Started From Scratch Image

by Tanaka Roberts

Katz visits to London in the 1980s would forever change his life and submerge him even deeper into the world of reggae music. Today he still significantly contributes to the life and preservation of the music there. He shared his journey and thoughts with

David Katz's first extended stay in London would come about after fate lead him to his first encounter with Jamaican music's icon Lee Scratch Perry. Ever since then the author has called the town home, where he is also a renowned disc jock, hosting one of Brixton's longest running Jamaican music nights.

It all began while he was working for an underground magazine called Wiring Department in 1986, Katz wrote a feature on Perry's newly released album Battle of Armagideon. "In my early discoveries within reggae, Lee Perry's work was always the most striking and individual," now Reggae maven, David Katz told Later that year he travelled to London which was then the home of Perry. It was this trip that would result in the production of his first book "People Funny Boy: The Genius of Lee Scratch Perry.

"In late 1986, I came back to London and found that Perry was living here so I made arrangements to interview him for WD, at a nightclub called Dingwalls. But, when we met, we did not actually do the interview. He spent the entire night doing strange rituals, standing on one leg and holding bare electric lightbulbs in his hand, blowing herb smoke through a wooden flute that he would stick into his nostrils etc.  But he did take the article I'd written about Battle of Armagideon away with him. The next day, he summoned me to the recording studio he was based at, and put me through a strange initiation ceremony involving some stones from the river Thames and a ring with a winged death's head on it. Apparently he'd been searching for a 'ghost writer' to help him pen his autobiography, and figured I was the one, based on what I'd written about the album, and especially its opening track, 'Introducing Myself.' So despite my protests, I became the 'ghost writer' and spend the next 2 years in his company, seeing him nearly every day, at his request." Katz recounted.

After a long 10 years of research, interviews and searching for a willing publisher, the book would finally come to fruition. Two solid years of writing, and another of re-writes, meant the book was first published in 2000. It presents a thorough examination of the legendary reggae musician's life and work. For many, it would be able to shed light on a man who has proven to be one of, if not the most enigmatic characters in Jamaican music. The 500+ page of the finely printed and meticulously detailed publication was described as an "evident labour of love by the author" by one reader. In 2006 a revised version was produced with a new chapter covering what took place after the book first surfaced.  The text was completely overhauled, to remove what some felt was superfluous information, and a few factual corrections were made. Some new testimony from Perry and his peers was also added, making the new edition a more factually accurate and greatly improved read.

It comes as no surprise though that after all these years and his longstanding relationship with Lee Perry, Katz remains a connoisseur for dub music. These days you can find David Katz around the turn tables in London where he djs at "Dub Me Always" every second Wednesday of every month 'Upstairs The Ritzy'. The 'reggae and dub extravaganza' is one of the longest on-going events in Brixton and is rather special since Katz plays only vinyl records for his audience, with the exception of the occasional CD burner of material that is yet to be released. His selections include rare records ranging from ska, dub, roots reggae, rocksteady and foundation dancehall..

He does find favor in some of the newer generation artistes specifically, Romain Virgo, Jah 9, Protoje, Tarrus Riley, Ragin Fyah and Addis Pablo. He also relayed being impressed with Busy Signal's latest album "Reggae Music Again", especially with the dub component of it (of course) and Dread At The Control featuring Micah Shemaiah which pays homage to the Roots Radic and Rockers era.

Having studied the music for over two decades now he sees promise in the current direction that the music is headed stating, "JAmaican music is constantly reinventing itself and I've been really inspired by this whole 'Reggae Revival' that is happening -- it is great to hear real instruments, more individual sounds and messages, and to see artists cooperating with each other.  It will be really interesting to see where the new movement leads but I've been really impressed with much of it so far."

For updates from David Katz visit

Image To contort oneself into the prescribed of mediocre minds - contradicts character.
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