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Biography

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Scratchy’s illustrious career on the decks has taken him from Glastonbury to Sziget, from the Palac Akropolis in Prague to L’Olympia in Paris and from London’s Dingwalls to NYC’s Palladium.

For the past 40 years, this Selectah has been Rockin’ The Frontline. Starting at The Speakeasy in late 1975, he moved on, the following year, to his two-year residency at Dingwalls Dancehall which included his first punk gig on July 5th 1976, alongside The Ramones. From 2006 to 2015, he was the resident disc spinner at top London night The Gypsy Hotel.

As a Tour DJ, he was on the road with The Clash from 1978-80 and over the last thirty years has been similarly associated with Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros, Dr. Feelgood, The Pogues, Gogol Bordello, Groundation, The Dead Brothers and The Urban Voodoo Machine.

Always seeking fresh outlets and audiences that are ready to party and be amazed, in 2008 Scratchy added to his long list of triumphs by shaking clubs from the Boulevard in Rimini to the Scala in London. He rattled festival tents and stages from Rock for People and Trutnov in the Czech Republic to the Wig-On Casino at the UK’s Endorse-It and he rolled ships from le Bateau Geneve in Switzerland to la Dame de Canton in Paris. In 2009, Scratchy captivated audiences at le Festival des Giboulees, the United Islands of Prague and the Gypsy Hotel special at the Hackney Empire.

The Bring On 2010 Tour saw Scratchy debut in Athens and Zaragoza, return to Barcelona for the first time in his own right since playing there with Gogol, premiere in Albania playing the Tranzit Festival in the abandoned 5-star Dajti Hotel, formerly for communist dignitaries, in Tirana and followed that with an appearance in the old castle of Cosenza, Italy for Le Strade del Paesaggio. He entered the new decade with The Urban Voodoo Machine at their club night The Gypsy Hotel.

In 2010, Scratchy continued his London residencies at the Gypsy Hotel and Big Chill Sundae. He has frequently guested at the rock’n’roll & rhythm’n’blues night Big Ten Inch and made his first visits to Ukraine to play in Kiev and at the Stare Misto Festival in Lviv alongside Goran Bregovic and The Urban Voodoo Machine. In July he made a first appearance with two nights at Colours of Ostrava.

August saw a series of glorious returns as Scratchy played on Le Bateau Geneve and at the Endorse It and Trutnov festivals, all for a third successive year. He was also back at Sziget for the first time since he debuted there in 2006, with a series of shows over the course of the week.

In October 2010, Scratchy showcased at WOMEX10. In November Scratchy was back in Greece, not only returning to Athens but also playing in Komotini and Thessaloniki. He saw out the year with gigs in London, Berlin, Paris and Geneva, culminating in the traditional Gypsy Hotel New Year’s Eve Party.

The mission continued unabated in 2011, playing with Mama Rosin, whose music he has supported since seeing a nascent version of the band open up for The Dead Brothers at the launch of their Wunderkammer album, visiting Bologna for Irlanda in Festa and running riot across the dancefloors of the World Village Festival in Helsinki and at the World Day Festival, his debut in Tallinn, Estonia.

In July, the 35th anniversary of that notable Dingwalls Ramones gig coincided with the 200th programme of Scratchy Sounds, his radio show on wirelessfm. Scratchy marked this double cause for celebration with a special broadcast of the kind of music that had been on his decks in the five-year period from 1976, spanning the days from that memorable night to the very first series of Scratchy Sounds in ‘80/’81. It also launched the Globalista Rhythms and The Universal Blues World Tour 2011/12. Later that same month, he also revisited the seventies punky reggae rock’n’roll mood, joining his old compadre Johnny Green along with Chuck Prophet & Spanish Bombs on a night of London Calling. In October, he followed up two shows at The Ulsan World Music Festival in Korea by also debuting in Japan at the Asagiri Jam Festival, ending with his first ever Tokyo club show.

2012 saw the launch of The Treble Top Tour a celebration of his own sixty years rockin’ on the planet, with a particular nod of respect and remembrance to Joe Strummer, who’s sixtieth birthday was noted at The Strummer of Love Festival in August. Also, as part of paying a tenth annual tribute to Joe who left us in December of 2002, Scratchy took part in Arms Aloft in Acton Town in November, marking the 10th Anniversary of the Fire Brigade Union support gig that Strummer, the Mescaleros and Scratchy participated in, as part of the Bringing It All Back Home Tour, a short month before Joe passed on. To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Joe Strummer’s death, Scratchy was in France, on the eve of that occasion, to play a special DJ set in Paris back at L’Alimentation Generale, travelling to Angers the following day, December 22nd, for a tribute event, Strummer’s Xmas Party, in front of a packed 700-strong crowd.

During 2012, Scratchy made a spellbinding return to Japan, playing at Fuji Rock, touring with Argentinian/Puerto Rican legends Mimi Maura and he rounded off with his own showcase night back in Tokyo. To celebrate turning sixty himself, at the September Gypsy Hotel, Scratchy fronted a band made up of some his buddies from The Urban Voodoo Machine as 60 Scratch, playing a set of garage, rockabilly and reggae tunes, specially selected by him for the occasion.

2013 got underway with Scratchy’s first visit to South America, showcasing and delivering a conference talk, When Worlds Collide, at Porto Musical, the music event in Recife, Brazil. Making steps towards Africa, he performed in April, at the Kriol Jazz Festival 2013 in Praia, Cape Verde.

Summer 2013 found Scratchy back in Japan for his own storming 11-11 Tour, named for 11 sets in 11 days, which climaxed back on the Crystal Palace Stage of Fuji Rock, for a second successive year.

Highlights of 2014 included Scratchy in New York and in Santa Maria Capua Vetere, Italy with the stunning Spartacus Ampitheatre as backdrop, whilst the likes of regular haunt L’Alimentation Generale in Paris and a sixth year out of seven, at the Trutnov Festival, now renamed Trutnoff, alongside headliners Patti Smith and Tinariwen, brightened up the summer. Throughout the year, Scratchy also cemented a return to the specialist vinyl sets he had been gradually building over the previous few years, with a monthly residency in the basement, Underdog@BrewdogShoreditch, presenting five hours of non-stop, stompin’ Roots Rockin’ Rhythms and Blues.

2014 spectacularly became 2015 in front of up to 30,000 people in the Piazza Maggiore, Bologna. Scratchy was back in Italy in both Bologna and Padova for Irlanda in Festa, as well as making a much-lauded first showing at the Ariano Folkfestival later in the year. Scratchy was also invited back to Hamilton, Ontario to once again feature in their annual Joe Strummer tribute. It also provided the opportunity to hook up with The Slackers, who were ending their current tour in Toronto and Ottowa and continue on with the band’s Vic Ruggiero for the Vic’n’Scratchy Show tour of Eastern Canada. He also packed a bag of 45s and made a trip to Oslo to join the 20th anniversary celebration for Los Plantronics.

Kicking off with his fourth tour of Japan in December 2015 and continuing throughout 2016, including pioneering shows in Bangkok, Beijing and Bangkok, 40 Years Of Scratchy Sounds celebrates the glorious mix of electrifying music that Scratchy has brought together over the four decades since he began to make his mark on the decks of London’s club scene during the mid 1970s.

In 2004, Scratchy compiled the highly praised Scratchy Sounds: Ska, Dub, Roots and Reggae Nuggets on Trojan and was also invited by Piranha Records in 2007 to select the tracks for one of their downloadable Jubilee releases, Rockin’ the Barricades. He continues to be active on the recording front, contributing two dub mixes for the album Re:Plugged – Remixes of Jaune Toujours & Mec Yek and in March 2011, releasing the album Gypsy Hotel: Bourbon Soaked, Snake Charmin’, Rock’n’Roll Cabaret Vol.1 with some of the finest bands to have played live or been featured on the Gypsy Hotel’s decks as selected by Scratchy and the club’s host & booker Paul-Ronney Angel.

Scratchy has been described by one of his listeners as a Music Shaman. Whether on his weekly internet ‘Scratchy Sounds’ radio show, on wirelessfm, or in the flesh, Scratchy’s legendary and vibrant selections will delight, make you want to dance to some of the greatest music on the planet and take you places where others fear to tread.

SCRATCHY SOUNDS
Musical Shamanism:
The Rock and The Roll of The World,
Globalista Rhythms and The Universal Blues
.

General Enquiries and Booking:
Global Booking: Florian Joeckel at Guilty ’76 booking [at] guilty76.de
Japan Booking: Shogo Komiyama at Japonicus info [at] japonicus.com
UK Booking: info [at] scratchysounds.co.uk

Scratchy is renown for his constantly shifting and never predictable, Rockin’, Roma, Dubbed-Up, Mestizo mixes which take a voyage through the sound-scapes of “London to Louisiana, Kingston to Colombia, Bucharest to Bollywood.”

Scratchy is also available for nights of Ska, Dub & Roots Reggae Nuggets, as well as sets that concentrate on 50s & 60s Rockin & Soulful Garage Rhythm & Blues or those that follow The Road of the Roma, all vital elements of The Rock and The Roll of The World.

Scratchy can also be booked spinning sets of The Roots, Rockin’ Rhythms of Rock’n’Roll, Rhythm’n’Blues and Reggae on CD or Vinyl.

Downloadable version of Scratchy’s Demo Mix 2011-12

Discography
Scratchy Sounds: Ska, Dub, Roots & Reggae Nuggets,  double CD on Trojan
Piranha Jubilee Vol.7: Rockin’ the Barricades, available from all good download stores.
Re:Plugged: Remixes of Jaune Toujours & Mec Yek incl. two Scratchy Dubs on Choux de Bruxelles)
Gypsy Hotel: Bourbon Soaked, Snake Charmin’, Rock’n’Roll Cabaret Vol.1.

Links

Full Bio

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