Immediately after performing the final two encores with The Clash (“Armagideon Time” & “Bank Robber”) following his opening set for them in their official debut San Francisco concert Mikey Dread made his way to my Midnight Dread live broadcast very early March 3rd 1980. My radio program would never be the same. Mikey brought along several original dubplates to unveil while also spinning a few sets of his reggae favorites just like the tremendous JBC DJ he’d been in Jamaica. This opening eighty minute section begins with 3 skanking-new foot long Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry forty fives just pressed in Belgium and brought over from Holland by my good friend since junior high, photographer Robert Fineman. He also took the shot of the young Mikey that night at KTIM that graces the Mixcloud link. It can be seen in its fullness by scrolling down a bit on my Midnight Dread homepage.
I mention the Upsetter’s upcoming 1980 European tour where Lee wanted to be billed as ‘Nature Survivor’s Jungle Safari with Pipecock Jackxon’ shortly before Mikey arrives and uncorks ’nuff new music! Following “Rockers Delight” he re-emphasizes its wonderfully biting anti ‘rappers delight’ lyrics by repeating them a capella style with an infectious laugh. It’s quite a take-down and take-off on the emerging hip hop scene in its infancy as framed by reggae’s higher ground masterblaster. In the same break Mikey also does a crucial job of explaining exactly what ‘toasting’ means and entails if done properly. In the last Clash song at The Warfield that evening Mikey played the role of the bank robber. In this radio show he steals everyone’s hearts.
We were on our way down the hall leaving the station’s building in San Rafael when I asked Mikey if he’d do a few custom jingles for my show and he immediately made a u-turn back to the studio, sat down, and did three killer Midnight Dread themed toasts over his Roots & Culture dubplate (the next Midnight Dread begins with one) then improvised several minutes of amazing dread bits for my radio show with no prompting, no-preparation, completely non-stop, off the top of his dreads, percolating well past 3am. Being a radio selector himself he knew exactly what was needed. His drop-ins made my show sound all-time authentic. It was crucial and done out of love for spreading the music and I’ll never be able to express the deepness of my gratitude.
Thank Jah we had a great time backstage at the first Dreadstock show several years ago in Vallejo, CA and I got to tell him again personally how much I truly I-preciated his crucial contribution to my show’s success and development. The tracks he did that night are a treasure trove and Mikey a giant in conscious roots reggae music. His entire prolific output is the essence of all-killer no-filler. Mikey passed away way way too soon. Uppermost respect for the Iternal Drrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaad!
Midnight Dread Number Ten can also be listened to it as embedded here on the Midnight Dread website: http://www.midnightdread.com/home.html