MIKEY DREAD with THE SCIENTIST at the Bambu by the Lake (245 Queens Quay West), Saturday (December 13). $20 at the door. www.mikeydread.com Rating: NNNNN
Depending on your age and where you grew up, you'll know of Mikey Dread (aka Michael Campbell) in different ways. He's been known as a vocalist, reggae producer, TV host and producer, radio host and producer, video editor, journalist and audio engineer in Jamaica, Europe, the Caribbean and the U.S.
Most of the world, though, will remember him best for his work with the Clash. He produced their first UK chart-topper, Bank Robber, and several of the tracks on Sandinista, their biggest-selling album.
"I still keep in touch with Paul Simonon. We became good friends, we have a good vibe together. I'm happy with that work - it got me into other people's homes who wouldn't necessarily have heard me. In terms of the record company, that's another story," he reminisces from his home in Coral Springs, Florida.
"I never talked about this before, but the Clash still owe me a couple million pounds. I co-wrote the songs that I worked on and didn't get any credit or royalties. They claim that they were changing management, and the new guys didn't know who played what so they just credited it all to the Clash.
"Now I see there's a DVD out with footage of me jamming with them, and nobody came and talked to me about it."
He first made his name in 1976 by hosting the first-ever all-reggae radio show on JBC (Jamaican Broadcasting Corporation), setting the standard for reggae radio show formats. At the same time, he was running a label (Dread at the Controls), producing and releasing records by Junior Murvin, Sugar Minott and Edi Fitzroy as well as his own tracks, like the hit Barber Saloon.
If you were in Europe in the 80s, you'll remember him as a host and producer of various TV and radio gigs on the BBC. He was also frequently heard giving UK acts like UB40 and the Clash a little extra reggae flavour, touring the festival circuit and recording roots reggae albums.
The 90s saw him getting into more broadcasting work, now in the Caribbean, and he was once a news cameraman for NBC in Florida.
So which one of these is the real Mikey Dread?
"I'm a Gemini, so I have a clone with me all the while," he laughs.
Throughout his travels and career changes, he's attended a variety of schools, studying communications, broadcasting, multimedia, electrical engineering and recording techniques.
"If I had my way, I would never stop going to school. I love knowledge and I love learning. Gone are the days when talent was enough - you need some education now. Reggae artists are the most taken advantage of, in my opinion. A lot of them are reluctant to put their own stuff out, and then they get cheated.
"I should have gotten a legal degree, because there's nuff people who need to be slapped with a lawsuit."
He recently wrestled his back catalogue away from various labels that he thought were ripping him off, and has slowly started re-issuing the DATC classics.
"There are still some people putting out bootlegs of my records, but we've got it down to a manageable level now. Now if I catch anyone bootlegging one of my old albums, I put it up on my Web site for free." firstname.lastname@example.org