SA M HOOP ER
the Glory Days
By Joe Miller
Photographed by Damian Eduardos
Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Sam Hooper has played
arenas in China, a blues festival in
F inland, jazz clubs across the U.S.,
and cruise ships on the Caribbean.
But since the Covid pandemic shut down the
world, Hooper, a 1975 Shaker Heights High School
graduate, has gone back to his roots for his latest
stage, streaming live to fans from the basement of his
childhood home in the Moreland neighborhood.
“It’s the same room we used to jam in back in
junior high and high school,” Hooper says.
If only the wood wall paneling (still original) could
talk. It was here, nearly 50 years ago, that Hooper and
two classmates practiced for their “legendary debut”
at the Woodbury Junior High School talent show.
Calling themselves “Caboose,” the trio performed
Harry Nilsson’s “Jump Into the Fire” with Hooper
doing his best Jimi Hendrix impression — playing his
red Epiphone EA-250 guitar in red bellbottoms while
kneeling on his mother’s white bathroom rug.
“People still talk about that talent show,” he says
with a laugh.
50 WINTER 2021 | WWW.SHAKER.LIFE