Fitzroy Alexander Campbell was born in St. Elizabeth in Maroon Town, Jamaica. He is a descendant of the Maroon Tribe, the only remaining unified tribe in Jamaica, and “Mystic Bowie” is the tribal name bestowed on him by tribal elders based on powers they sensed in him. Then as now, he obeys the core tribal rules and values – no alcohol, no drugs, no impurities polluting the body. At the age of 17, Mystic moved to Birmingham, England to study at the University of Birmingham. Upon completion, Mystic then moved to the United States.
Mystic’s uniquely uplifting and positive message is evidenced in the original compositions included here as audio samples. In “My Way”, he identifies his contentment with self and self-direction. “Mama”, Mystic’s latest single, is a testimonial to a mother’s sacrifice that anyone can embrace; it was recorded at Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong Studios in Kingston, Jamaica and was released in December 2006 on the Tuff Gong International Label. In “16 Dimples” he demonstrates his expertise in the standard reggae forms, including horns and keyboards evocative of the legends of reggae. In “Rub-A-Dub” he creates some extraordinarily compelling musical hooks that move beyond the traditions of the reggae genre; during the instrumental breaks, this piece sounds like it could have been lifted from a Talking Heads album.
While the Talking Heads association might be strange for most reggae artists, in the case of Mystic Bowie, it is not, as Mystic has served since 1992 as the lead vocalist for the Tom Tom Club, a musical collaboration featuring Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz of Talking Heads. Touring worldwide with the Tom Tom Club since 2000, Mystic’s performances have been praised for his seemingly ceaseless supply of energy and the excitement he generates with crowds everywhere.
Mystic has enjoyed the fruits of countless collaborations far beyond his reggae roots, having performed with a variety of funk and rock units. During the heyday of Jamband scene – whether at Sierra Nevada Music Festival, the Gathering of the Vibes, Camp Creek, or appearing at the Jammies at Roseland Ballroom – he has performed onstage with the likes of the B-52’s, Trey Anastasio (Phish), members of Widespread Panic, and Warren Haynes, a small but diverse sampling, and testament to his drive to bridge musical genres.
In 1999, with encouragement and support from Tina and Chris, Mystic teamed up with a pair of New Orleans musicians playing in the Northeast. Other New Orleans musicians joined the effort to make a new “music” from these respective, but no doubt related, traditions. Musicians who have participated in this project since its inception hail from a diverse mix of ethnic, geographic and musical roots, combining talents in funk, jazz and rock with those of forming the rich Caribbean tradition that runs north to New Orleans. Mystic continues to bring together musicians who create music that truly possesses a hard-rocking, deeply funky reggae foundation.