Michael Campbell, a.k.a. Mikey Dread is one of the most influential performers and innovators in reggae music. His abilities, technical expertise, and unique vocal delivery combine to create a unique sound that tells the listener emphatically that it is the "Dread at the Controls." Perhaps Mikey's work with The Clash has garnered him with the most recognition, but his credentials and resume started long before his eye-opening production on several releases with the renowned Punk Stars from London. His work and interaction with The Clash was a significant event in the integration of reggae into popular music throughout the world. The album, "Black Market Clash", is a brilliant fusion of late 1970's punk rock and a heavy reggae bass and drum line. The reggae aspect of The Clash's album distinguished their sound from the other punks that emerged in the 1970's. Soon thereafter, it was a must for just about every punk band to have a reggae cover song on their album. Mikey was the first Producer ever to produce a UK chart hit for The Clash" Bank Robber" and later produced several reggae cuts on their internationally recognized Album "Sandinista."
Mikey's avid interest in reggae music led him to acquire an immense collection of crucial vinyl which he used to gain notoriety as a young DJ and audio engineer with the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC) where he began his broadcasting career in 1976. There he developed his own unique broadcasting style, which has been adopted by virtually every reggae radio show in Jamaica and the world today. His radio show, which became known as "Dread at the Controls," was firmly established as the Number One Radio Show in Jamaica. Mikey was awarded Top Radio Personality of the Year in 1977-1978.
In 1979, having resigned from JBC, Mikey decided to expand his career by getting more involved in the actual production of not only his own music, but also the work of others such as
Sugar Minott, Junior Murvin, Earl Sixteen, Wally Bucker, Sunshine, Jah Grundy and Rod Taylor. His activities attracted the attention of The Clash, who asked Mikey to work with them. They produced "Bank Robber" and the already mentioned "Black Market Clash", which sold over 3 million copies. His work on The Clash's most famous album "Sandinista" is internationally recognized.
Mikey studied at the National Broadcasting School in London where he perfected his media production/radio broadcasting skills, graduating with special commendations in 1980.
Mikey Dread has used his great and refined engineering talents to further reggae music in the United Kingdom and the world. He believes in a multimedia approach to publicizing reggae. Some of his works in the United Kingdom include narrating reggae documentaries, hosting series such as "Rockers Roadshow" and the ever popular six-part Channel 4 reggae documentary series "Deep Roots Music". "Pave the Way" did what the title suggest for Mikey's career by appealing to a broad audience with catchy numbers like the track's "Reggae Hit Shot", a dance song on the Hustle rhythm. The album "Happy Family" is another step in the evolution of Mikey's upbeat sound. He later recorded "The Source (Of Your Divorce)" for Warner Brothers Records USA, which obtained regularly rotated video airplay on BET as well as on MTV's hip-hop/rap program"Yo MTV Raps". MTV's Sunsplash Special, which was shot in his native Jamaica, featured Mikey's video in 1990.
Mikey released "Mikey Dread's Best Sellers" (Rykodisc, 1991), a stunning compilation of Mikey's best known songs including "Barber Saloon" (#1 on Jamaican and British Reggae charts in 1979), and the classic "Roots and Culture" . Mikey then went on to record "Profile" and "African Anthem Revisited" (RAS Records, 1991). He toured in Europe and the USA with Freddie McGregor, Lloyd Parks and We The People Band and also the Roots Radics Band.
In 1992, he collaborated with former Guns n' Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin on a duet entitled "Can't Hear 'Em". He also headlined a charity event in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he earned a merit award from the Mayor. Other projects during this period include producing the Ju Ju Hounds on "Can't Hear 'Em" and "Pressure Drop". One of his tracks "Breakdown the Walls" was featured in the movie "The Rift." Also in this year he was nominated for a NAIRD award, an award from the Billboard Magazine, for his work on his album "Mikey Dread's Best Sellers".
In 1993, Mikey Dread was involved in several projects, including his tour supporting the album "Obsession" and working in TV with the Caribbean Satellite Network (CSN) where he was Program Director and On Air personality as well as Producer of various shows. These shows included "Artists Profile", "New Video Showcase", "Video Dub Plate", "Christmas Around The Caribbean", "Christmas with the Children", "Celebrity Guest DJ" , a mini documentary on the music of Trinidad and Tobago and "The Bob Marley Hall of Fame Induction".
Mikey furthered his knowledge of TV/Video Production at the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale, where he graduated in 1996 with Honors and at Lynn University in Boca Raton / Florida where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Communications, with Magna Cum Laude honors.
Other activities done by "The Innovator" include working for the Video Jukebox as voice-over talent in several Reggae TV Commercials. The Culture Award of Honor in the Martin's International Reggae Music Awards in Chicago was presented to him in 1994. He also participated in the Caribbean Music Festival as an Entertainment Consultant in Nassau / Bahamas throughout the 1990's.
In 1995, he worked as a Radio DJ for WAVS 1170 AM and WAXY-AM 790 in Miami, Florida. In 1996 he participated in the Essential Music Festival as a performer in Brighton, U.K. He worked as a News Photographer for Metro Video shooting daily TV news stories for NBC-6 News station in Miami / Florida and in the summer of 1998 he performed at several European Festivals in Germany, Belgium and Austria.
In February 1999 Mikey performed with the School Band at the 18th Annual Bob Marley Day show in San Diego and also at the Long Beach Arena in California.
One of the better character traits of Mikey Dread is that he has refused to over saturate the Reggae market by simply not appearing on every Reggae event. This has helped him to maintain his credibility and mystique.
Michael Campbell is a man of world diversity and immense resourcefulness. His rhythms have defined reggae and have helped with its global development. From "Pave The Way" to "Breaking Down the Walls", there is a unique blend of rhythms only found in the man that everyone seems to see as "Dread at the Controls". Mikey Dread's origination of reggae broadcast programming has given the world a formula for reggae that has been adopted by DJ's and broadcast networks worldwide.
Today Mikey Dread continues his mission taking Reggae music door to door with the release of his Limited Edition CD "World Tour" however his 1980 album "World War III" has begun selling huge numbers again.
Throughout the years 1998-2001 Mikey has been making impressive and captivating live concert performances with the Fully Fullwood Band across Hawaii and California. Most recently he has performed in Brighton, England with his UK Band "Colors" late October 2001 getting rave reviews and requests from other venues to return to Europe in 2002.
His performances in Italy in November 2001 in Bari and Rome has re-established him as one of the original roots reggae icons of the mid-seventies/early 80s reggae era of Jamaican music.
His mission continues, globally.