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Johnny Dread, (a.k.a. ‘The Dread’) quite simply transcends Reggae music into a unique blend of world beat rhythms. His musical influences are as diverse as his Rasta, Cuban-American background. With his undeniable rebel soul, he infuses Caribbean-influenced beats to Afro-Cuban and Rock sounds into every one of his songs. This combination provides the audience with contagious rhythms and powerful, soul-wrenching melodies.
Since an early age, he has been honing his artistic skills to now being a seasoned and prolific singer/songwriter and performer. He has taken stage in international festivals, concerts and benefits with leading artists such as Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill and Israel Vibration among others. A self-taught drummer, he has captivated audiences from around the world and has accumulated a loyal fan base all over the United States, Europe and South America.
Throughout his career, he has proven time and again that his music captivates a wide spectrum of audiences while maintaining the purest form of its inspiration and insightful messages. His most recent album “Magnificent People: The Book of Revelations -Chapter 2” (2003), second in an album series of seven chapters, reveals themes of peace, unity and a higher consciousness on Earth. Each song is filled with catchy harmonies and lyrics like “You and I”, “Too Long”, “Hold On” and “En Estos Días” which show Johnny’s ability to experiment in Spanish. He has since toured in sold out shows throughout Venezuela, Mexico, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and the United States, including Hawaii.
With his musical influences including The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Police and Bob Marley, The Dread looks to motivate and lift listeners to a higher social consciousness. “Those who have survived the test of time, who give the world direction,” states Johnny, “and who are outspoken and willing to shake up the world for the better have been my most impacting musical influences.”
After the release of his second album, ‘Vision: The Book of Revelations – Chapter1’ (1999), Johnny Dread went on promotional tours throughout the US, France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Holland. In 2001, he was the opening artist for the France Tour of Israel Vibration which included 50 shows from Paris to Nice with over 25,000 spectators. Other tour highlights include the Montreal Jazz Festival, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and Haiti among others. He received high accolades and has been widely covered by the international press.
The prologue to Johnny Dread’s seven album series is his debut album, ‘Scarecrow’ (1994), recorded in Kingston, Jamaica. The songs were all played by Jamaican musicians and produced by Johnny with friend Wilburn Squidly Cole, drummer for Ziggy Marley. The album’s title track, ‘Scarecrow’, was the first song he wrote and recorded. “I wrote the song in light of all the challenges I was facing at the time,” states Johnny, “Nobody thought I would ever succeed.”
Having been inspired by The Police’s legendary drummer, Stewart Copeland, Johnny Dread embarked on his musical dream by taking up the drums while he played basketball on a scholarship for Florida International University in Miami and was on his way to a very promising athletic career. His former girlfriend, Ivonne Castellanos, bought him his first drum set, which until today, he preserves. As a result of a series of injuries, he decided to leave his studies and pursue a career as a musician.
During the next several years, a series of events led Johnny into the Rasta music community. He was introduced to Anthony Booker (Bob Marley’s step brother), Ras Bagga, and other well-known Reggae musicians. Together they decided to form the group Copacetic and recorded the album ‘Ghetto Rock’, which reached #7 on the Billboard Reggae Charts in 1990. The following year, Johnny decided to pursue his solo career.
Johnny Dread was born Juan Carlos Guardiola in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His family moved from Cuba to the US in the summer of 1958. At a very young age, he moved with his family to Miami, Florida, where he currently resides with his wife and two daughters.
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