What is your name and role within the band?
Mystic Bowie and I am the owner/producer and lead singer for Talking Dreads. Some call me Head Dread!
How did you start?
I started in music as a child under the name Mystic Bowie, this is my solo career. but the actual Talking Dreads project started in 2015 after sitting on the idea for many years.
I’ve been the frontman for the 80’s band TomTom Club for almost 20 years. This band is the rhythm section from Talking Heads.
Where are you based?
Between Jamaica and Connecticut USA.
Please give an example of your music writing process?
Because I am a percussionist I come up with the beats first and all melody and basic arrangements are created in my head before I involve musicians.
What are you working on right now?
A lot of shit! In addition to music I run a non-profit to benefit children in Jamaica so we are in the middle of planning summer camp. I am also working on this upcoming summer tour for Talking Dreads.
What is your gear setup?
As far as stage setup we use drum, bass, keyboard, and guitar, 2 backup vocals and myself on lead.
What do you like to do outside of music and does it affect your music?
I enjoy working with children and run my non-profit in my tribal community back in Jamaica. I was born into a tribe called the Maroons and I am second in command for education within the community so whenever I am not working on music this is what consumes my time. And Yes it does affect my music.
How would you describe your music genre?
My music is Reggae/World 10.I know the very basics, I am self taught.
What are your plans for the future?
For Talking Dreads I would like to get us to be the most sought after Reggae band in the world. I also plan to raise enough funds to build the Mystic Bowie Cultural Center which will offer children the opportunity to explore arts and sports.
How did you get into music?
Music got into me at a very early age. I was discovered at seven years old. I did my first single release when I was 9 on Jack Ruby’s label and first international tour when I was 13.
What are you listening to at the moment?
I have been listening to some old Jamaican ska.
Who are your top 5 influences and icons?
Jimmy Cliff for vocals, Toots and the Maytals for on stage energy, Bob Marley for his poetry, Talking Heads for the storied in their music, and President Barak Obama for showing us that the sky is the limit as long as your willing to work hard.
When are you playing next?
This coming weekend in Rhode Island USA.
The name of this band is Talking Dreads. Talking Dreads? Talking Dreads! Sounds familiar?
Of course! And a dead giveaway as to what they’re throwing down! But what’s in store is so much more than a reggae-tribute of the Talking Heads’ top hits. Picture that famously funky frequency, picked up on the sunbathed beaches of Jamaica and put through a polyphonically Caribbean kaleidoscope!
You may think “this ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no foolin’ around” music, and you’re right: this is serious…as in seriously good! A non-stop, funloving musical journey that’s as good for the head as it is for the soul. So get ready to get up, get set and get down as Talking Dreads take you joyriding in their tour-de-force debut!
Talking Dreads began as a project born from the audacious notion that hardcore Heads-lovers wouldn’t mind a tinkering or two with their favorite Talking Heads tunes, and there is a lot of great music here that will make you stop, listen and smile a little bit more as you’re grooving along to the joyous rhythms and jubilant spirit of the island vibe.
Talking Dreads is the brainchild of Head Dread, Mystic Bowie, a Jamaican artist whose long and close relationship with Chris Franz and Tina Weymouth, founding members of Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club, began when he joined the latter group as a singer in 1996. He then recorded and performed with Tom Tom Club for nearly twenty years and continues to bear fruit from their unending collaborations.
This inaugural effort from Talking Dreads features an amazing lineup of stellar reggae stalwarts including Freddie McGregor [‘Rastaman Camp’, Bobby Babylon], ska-guitar master Ernest Ranglin (session player and arranger of Millie’s smash ‘My Boy Lollipop’, the Melodians ‘Rivers Of Babylon’, and countless other tracks], and Tarrus Reilly (’Start Anew’, ‘Good Girl Gone Bad’) as well as a little help from punk-pop diva Cindy Wilson of the B-52s (‘Rock Lobster’, ‘Love Shack’).
Talking Heads’ music was a formative influence on Mystic Bowie since childhood. The marriage of Talking Heads jagged, Rhode Island art school punk with bouncing, sunny Caribbean rhythms appealed to him because “reggae’s danceinspiring, feel-good vibe is universal as are many of Talking Heads’ songs. And don’t forget their intelligent, powerful, interesting lyrics! I’m convinced that there are a lot of music lovers who will appreciate this fusion as much as I do”.
Mystic Bowie determined what songs he wanted to record before going into the studio, but added one more song to the list at the suggestion of a Talking Heads “insider.” “I had all of the songs decided before going into the studio except for ‘Love Building on Fire’, which was added at the request of Sire Records founder Seymour Stein. Seymour told me that that song really influenced him to give Talking Heads their deal.”
In addition to these livelied-up re-takes of Talking Heads’ classics, Talking Dreads’ debut recording also includes two timeless pop bonuses: “Piece of My Heart,” so often attributed to Janis Joplin thanks to her famous cover with Big Brother and the Holding Company, and “Shakedown Street,” a song near and dear to all those in Deadhead nation. “If audiences have even a fraction of the fun listening to this as we had making it, we’ll return to the studio to skank-ify more great songs in the near future”, says Bowie.
Talking Dreads has sold out performances under their belt including shows at High Times Magazine Cannabis Cup Festival in Negril, Jamaica and Fairfield Theatre – The Warehouse in Fairfield, Connecticut.