For nearly two decades, Clinton Fearon was key member of one of Jamaica’s most popular and respected bands, The Gladiators.
As the lead singer of the band, Fearon had the privilege of touring around the globe with musicians such as Prince Tony Robinson, Lee Perry and Joe Higgs.
And during those years, the Jamaican made many memories.
“There are all kinds of stories. Good ones and bad ones. It is a long relationship,” Fearon said. “There were some great moments. I’ve learned a lot and I am still learning.”
On Friday (Oct. 9), Fearon will be performing a solo acoustic set at the Queen’s. Fearon, who has previously gigged in Nanaimo, says he is thrilled to be coming back to Vancouver Island.
“I haven’t played there in a long while,” he said. “You know, to be honest, I am looking forward to coming up and being able to do it all again and see some old friends and fans that I haven’t seen in a long time.”
Fearon was born in Saint Andrew Parish, Jamaica and joined The Gladiators in 1968, where he became a bass player, vocalist, and lyricist.
During the 1970s, The Gladiators released numerous albums and hit songs including Bongo Red and Mr. Baldwin.
Fearon remembers one of the first times he and The Gladiators toured in Europe with Prince Tony Robinson.
“He was all relaxed while the rest of us were all stressed out because it was our first travel,” Fearon said. “I said to Tony, ‘man, how do you do this so regular? How do you manage to do this on a regular basis?’ and he said, ‘Boy, what I do the minute when I get on the plane is, I consider myself dead until I get off,’ and that was very comforting.”
Among the many memories that Fearon has playing with the band, he recalled a “perfect” performance in France.
“None of us made a mistake,” he said. “Everything jelled and it was the perfect gig. For the first time we all hugged each other and we didn’t even talk about the gig until the next day.”
In the late 1980s, Fearon decided it was time to leave The Gladiators.
“After 18 years, things weren’t going accordingly,” he said. “We weren’t making any money and it was hard to survive.”
He says that in the later years with the band, relationships with bandmates became tense at times.
“Getting along was getting harder and harder,” he said.
The Jamaican says another reason for leaving was his desire to embark on a solo career and create other projects.
“I had a lot of songs that I wrote that I was sitting on that I couldn’t record because my attention was dealing with Gladiators,” he said.
Fearon eventually created a band known as The Defenders, which disbanded in the early 1990s. He later formed The Boogie Brown Band and also embarked on his own solo career.
In 2014, Fearon released a solo record called Goodness and he is currently working on a new album, which he says is still in the early stages.
“It is very fresh right now,” he said.
Fearon says he is very pleased about how his new album is coming along.
“I must say I am very excited about it. I am going to say it is as good as Goodness,” he said. “Already I can say that and that is why I am so excited.”
Today, Fearon splits his time between the United States and France.
“Both are interesting. Europe, France, especially, have a respect for art and that is really refreshing,” he said. “I am not saying that there aren’t people here [in the United States] that respect art, but there it is more so.”
Fearon’s daughter, Anita Antoinette has a music career of her own. The 26-year-old is a graduate of Greater Hartford Academy and Berklee College of Music and appeared on The Voice in 2012.
“I am glad she found her path and that she followed it and do the necessarily things to stick with it and not get sidetracked, because it is easy to get sidetracked,” Fearon said.
Last year, she made her second appearance on The Voice, where she reached the top 10 before being eliminated.
“She did good and I am proud of her,” Fearon said.
Fearon performs at 8 p.m. Friday at the Queen’s. Tickets are $15. For more information, please visit www.clintonfearon.com.