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Mikey Dread

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Mikey Dread

Real Name: Michael Campbell
Born: c. 1948
Place of Birth: Port Antonio, Jamaica

Dread achieved prominence in Jamaica in the late 70s as a DJ on the JBC station with his four-hour Saturday night Dread At The Controls show. Campbell's show played exclusively reggae (bizarrely, until the rise of IRIE FM, most official Jamaican radio stations played anything but reggae). His selections - many of them hot off the cutting lathe, dub plate specials - were punctuated by wild sound effects and suitably manic utterances. This made him a hero to the grassroots audience, but put him at odds with fellow broadcasters and the conservative JBC directorship, leading to his resignation in 1979. He had already entered the recording business with DJ sides such as "Dread At The Controls" and "Homeguard" for Lee Perry, and "Rootsman Revival" for Sonia Pottinger's High Note label. After a brief spell as an engineer for Treasure Isle studio, he formed a working relationship with producer Carlton Patterson, for whom he cut "Barber Saloon" and helped to produce Ray I's popular "Weatherman Skank". He inaugurated his own DATC label in 1979 and began releasing records by Earl Sixteen, Rod Taylor, Edi Fitzroy, Sugar Minott and others, as well as his own popular DJ titles such as "Love The Dread", "African Map" and "Proper Education"; these were also sought after for the entertaining "version' sides, mixed by Campbell and King Tubby.

Perhaps his most enduring contributions are the two dubwise albums, Dread At The Controls and African Anthem, replete with many of the effects and jingles featured on his radio show. In 1982 he narrated Channel 4"s six-part Deep Roots programme, and presented The Rockers Road Show for the same company the following year. He also worked with UB40 and the Clash, toasting on the latter's "Bank Robber" and overseeing the sprawling triple-album Sandinista!. He now resides in America where he continues to record, make stage appearances and host a music programme for television.

Encyclopedia of Popular Music
Copyright Muze UK Ltd. 1989 - 2005
Source - BBC Music Profiles

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