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Mikey Chung & The Now Generation

b. Michael Chung, 1954, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies. Affectionately known as Mao, an acknowledgement of his Chinese ancestry, Chung played lead guitar on recording sessions as part of the Now Generation band, where he backed a number of artists including Bob Marley, following Peter Tosh’s and Bunny Wailer’s decisions to pursue solo careers. In 1976, Chung appeared with the heavyweight trio of Jacob Miller, Ian ‘Munty’ Lewis and Roger Lewis on stage, attracting a good deal of attention as Chung, like the others, was not slim. His musical skills were utilized on the trio’s Reggae Thing, a fine major label debut that was unfairly criticized by the purists. He appeared with the group in what was only the fourth television documentary concerning reggae aired in the UK. The programme, Roots Rock Reggae, ended with Chung and the group giving a performance of ‘Love Is The Drug’, which he co-wrote, and ‘All Night ’Til Daylight’. In 1978, Chung joined Word Sound And Power, Tosh’s backing band following the departure of Al Anderson. The group comprised Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare and a seasoned associate from his Now Generation days, Robert Lynn, supported by other session men. Chung was a proficient lead guitarist and had mastered the synthesizer, and both skills were initially applied on Tosh’s third album, Bush Doctor. His brother, Geoffrey Chung, engineered the tracks, recorded at Dynamics Sound Studio in Kingston. To promote the album, Tosh, along with Word Sound And Power, toured Europe and the USA, playing in stadiums where the audience figures were comparable to those drawn by pop supergroups. Although still part of Tosh’s backing group, Sly Dunbar signed to Virgin Records in 1979. It was Chung, along with Sly And Robbie, who penned ‘Oriental Taxi’, the name later used by the ‘rhythm twins’ for their production company. His association with Sly And Robbie led to the release of ‘Hold Me Tight’ and ‘Brand New Day’, credited to Robbie And Mao on Delroy Witter’s Niagara label. The embryonic Taxi Gang returned to Jamaica and the sessions for Mystic Man commenced with Chung and his brother taking more responsibility for the sessions. While Mikey supervised the horn arrangements, Geoffrey supervised the recording and remixing. In 1981, following the sessions for Wanted Dread And Alive, Mikey joined Sly And Robbie on the Black Uhuru sessions for Red and Chill Out. He returned to Europe with the band and a live album and video, Tear It Up - Live, recorded the event. Chung went on to perform with Pluto And Co., a Miami-based group comprising Jamaican expatriates, led by Pluto Shervington.
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