Sad news today for fans of seminal alt-country/cowpunk/roots rock act Jason & the Scorchers…the band’s original drummer Perry Baggs has passed away.
I had the opportunity to see the Baggs-anchored lineup of the Scorchers multiple times in my collegiate days of the late 1980′s and those gigs (mostly at the late, great Rockafellas but also a memorable pair of outdoor shows on the USC campus) remain among the best live shows I’ve ever seen. The band as whole, Perry included, were always gracious and thankful to those of us who came out to support their appearances.
From the information provided in the official obituary online today and written by Katrina, his girlfriend for the past 12 years, Perry found God and some peace in his life, too. Scroll down past the obit for a few classic Scorchers videos:
Perry Armand Baggs III, 50, was born in Nashville March 22, 1962 to his parents, Perry Armand Baggs II and Betty Grace Baggs. He was raised in the Sylvan Park area and went to Cohn High School. Perry’s family attended Park Avenue Baptist Church during his childhood and adolescent years. His mother and father were talented singers, who played a key role in the church’s musical program.
Perry has a daughter, Faith Elizabeth Baggs, El Paso Texas; three sisters, Grace, of Nashville, Kelly and Rachel, both of Knoxville; and several nephews.
When Perry was about 19 years old, he got an opportunity to audition as a drummer for the Nashville-based, country-punk band Jason and the Scorchers. He spent the next 21 years as the band’s percussionist.
Jason and the Scorchers were on major record labels. They had music videos on MTV and toured with some of the best in the business, notably REM and Bob Dylan.
Jason and the Scorchers garnered critical acclaim in the early 1980s for its unique blending of the country and punk rock musical genres. The critics loved the band, and in 2008, Jason and the Scorchers earned a lifetime achievement award for best musical performance at the Americana Music Awards, held at The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.
Perry also worked as an archivist in the library of The Tennessean newspaper for 17 years before he was offered a buyout as part of a massive, company-wide reduction in staff at that time. He then sought disability because he had already been on dialysis for kidney failure for two years. He began receiving a disability check within six months of the initial filing.
Since that time, he has been an active member of Scottsboro First Baptist Church. For the past three years, Perry has been a dedicated soloist and bass player at church. For a few months, the church has been paying him to play bass. Before that, he donated his time. Perry’s contribution to the Scottsboro First Baptist music program helped the worship services to come alive, to touch someone’s heart for Christ.
Perry was kind, compassionate, funny, generous, loving and high-energy. He was someone who enjoyed life. Perry loved home-cooked meals, movies, music, surfing big waves at the beach and to spend time with people he considered family: blood relatives, church members, friends and his significant other. Most of all, he loved God, and he lived his life for Jesus Christ every day.