Fab 5 still alive
Describing the departure of founding member Grub Cooper as “very disappointing”, bassist Frankie Campbell says the Fabulous 5 will soldier on.
He revealed that the band has a busy schedule for the remainder of 2023.
Cooper left the band in June after over 50 years, most of which he was Fab 5’s drummer, musical director, and chief songwriter. He told the Jamaica Observer in an interview then that he wanted to pursue projects as a solo artiste and work with younger acts.
Campbell, who is also an original member, said they have temporarily replaced Cooper and remain active in Jamaica and overseas.
“The loss of our original drummer/vocalist Grub Cooper is very disappointing, but we have a strong team and Kingsley Boyd from the Unique Vision Band is filling in on drums. With Andrew Cassanova and Gem Myers on vocals we have been doing some great performances over the last two months and continue to gel as a formidable unit,” he told the Observer.
Fab 5’s next overseas assignment is on August 6, at the Sweet Jamaica Independence Festival in Lauderhill, Florida. Organisers of that event will honour them for over 50 years together.
Since the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, Campbell disclosed that he and his bandmates have done shows in the Caribbean, Canada, and United States. However, things are not entirely back to normal.
“COVID taught many adults a new way of spending their evenings and weekends which is much more cost-effective. It is called not going out much, not even church, whilst young persons fell back into their usual routine within days,” he noted. “Some mature persons are even still cautious about mingling with large crowds.”
Campbell, and guitarist Junior Bailey are the original members in the current Fab 5 line-up. Cooper, his older brother Conroy (keyboards), vocalist Peter Scarlett, and rhythm guitarist Steven Golding were the other founding members in 1970.
While the band gained hits with easy-listening songs such as Come Back And Stay, Shaving Cream, and Asking For Love during the 1970s, Fab 5 hit their stride a decade later when Cooper marshalled their transformation to a soca unit.
He wrote their biggest hits of that decade, among them Yu Safe, Jamaican Woman, and All Night Party, which made them popular with Jamaica’s corporate sector.