Rest In Power - Angus 'Drummie Zeb' Gaye of Aswad
09/02/2022 by Gardy Stein
The Reggae world has lost yet another unique voice: Angus "Drummie Zeb" Gaye, lead singer of the British band Aswad, has transitioned at age 62, as was announced by the group's Facebook page this Friday: "It is with deepest regret and profound loss that we have to announce the passing of our brother Angus ‘Drummie’ Gaye. Drummie was the lead vocalist for the iconic band Aswad and is much loved and respected by both family, friends and peers alike. More information will be given at a later time but on behalf of his family and Aswad - we ask that their privacy is respected at this heart-breaking time. Drummie has left us to join our ancestors and leaves a huge void both personally and professionally."
Gaye was the longest-standing member of the successful UK formation, founded in the '70s by classmates Brinsley "Chaka B" Forde (guitarist/vocalist), Donald "Dee" Griffiths (lead guitarist/vocalist), George "Ras" Oban (bass), Courtney "Khaki" Hemmings (keys) - and Angus "Drummie Zeb" Gaye, who played drums at first but took over the lead vocals, too, when Forde left the band in 1996. United by their common experience as descendants of immigrants from the Caribbean, they played deep Roots and Dub initially (they were the backing band in Burning Spear's first ever live album called, simply, Live - released in 1977), but then developed a Reggae sound different from their Jamaican colleagues. More Pop-oriented and with a lyrical focus on their experiences as Black Youth growing up in Great Britain, they celebrated their biggest success with hits like Don't Turn Around, Give A Little Love or Shine.
Continuing the band's legacy as duo consisting of Drummie Zeb and Tony "Gad" Robinson (who had replaced Hemmings in 1976) ever since Forde left, Aswad have performed as recently as the Reggae Carnival in April or the Reggaeland Festival in July. Cherished memories for those who were part of these shows, as there will be no more chance to experience them live!
Leaving us with a wealth of releases, we'll remember Angus "Drummie Zeb" Gaye forever as defining the sound of the late Aswad – Rest in Eternal Peace, singer! Our condolences go out to his friends, fans and family, and his musical companions, who voice their compassion online:
"I'm so deeply saden hearing the news of the passing of my younger brother Angus "Drummie Zeb" Gaye, we shared a life time together touring and making music... it's hard to acknowledge we will never share the the excitement of performing on the same stage...My eyes keep welling up and though I know your work is done and the father has given you your time to rest, I will miss the truly amazing Drummie Zeb.
"It’s with deep sadness that I announce the passing of Brother Drummie Zeb of Aswad. He was a talented Man who graciously gave me pleasure to work with. His contribution to the recording of ‘Silly Games’ was enormous. Farewell Drummie Zeb. You will be greatly missed R.I.E.P Brother"
Ali Campbell (Founding member of UB40):
"Very sad to hear the passing of Aswads Drummie Zeb. We’ve lost another U.K Reggae pioneer. Deepest condolences go out to all of the Aswad family - Big Love"
"My Musical Mentor Drummie Zeb (Aswad) Has Left And Made His Transition To Zion. The Man That inspired me to become a drummer/ musician. The Man That set up my first proper Drum Set in my parents home! That Man who I would call constantly to ask questions in regards to drums, equipment, music etc… My deepest condolences to Brenda, Ronald, Kellyann, and the entire Gaye family, friends, and fans worldwide. Shocked and devastated. Rest in Zion Boss‼!"
Jet Star Music:
"It pains us to bring you the heartbreaking news that reggae legend, Drummie Zeb has passed away. Drummie was the lead singer of the iconic british reggae band Aswad and although he is no longer with us, the legacy he has left behind will always and forever live on."