Michael Campbell, a.k.a. Mikey Dread was one of the most influential performers and innovators in reggae music. His abilities, technical expertise, and unique vocal delivery combined to create a unique sound that told the listener emphatically that it was the "Dread at the Controls."
Mikey Dread'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 Dread was awarded Top Radio Personality of the Year in 1977-1978.
Mikey Dread 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, The Ovationz, Sunshine, Jah Grundy and Rod Taylor. It was then that his activities attracted the attention of The Clash, who asked him to work with them. While working with The Clash he released his third album called "World War III" (1980). "World War III" became instant success and held the number one position on the British Reggae Charts. To this day "Word War III" has been considered one of the top Reggae albums of all time.
Perhaps Mikey Dread's work with The Clash has garnered him with the most international 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 as seen in the track –"Bank Robber." Mikey Dread produced "Bank Robber" and with that first song put The Clash in the British charts in the 1980's. The reggae aspect of The Clash's album distinguished their sound from the other punks that emerged in the 1980's. Soon thereafter, it was a must for just about every punk band to have a reggae cover song on their album.
In 1982, following the success with The Clash, UB40 invited Mikey Dread to tour with them.
Later Mikey Dread set up the mix for the song "Red Red Wine" and mixed the B-side for the "Red Red Wine" single and the B-side for "Cherry Oh Baby." Both singles "Red Red Wine" and "Cherry Oh Baby" became number one on the British Charts.
While living in London, Mikey studied at the National Broadcasting School London, where he perfected his media production/radio broadcasting skills, graduating with special commendations.
Mikey Dread has used his great and refined broadcast and audio 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, and hosting series such as "Rockers Roadshow" for Channel 4 TV London and the ever popular six-part Channel 4 TV reggae documentary series "Deep Roots Music."
In 1992 he collaborated with former Guns n' Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin on a duet entitled "Can't Hear 'Em."
In 1993, Mikey Dread was involved in several projects, including a tour with the Roots Radics band and working in television with the 'Caribbean Satellite Network' (CSN) in Miami, Florida where he was Program Director and 'On Air Personality' as well as Producer for various TV shows.
Mikey Dread furthered his knowledge of TV/Video Production at the Art Institute of Fort 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.
Mikey Dread is a man of world diversity and immense resourcefulness. His rhythms have defined reggae and have helped with its global development. From "Barber Saloon" to "Break 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 broadcasting that has been adopted by DJ's and broadcast networks worldwide.
After long legal fights with independent record labels Mikey Dread gained the rights back for his entire catalog. Encouraged by his wife Monika, Mikey Dread returned to the music business and to his own label "Dread at the Controls." Mikey Dread began releasing new music like his latest album "Life is a Stage" (2007) and continued re-releasing his back catalog.
Currently most of his albums can be found for digital download from various companies worldwide including itunes, and his music and merchandise is always available to the public at www.mikeydread.com
Throughout the past years Mikey has been making impressive and captivating live concert performances with his own seven-piece band the "Dread at the Controls Band."
In 2004, Mikey Dread appeared as featured artist with Seal on the Sony Movie soundtrack "50 First Dates" with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. The track, a reggae cover of Echo and the Bunnymen's hit song "Lips like Sugar" is also featured on Seal's Warner Brothers "The Best of Seal" album.
On February 21st, 2007 Mikey Dread has been invited to perform and to give an interview at the "Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame," in Cleveland, Ohio.
On March 15, 2008 MIKEY DREAD lost a battle to a brain tumor. Despite his death his legacy continues.