Mikey Dread (Michael George Campbell) , DJ, broadcaster, producer and singer: born Port Antonio, Jamaica 4 June 1954; married (four sons, two daughters); died Stamford, Connecticut 15 March 2008.
More sad news for roots fans comes with the announcement of the passing of Mikey Dread, DJ, Producer, Singer and Broadcaster. Much loved by those of us turned on to reggae via punk (and particularly by The Clash), his career and influence went much further.
A physics graduate who got his first job as a radio engineer at JBC in Kingston; his complaints of the pop bias of the stations output led to his being given his own show, playing strictly rockers and dub in the late 1970's.
On leaving JBC he set up his own label Dread at the Controls releasing his own work including the JA No.1 hit Barber Saloon as well as productions for other singers and artists.
His work always had the Deep Roots edge. Many 12" singles and LP's followed until he finally took up an invitation to tour with The Clash. He also recorded with them and, at the first session, it is said he spent two days not knowing what Joe Strummer was saying and finally suggesting they slowed it all down a bit and skanked it up. He supported them in the UK on the London Calling tour, recorded Bankrobber as well as tracks on the Sandinista album. It was the epitome of the punk/reggae crossover.
He continued to record throughout his career, producing some of the greatest heavyweight rockers, beautifully recorded. His broadcast work flourished through the 1980's, working on reggae documentaries for Channel Four. His articulate style and academic approach make the work compulsive viewing. He pursued his studies into electronics and recording technology and techniques wherever he went.
He continued to work consistently since then; moving between JA, the UK and the USA where he passed away on 15th March (this year) of a brain tumour. He was only 54 years of age. He has been seen most recently in the UK working with the Channel One Sound System, selecting and toasting in his signature sing-jay style.
As another great star of the rockers scene passes, we are again left with a legacy of uplifting sounds and memories. (I can remember vividly the day and place I bought my first Mikey Dread album World War III - and all those dances that his tunes have lifted through the roof).
Respect and condolences to his family from all of us who loved his music.
Click the picture above for an MP3 of Mikey Dread singing Armagideon Time live with The Clash at Lewisham Odeon on 18th Feb 1980. . . I was there and it was a night to remember. Most of the seats went after the bouncers were beaten back after attacking the crowd; the ones left vibrating to matchwood during Mikey Dread's set, resonating to the massive bass lines. The official video of The Clash song 'Bankrobber' was filmed that day in the High Street and the box office of the Lewisham Odeon.