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Jamaican National Heroes Day: Our Tribute To Mikey Dread

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It needs to be said: The late Michael Campbell, aka Mikey Dread, was a severely under-appreciated artist.

I first met Mikey at a crowded club near Cleveland, Ohio, where he and his talented supporting band dazzled reggae fans and non-fans alike – effortlessly, mind you – with his pure blend of roots reggae. His performance was childlike, but not in any way that should be considered an insult. The man just exuded his love for music and reggae culture on that stage with so much passion and enthusiasm that you almost felt guilty he was playing to a crowd of 100, instead of a crowd of 10,000.

Backstage his generosity was instantly on display as he offered amazing conversation, and what was probably the finest weed money could buy.  He introduced his band, and we chatted about his desire to use podcasting as a way of further spreading his own diverse selection of musical heroes. He believed in podcasting – and our network – to such an extent that he went on to discuss it at length later that week during an interview at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

IR: Dread at the Controls was first posted for the world’s ears in February of 2007, and I felt completely unworthy. Here was a man who single handedly changed the face of Jamaican Broadcasting by throwing out imported pop music and spinning reggae tunes that were being born in his own backyard, on the award winning 70’s broadcast Dread At The Controls. A man who produced the popular single “Bankrobber” for a little band called The Clash. A man who arguably was responsible for UB40’s stardom with his influence on their breakout single “Red Red Wine.” A man shrewd enough to give major labels the finger and reclaim his entire catalog as his own. A man whose jingles and sound effects have been sample by numerous American Hip-Hop artists. A man who worked onstage and off with the likes of Izzy Stradlin, Bob Dylan, Carlos Santana, and Seal.

His list of accomplishments is remarkable, and yet he chose an independent podcast as his platform for Dread at the Controls. He believed in us because we believed in him. Despite this man’s wide-reaching influence and impact, his humility was a constant.

I’ll miss his trust, his passion, and his fire for reggae culture and music. So today, on Jamaica’s National Heroes Day, we’re honoring Mikey Dread in a few ways.

  1. The final episode of Dread at the Controls is now available, as well as a downloadable zip file of all 6 episodes (Click Here)
  2. Our streaming web station spins nothing but Mikey Dread today (Click Here)
  3. We’re featuring a choice Mikey Dread cut – Operator’s Choice – today on our Daily Dose MP3 blog (Click Here)

Please, spread his short-lived show around. Put it up on torrents. Burn it to CD’s. Crank it in your backyard. Buy his music, and keep it alive.

What’s left to say? RUN IT!

~Jason Evangelho, Founder, Insomnia Radio

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