find a way around me and releasing all my mixes and people think King Tubby did it. Like
Scientist Versus Prince Jammy – Jammys never mixed one track on that record. Jammys do not have my experience. What
live concert Jammys ever mixed with twenty thirty thousand people? The only place Jammys ever worked is round at King
Tubbys at that little piece of hell hole he set up round there. He doesn’t have my experience. Not even Osbourne
Ruddock has my experience. The only place that Osbourne Ruddock worked was round at that fourtrack place that he had.
Osbourne Ruddock and King Jammys does not have the type of experience I have, working on different type of consoles.
Tubby is traditionally viewed as the king of dub,
whereas mainstream music history has tried to paint the late 70s early 80s era of reggae as pride before the fall. But
as time has gone on the generation who grew up with your music are getting to give their version of reggae history.
Yes. I went through a period in Jamaica where every body was jealous of me. Where
a lot of stuff I was doing people tried to take credit for it. And now that I’m not in Jamaica, this is what’s
happening to Jamaican music, you know this. I’m not there any more, Kling Tubbys is not around, and dub doesn’t
exist in Jamaica any more. Anybody who go back and trace the history or my discography can see this. That’s what
Greensleeves or anybody cannot change. You go back and look, and basically Tubby’s period ended 1981 when I start
working there. He had no interest to go inside and mix for anybody. I was like shocked. I couldn’t believe why Tubbys
don’t want to mix! This thing looks exciting. I see people begging him. And the only person he would mix for was
Carlton Patterson where he came out with that Mikey Dread thing. That’s the only person. Nobody could get him in
there to mix. He basically handed me the keys, put me in charge of running the studio. He had no interest. His interest
is where my head is at now. The only thing he was interested in back on those times was finishing the studios and his
electronics. And tracing back by discography, what you see now, right after Tubbys death is all these records that they
been putting the wrong names on. King Tubbys & Skatalites. King Tubbys never mixed one song with the Skatalites! That’s
just people making up these titles. King Tubbys at Channel One? King Tubbys never set one foot in Channel One! And to
strengthen my point, any song mixed at King Tubbys have a distinctive sound that cannot be mistaken. Two distinctive sounds:
the High Pass filter, and his Reverb Unit. If you back and listen to all those sound that King Tubbys is supposed to have
mixed, like Channel One, Channel One have a very distinctive reverb sound. You can go back and say, "that’s
the Channel One reverb not a King Tubbys reverb!"
started in radio repairs. Which has been more important to your music – your creative or technical side?
Both. But the technical side gave me a transparency and that’s what gave
me the edge over these other engineers. That’s what put me and Tubbys on the top.
Dub is traditionally thought of as non-vocal but you are very vocal…
You want to know how come I didn’t start singing? Because I didn’t
want to scare everybody away!!!! (LAUGHS) I’m not a singer! But let me tell you something, when I was growing up in
Kingston, I was getting ready to go on the wrong side of the fence. I was hanging out with all the guys that would probably
put me in jail or got me killed. As a teenager growing up I didn’t know any better. I was smoking cigarettes, drinking
beers, and I was on the wrong side of the street. The first time I started smoking… they call it marijuana…
Pot… that was a different vision of life. I had no interest to go out and hang around or anything like that. And
I started getting attracted to music. So that has been one of the bigger inspirations.
It’s been said many times that Tubby didn’t smoke. And Mikey Dread once said
in an interview that most engineers didn’t smoke on the job. Did you ever smoke while mixing?
Yep! All those albums you been listening to where I was mixing I been smoking
marijuana. That’s crap. That’s one of the things where I get pissed off. You have all these people come, they
do an interview, some of them can barely understand your patois, they misunderstand what you say and they go write this
nonsense from Bob Marley til right now. And now in America, any hip hop studio or any hip hop session running, they’re
all inside there smoking pot. Pot, right, is not a gateway drug. It’s a plant. Look at what happens? O J Simpson
trial – this might be a little bit off the subject – the guy who invented DNA is one of the world’s biggest
pot smoker. They refused to use his testimony because it was discovered quote unquote “he’s a pot smoker!”
But they’re using the technology that the man developed! When you come here to Los Angeles here, some of the most
respectable people society look up to – they all smoke marijuana. Some of the most creative people – Bob Marley!
(LAUGHS) You know it is not a drug. I am a master electronic engineer. I am smoking a joint. Do I sound disoriented to
you? Right! It’s not a gateway drug. I never did anything else.
How does politics affect your music?
think music is affecting the politics. And politics is affecting the music. This is what – Jamaica as everybody know
was a slave country. And every country that you can think of, including the great United States Of America, was colonised
by Britain. One little tiny place. You could drop it in California a hundred times and keep going. But that place conquered
the whole world. Out of that you had these oppressed people that did basically the same thing that America did –
which was to fight for their freedom. So rather than fighting the type of war that America fought to get its freedom, reggae
fought it musically. And reggae has been the same – as with Bob Marley – it has been constantly talking about
the system, how everybody being ripped off by the system. And this is the thing that caused people of different colours
– or one of the things – that can cause people of different colours to come to one place – all congregate
– and have a good time. For example Reggae On The River - or Reggae Rising as it’s now called. Twenty five
thousand and more every year. And they all get together different people of different colours – they all smoke pot
– and they all get along and all go home. Two weeks later a big beer drinking festival and what happens? All kinda
DUI arrests. All kinda fights. All kinda bad things happen. So reggae been doing that. What you find is all of the small
islands around the world, in Mexico, all the remote places, reggae is their music. And here’s what – this is
a FACT. Without reggae you could not develop the type of hi fidelity that’s in music today. If you go back in time,
when you listen to Rolling Stones and The Beatles that have unlimited money to go make whatever record they want, it sounds
paper thin! It sounds like they in somebody’s bathroom, the drums sound all clink clink clonk! No bass to it. When
you run those music through the spectrum analyser you see that it’s only picking up a tiny portion of the audio spectrum.
Audio is from twenty to twenty thousand cycles. So the bandwidth in all those music is very narrow. Reggae has very wide
bandwidth from the lowest to the highest. The way they make rock music you can’t take this and test these speakers.
You cannot. So without reggae you would not have the type of speaker boxes you see them bringing in these concerts. Without
reggae you wouldn’t have hip hop. Without reggae you wouldn’t have all these different type of music. But a
lot of people here especially in the U.S. they don’t want to give reggae that credit. As a result you find that
when any of these hip hop or rock engineers get reggae to mix it’s like they gone back to kindergarten – they
can’t handle it!
You can hear instantly
when someone’s not doing reggae properly.
Yes! You can
clearly hear it. But for some reason – especially in America – they don’t want give credit to reggae.
They try to hide it. Reggae is the hardest music to engineer and if you can do reggae everything else is lightweight,
everything else is easier. Whether if you’re a musician or you’re an engineer, when you learn how to play
reggae, when you go back to play your rock or your classical it’s going to become a piece of cake.
What do you think of modern mastering techniques? They seem
to be getting louder and the dynamic ranger is getting lower.
is what happens in the record industry. Most of the A&R people is like the blind leading the blind. They don’t
really know anything for themselves so the only thing they can rely on is "well so and so made the music and this
guy mastered it so it they must all go and sound that way". This is what is mastering: back when you had vinyl you’d
need a little mastering skill. When you were making a little 45 that had a lot of bass you’d need to adjust the grooves
so when the bass reach it the grooves don’t overlap and cause the record to skip. You needed the skill. In this
digital age, the people who do mastering are basically ripping off the people. Here’s why. When somebody start to
master a record you don’t have a separated track. You’re working from a stereo track. The only thing you can
do to it is add a little bass, take off bass, put some highs, take off mids… you can’t just go and pick an
individual instrument and change it. But this whole thing about mastering, especially in the digital age, that when a song
is properly mixed you’re not supposed to do anything like that to it. No compression! They all swear by the bible
of compression. I never used a compressor. The only thing a compressor do is constantly turning down the track. The only
thing I used compressors on is vocals. No compressor on bass. It doesn’t make the bass get any more solid. It doesn’t
make the bass get any more fat. All that stuff we was doing at Channel One and that stuff there – there is no compression
But now many reggae
reissues are mastered in the way you just described.
because record company guys are compared to me and Tubbys just peanut brains. What the hell do they know about recording
to make that decision? If you notice even the records coming from Jamaica. I can go and pull up some records, I can go
right down into the vault. Especially that stuff like what Jammys put that he mixed with Half Pint that’s a good
reference point. That’s when I was just starting to get that sound right at Channel One. Even Jamaica can’t
produce that sound anymore. I was the one who created that sound there. But everybody was trying to take credit for it.
Now that I leave you will notice that that kind of fidelity is not coming out. So what I want companies like Greensleeves
to do is do all the mastering that they think is right then we can go back to those original records and we can have a
comparison. And what I can bet them is that the original record that they have is mastered properly without all these
bullshit techniques that don’t work sounds better.
favourite is (album is) Dub Landing. Tell me a bit about how this record came to be?
That’s the next pirate record. All those records, those people doesn’t have any permission. Linval
Thompson doesn’t have any permission to put out my stuff. What’s been going on is Linval Thompson is the next
one who’s been going around pirating people’s stuff. They don’t have any permission. You bought a pirated
record. Even on the original vinyl it’s a pirated record. Doesn’t have the contract based on the law, they
all need permission. It’s just a matter of time before I find them and serve them. Like we’re getting ready
to go back to court again with Greensleeves. If you heard in the recording, Greensleeves paid Jammys to come to court
to tell a lie. And then Jammys got caught on tape talking about how he told a lie and so what?
Extraterrestrial life features strongly in your work. How do aliens figure
in your philosophy?
Well you think we’d just be here
alone out there in this universe? When you used to watch Star Trek back in the 1970s when it just came out before we have
this stuff like cell phones. Back then it just looked like a joke but now it’s a reality. There’s been so much
evidence here that the U.S. government has been covering up about these things. It’s not just we alone in this universe.
You’d be stupid to believe that. Anybody who believes we are alone in the universe is out of touch with reality.
I personally believe we are all programmed. Whether they want to believe or not we are programmed. You are programmed
to do what you do, I am programmed to do what I do. Now, who pull those strings? Who control those strings? You think it’s
a man really invented the Hubble telescope? He has been programmed to do it. Everything you can think of came from out
of the earth and something has to put it in your brains. You think you just get up one day and be this man who does such?
These things existed. We’re just discovering them. We discover these things as we go through life. This is not what
you really created. You discover that you could create electricity this way. And once man figured out you could create
electricity then came all sorts of other things. Then you have the lightbulb and you have these different branches that
people discovered. It is not really a man who create these things. So my philosophies are definitely the belief that earth
is controlled by other elements and it’s not really ready to reveal itself yet.
Why did you choose to go to America?
Well again, it goes back to what was going on when I was working at the Channel One studio. Everybody was fighting.
First the Channel One owners was fighting that it was their studio and why it sound like that? They started to fool the
client by leaving out all the outboard gear that Channel One would only use for Channel One sessions so the new sound
being perceived from the special mics and the special equipment being left out was why the studio sounded like that. What
the clients then learned is when other engineers used the same equipment they didn’t get what I get. They couldn’t
produce that sound. So everybody was fighting then. Then after I left King Tubbys I didn’t want to work with Juno
and certain people because they had been exploiting my tracks. And if you remember that album Scientist Versus Prince
Jammy – sorry – I mean Scientist Versus Pacman. Next time when you look at that album, when you turn over the
cover, what you’re gonna see is a man dressed in a robe. Remember King Jammys is ballhead right? That you see there
is actually Jammys making a plot because he was very jealous. And I got tipped off by the people who was working at Channel
One that he wanted to do me harm. That motivated me to leave Channel One because I could see these people only wanted to
come and work at night time and I been tipped off by kids who live in the ghetto. The mistake that they make is they come
to an ex hood. And when you’re respected in the hood nobody can just come around there and just do any thing like
that. And when they think that I would leave with them at night time I would just sleep around there. So whatever plan
they had didn’t get carried out. Then I left and go to Tuff Gong and after I went to work at Tuff Gong Channel One
closed because they couldn’t reproduce that sound any more. They closed. And everybody who never worked at Tuff
Gong, overnight they start working at Tuff Gong. Then I start getting all these threats from the Channel One sound, how
I took their sound, how I took their customers and carried it to Tuff Gong. What sound? I said to Jojo and his crew? Suddenly
you are all engineers? What sound did I take? That is part of my brains! I have to take them with me everywhere I go.
So next time when you pick up Scientist Versus Pacman you’ll see the guy there who pointed to all my album jackets
– that’s Jammys right there with his plot and we learned about it.
How has it changed since you arrived in 1985?
Oh my god. It was one of the worst. Everybody got more jealous because I been living in this country. I now can
see all the people who pirated my stuff. And I can drag Greensleeves and others into court. So a lot of people try to
spread rumours about how I blow up people’s speakers, I blow up studios and all this. And the only thing that ever
happened to any studio that I ever been into is they sounded better than they ever sounded, even in Hollywood here. Don’t
care if it’s Madonna, The Rolling Stones, when I work in the same studio they work into, they cannot produce the
type of sound that I can produce in any genre. Whether it is rock music or hip hop I can produce a better sound than them.
A lot of people them just started a whole bunch of crap. Especially Greensleeves.
Is there anything else you’d like to say before we finish?
Yes. I’m getting ready to go back to court again. Have you visited www.myspace.com/jammyslies?
You will hear where Jammys has a gunman call me and made threats talking about when he comes to America both I and Jah
Life is gonna be dead if we don’t stop these lawsuits. We have Jammys on tape saying he lied in court, right? If
you talk to Wailing Souls, anybody, the only person away from Osbourne Ruddock King Tubbys who had a key to 18 Dromilly
Avenue was I. If Jammys wanted to go inside that studio he had first to get my permission and when I tell him to leave
he had to leave. He was never my boss. We’re getting ready to go back to court and the truth always find a way of
coming out. VP know that they’re buying stolen property so now VP bought the law suit. They bought Greensleeves
company so now they bought all the liabilities. And more than any body else Chris knows that Greensleeves does not own
the product. Furthermore Greensleeves didn’t even try to settle the estate. The producer’s dead so the law
require them to settle the estate.
...Read The Full Article...