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Old 03-28-2008, 05:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Mikey Dread R.I.P.

I only just found out about this & nobody else seems to have posted it here yet. Here's his Times obituary ....


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Mikey Dread was a key player in the unlikely marriage between punk and reggae that enlivened British pop music in the late 1970s. When the Clash invited him to London to work with them in 1979, he was already an award-winning broadcaster in Jamaica and a well-known dreadlocked reggae performer. But his production work on the Clash’s hit single Bankrobber and his presence on the band’s albums Black Market Clash and Sandinista! introduced him to a wider audience. He also toured with the Clash in Britain, Europe and the US, helping to introduce reggae into the mainstream.

His catchphrase was “Dread at the controls”, the name of his first radio show in Jamaica and which he later applied to his debut record release and his own record company. For most of his career he balanced the dual roles of performer and broadcaster and during the 1980s he was a familiar figure on British television, presenting reggae shows and narrating documentaries about Jamaican music.

Born Michael Campbell in Port Antonio on the northeast coast of Jamaica in 1954 (some sources give 1948), he studied engineering and electronics in Kingston and in 1975 landed a job as an engineer with the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC). Unimpressed with the station’s playlists, which favoured bland, imported US pop over the potent indigenous reggae music being recorded on the island, Campbell campaigned to change the policy. His arguments were persuasive and in 1976 the JBC gave him his own show.

Adopting the DJ name Mikey Dread and using his own large collection of vinyl 45s and LPs, he played nothing but Jamaican reggae and in no time Dread at the Controls, as he called the show, was JBC’s most popular programme. He was a natural broadcaster, presenting the music with an exuberant, irreverent sense of fun and an adventurous sonic style in the creation of his own jingles and sound effects. The show grew to a marathon four-hour slot, and he won the island’s Radio Personality of the Year award in 1977 and 1978.

In 1979 he left the JBC to become a recording artist in his own right. Having made his reputation on the radio it was an obvious move to dee-jaying on record. His first single, produced by Lee Perry and called, inevitably, Dread at the Controls, was a huge hit in Jamaica. Further imaginative singles followed for such producers as Joe Gibbs, Sonia Pottinger and Carlton Patterson. He then set up his own label, Dread at the Controls, and produced some of the freshest-sounding records of the period, featuring his own DJ-ing skills and roots reggae singers such as Sugar Minott and Junior Murvin. He also issued a series of dub sides (rhythm sections only) including Internal Energy, Robbers Roost, Parrot Jungle and African Anthem, which revitalised the dub form and made a considerable impact when they were imported into Britain.

His recordings also brought him to the attention of the Clash. Their first collaboration, Bankrobber, made the Top Ten in 1980. Campbell was even more in evidence on the 10in album Black Market Clash, which brilliantly fused late-1970s punk rock with heavy reggae bass and drum lines. He was also heard on several reggae-tinged cuts on the Clash’s sprawling triple album Sandinista! and went on tour around the world with the band.

The exposure boosted sales of Campbell’s own albums, some of which mixed in his radio show jingles with his heavy dub mixes. Among his most successful albums, all released between 1979 and 1981, were Dread at the Controls, African Anthem, Ay the Control Dubwise and World War III.

While in London he also extended his skills by taking a course at the National Broadcasting School. It helped him to become the face of reggae music in Britain, and in the early 1980s he was regularly seen on TV. He narrated the 1982 six-part Channel 4 reggae documentary Deep Roots Music and hosted the series Rockers Roadshow the following year.

In the late 1980s he moved to Florida where he undertook further courses in electronics, video production and business studies. The latter served him well: after shrewdly waiting until the existing contracts on his old recordings had expired, he regained control of his back catalogue and rereleased much of it for the first time on CD on his own label.

He continued to tour and record, including a 1992 collaboration with the Guns N’ Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin on the duet Can’t Hear ’Em. He also worked as a producer and presenter on US and Caribbean TV shows, acting as programme director for the Caribbean Satellite Network and even trying his hand at news reporting for a Miami-based station.

Michael “Mikey Dread” Campbell, musician, producer and broadcaster, was born in 1954. He died of cancer on March 15, 2008, aged about 53
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Old 03-28-2008, 05:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Damn shame. Super Black Market Clash is an acquired taste but I personally love the album. Reggae music should get more love.
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Old 03-28-2008, 05:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The stuff he did with The Clash is some of my favourite stuff by them. Never got around to hearing his own stuff , not from the lack of looking for it anyway. Now is as good a time as any to try and do something about that.
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Old 03-28-2008, 05:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I've only heard his work with the Clash but in parts Sandinista! was great. RIP
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Old 03-14-2014, 01:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Stumbled upon the fact that today marks 6 years since the passing of the great Mikey Dread.

Although Dread is fondly remembered for his work on Black Market Clash and Sandinista, my first exposure to him was through Adrian Sherwood's On U Sound compilations, which featured great artists like Prince Far I, Bim Sherman and Congo Ashanti Roy.

This was my entrance into the world of reggae, and despite the talent of Prince Far I and the others, I never found they could beat Mikey backed by session players, though Far I comes close.

I thus challenge someone to find something better from the above listed then this little gem, RIP Mikey Dread

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Old 04-24-2015, 01:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Just listened to the clips and got a history lesson from my kid Mike, who's a reggae master.

RIP. Great stuff.
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Old 04-25-2015, 02:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Chula Vista View Post
Just listened to the clips and got a history lesson from my kid Mike, who's a reggae master.

RIP. Great stuff.
Mickey Dread check out - his work he did with On U Sound singers & players
- His World War 3 album is pretty good
- The song Justice Tonight by the Clash, he produced I t as well as One More Time.
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Old 05-08-2015, 01:53 AM   #8 (permalink)
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RIP Mikey
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Old 01-04-2016, 05:48 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Rip
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Old 05-29-2016, 10:07 AM   #10 (permalink)
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