After 52 years with the Fabulous Five, Grub Cooper is leaving the band for which he has been drummer, vocalist, and artistic director since inception.
He told the Jamaica Observer that his last gig with them was Red Rose for Gregory at Hope Gardens in June. Cooper said that he has long wanted to pursue solo projects, but assignments with ‘Fab Five’ prevented him from doing so. He stressed that there is “no animosity” with his bandmates. “There wasn’t much of an argument when I told them because wanting to move on is a personal issue,” said Cooper.
His immediate plans include a song saluting roots-reggae group, The Mighty Diamonds, as well as working in theatre and with younger artistes. “I’ve always re-invented me to remain relevant. The kind of workload I had (with Fab Five) kept me from achieving a lot of the things I wanted to,” Cooper explained.
The Linstead-born Cooper was a founding member of Fab Five which formed in Kingston in 1971. He and his older brother, keyboardist Conroy Cooper, were musically inclined since their days at the Salvation Army School for The Blind. Along with bassist Frankie Campbell, guitarists Junior Bailey and Stephen Golding, and vocalist Peter Scarlett, they were the band’s original members.
The band formed during the band craze of that period, but also established themselves with early hits like ‘Come Back and Stay’. They played several songs on ‘I Can See Clearly Now’, Johnny
Cream’ and the ballad, ‘Asking for Love’, they enjoyed Nash’s 1972 hit album.
While Fab Five had other hit singles in the 1970s such as ‘Shaving their most fruitful time in the 1980s. With Cooper calling the shots, the band transformed into a Soca powerhouse through chart-topping songs like ‘Ring Road Jam’, ‘Yu Safe’, ‘Jamaican Woman’ and ‘All Night Party’.
Cooper considers that era among the highlights of his time with Fab Five, as well as producing their 1990 ‘Christmas in The Sun’ album, and working with Rita Marley on her 1981 album, ‘Who Feels It Knows It’.