What's My Name?
Is it Mike , Mikey or Mikeydred?
Alan Gold asked me about why I had a double name on Facebook and Vocal. I thought I had written about this on Seven Days In but I couldn’t find any trace of it to fill out this piece. I mean this is just about how I got a nickname and appropriated it for myself.
At school I got several nicknames , Singy was an obvious one and it’s what I have now for my personal web domain, and then a frivolous teacher named me “Fungi” though I wonder if he meant “Fun Guy”? Probably not , then there was the generic Fatso as well which I wasn’t too enamoured with.
As a teenager in the late sixties and seventies my musical tastes started developing , and it was mainly rock with a bit of leftfield stuff like the Bonzo Dog Band and Frank Zappa , plus rock and roll and Johnny Cash. School really put me off Classical music and Disco and Soul were complete no-go areas for the rock cognoscenti that I frequented.
On leaving school I became a lot less influenced by cliques and played in various bands, almost made a record and my musical tastes started to expand.
Hearing Gustav Holst’s martial “Mars” from his Planets suite on The Alan Freeman Show prompted me to buy the album and start re exploring classical music. While I still find a lot of Classical music boring and tedious , I find a lot of it incredibly engrossing and my favourite piece is probably Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” which also illustrates one of classical music’s major problems how it can go from virtually silent to ear splitting volume is a very short period of time.
I also then slipped into appreciating Motown , Northern Soul , Stevie Wonder’s genre straddling soul and that led me further.
I worked on a fairground very briefly ,and the music that was played was uniformly reggae such as “Liquidator” by The Harry Jay All Stars and “Double Barrel” by Dave and Ansel Collins. Then I heard “No Woman No Cry” by Bob Marley and the Wailers , and had a major odyssey trying to track down a copy of “Jah Live” , my favourite Bob Marley song. This led me to artists like Burning Spear , Lee Perry and Culture most of whom I have seen live. Reggae became a major part of the music that I love , and further fuelled by listening to John Peel (sadly missed , Tom Ravenscroft's dad).
So this has been a very long introduction into how I ended up with this nickname , or double barrelled name, whichever way you want to look at it.
We were in a pub possibly The Bridge in Newcastle downstairs where our initial gigs as The Pink Bananas and Spoon , but well before I played there , and I was sat down under a poster. Everyone knew that I was a reggae aficionado and I was under a poster advertising the Jamaican Toaster / DJ Mikey Dread (he collaborated with The Clash on “Bank Robber / Rockers Galore) . The now CEO of Opencast Software saw this and christened me “Mikey Dread” and the name stuck. I contracted it to Mikeydred and that is many people’s name for me today.
I added it to my Facebook name so that people could find me with that name if they just knew me as Mikey.
So now you know where that came from. My daughter’s even got it turned into artwork for my sixtieth birthday. I think I am stuck with it forever and I am not complaining , it is good to have something unique that people actually want to know about.
I don’t think I will get another , I love reggae music but that is just a tiny piece of my eclectic palate.