The extended Jason & The Scorchers Family were immensely saddened this week to hear of the untimely death of their original drummer Perry Baggs.
“I first heard the news of Perry’s passing a few minutes before my solo show in London. I was determined to do a great show, since I knew that is what Perry would have wanted. I waited until the encores to announce the news, and then told stories of Perry and sang “White Lies”, then my favorite Perry generated Scorcher song “Somewhere Within.” Everyone in the room knew what he had done, and the enormous God Given talent that man was blessed with.
Perry and I shared many common spiritual and musical beliefs. It was no accident that his harmonies with me were sublimely perfect. He had a gift was making me sound better than I am! In later years we drifted apart, but I will always count the 20 years I spent in the trenches with him to be one of my life’s great blessings. My good memories with him are beyond count. I will always hear that voice.
Much is made of Perry’s drumming, and seldom a month passes where I don’t meet a drummer who was deeply influenced by his originality. However, Perry was a total musician. Music was his DNA, the way a bird flies south or a rooster crows in the morning. He could play guitar, piano, bass, drums, and trumpet. He was a brilliant singer, and his songwriting helped define Jason and the Scorchers. He was also a great song arranger, a fact very few folks knew about him. He wrote songs in three dimensions, not just a melody and lyric.
In the 90s, when the band travelled in the US we normally took separate vehicles to give everyone their space. We were a volatile outfit. Me and Perry were paired in one of the cars. He drove nights and I drove the days. I would go to sleep with 200 miles to go and wake up 2 hours later at the destination! To this day I don’t know how he did that!! But that was Perry. He had many gifts.”
July 14, 2012
Perry performing at The Perryfest benefit shows held at the Exit Inn, Nashville in 2007. Photographs by Paul Needham.