Veteran Dancehall artiste Major Mackerel was a popular entertainer from the late 1980s and early ’90s, who was most famous for his screeching sounds and squeals.
At the peak of his entertaining career during the 1980s, the now 52-year-old achieved two of his biggest dancehall hits with Pretty Looks Done and Dutty Bungle.
The beloved artist, whose real name is Garfield Dixon, has experienced some hills and valleys throughout his career and life. Faced with the amputation of a leg and major health issues recently, Mackerel sat for an interview with TVJ’s Entertainment Report, where he shared what was going on with him both professionally and personally.
What are some of the things we learned from Major Mackerel’s interview?
1. Mackerel has no plans to leave the business.
Mackerel considers himself an original, lyrical DJ with a unique style. He said that while his trademark sound is not there right now, he still has something to offer after the healing process.
He expressed, “If wi lef di business, something is missing….I have a style, original style.” Mackerel’s sound is not easily forgotten. He credits the original rhythms of the 80s to the drum and bass, which “made a lot of difference.”
“It was a great thing, but it was more love in the 80s….more loving the music,” he added.
2. Mackerel got the ‘whole bakery’
Mackerel left Jamaica in 1989 for the U.S and stayed for almost 22 years. He left with his love interest, who was pregnant with their child at the time. However, the relationship did not last.
Mackerel, in ole school story-telling fashion, said, “Shi av di baby, an mi an har start mess up…You si di bwoy weh name Joe Grind, dat bwoy invade mi premises.”
With laughter from host Miller and the production crew, Mackerel explained that he didn’t have a problem with Mr. Grind, but then “him move in one ah him friend named Oral (oral sex) and when oral come involve inna the thing…Mi lose mi babymadda.”
He hilariously recounted that he not only got ‘bun’ from his baby’s mother, he got “di whole bakery…patty, coco bread, tootie fruit, plantain tart, bun an cheese.” “Mi have Easta everyday, Missa Milla…When shi throw the bakery pan mi general, I was baked,” he added.
Ah who fling di whole bakery pon Major Mackerel… Poor man got Easter every day!
Woooooooooiii have to tek bad ting mek laugh. pic.twitter.com/z3e46SlngX
(@TWill876) September 14, 2020
3. Survived a sword-slashing encounter with a jealous husband.
Major Mackerel is also famous for surviving an attack by a jealous husband wielding a two-foot samurai sword.
The bloody Sunday morning fight in Brooklyn in October of 2009 left Major Mackerel suffering from lacerations to the arm and hand, and head. The attacker was arrested on charges that included assault with intent to cause serious injury.
He recalled, “Dis guy feel seh I was wit him wife. Mi an har neva in a nutten… MI jus si a shadow behind mi and when mi turn, it was a swordman…. A realize it is a life and death situation. Mi affi try fight fi mi life now…I survived and I’m grateful to be here, sir.”
4. Returned to Jamaica in 2011
Upon his return to Jamaica, Mackerel was down on his luck, but he figured that he could capitalize on his famous lyrical style, even if it wouldn’t have the level of bang that came in the 80s.
“I have a style that I know I could live affa. Probably I won’t shine or star like I use to star, but I won’t be hungry…I have legacy,” said Major Mackerel. Additionally, his dubplate work stands out on the records that feature them, which can help him to have his work utilized by other artistes.
5. Other Dancehall Veterans stepped up to help.
Major Mackerel is still recovering from a surgery that cost him a portion of his right leg. The insulin-dependent diabetic had a diseased leg that had to be amputated.
He received help for the costly surgery from several veteran artistes, which included Freddie McGregor, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Capleton, Buju Banton, among others.
He underwent surgery in August 2020, and today, the 52-year-old faces a new challenge as an amputee. Nonetheless, he is still hopeful and positive. “A lose a lot of weight, but a neva lose faith. Di wurl si Major Mackerel again…,” Major Mackerel shared.
Major Mackerel’s sound and style are unforgettable. Let’s wish for him a swift recovery so he can return to doing what he does best and cement his legacy as an artiste.