Captain’s Quarters: Bunny Lee on the Birth of Soundsystem Culture

Words by Jesse Serwer, via Shimmy Shimmy

“People were getting fed up [with the musicians] cos they’d drink up the rum and eat up the food, and the people didn’t have anything to sell because of them. So it was a great relief when the soundsystem came in cos you’d just put on the record and play.” That’s music legend Bunny “Striker” Lee, speaking on the practicalities that led to the genesis of sound system culture in Jamaica.

Our friends over at the UK’s Shimmy Shimmy blog scored a great interview with the pioneering producer at a London pub, gleaning all sorts of gem including his own first-person recaps on the birth of reggae and dub. The best part of it all, though, might be the Santa-esque look—all-red sweatsuit capped with his trademark captain’s cap—the now 70-year-old Lee is rocking. Read the full thing here, and check out this scene from England’s Deep Roots Music documentary series for a revealing glimpse of how Mr. Lee gets down in the studio: