Drummie Zeb, whose real name is Angus Gaye, was the reggae band Aswad’s drummer and main singer in addition to being a record producer.
Drummie, who is of Grenadian descent, met his bandmates as a student at London’s Holland Park school. The original members of Aswad, formed in London during the 70s were guitarist/vocalist Brinsley “Chaka B” Forde, drummer/vocalist Angus “Drummie Zeb” Gaye, lead guitarist/vocalist Donald “Dee” Griffiths, bassist George “Ras” Oban, and keyboardist Courtney “Khaki” Hemmings.
In the early days the band produced music in the roots reggae style, with members contributing songs individually and with Brinsley Forde acting as the band’s principal songwriter. The band’s dynamic later changed after the release of their self-titled debut album in 1976, Hemmings left and was replaced by Tony “Gad” Robinson
In 1978 the band released “Hulet” before Oban departed the band in 1979, with Robinson taking over the position of bassist as well as continuing his role as keyboardist. The following year saw Griffiths depart, leaving Forde as the band’s sole guitarist. The band were considered different to other reggae bands because their music reflected the issues surrounding the experiences of black youths growing up in the UK; such as “Three Babylon”, “It’s Not Our Wish”, and the powerful instrumental “Warrior Charge”.
Once the band’s line-up had stabilised into the trio of Forde, Gaye, and Robinson, Aswad followed a more commercial reggae style, gaining a wider audience with the 1981 “New Chapter” album. They then followed this with the Michael Reuben Campbell produced “A New Chapter of Dub” LP, which was a dub of the entire New Chapter album. In August 1982, Aswad played live at Meanwhile Gardens on the Sunday of the Notting Hill Carnival. The resulting live album titled “Live And Direct” with Drummie Zeb’s passionate performance being outstanding. It won him widespread acclaim.
When the band’s sound started to become more commercial, Drummie Zeb assumed most of the lead vocal duties on songs like the band’s 1988 UK No. 1 hit, “Don’t Turn Around” (originally recorded by Tina Turner) as well as “Give A Little Love” and a reggae-flavoured rendition of The Eagles’ “Best of My Love”.
In 1996 Brinsley Forde departed the band for spiritual reasons, leaving Drummie Zeb as the only founding member. Once again, they opted not to seek to recruit a replacement musician, and thus Aswad became a duo of Angus Gaye and Tony Robinson. the band’s line-up remained the same until Drummie Zeb’s untimely death.