When the duo separated in 1983, Cooper formed a high-energy rock band, Dana Cooper's DC3. Although they recorded two albums and released a single, "Give Us the Money," in 1983, they failed to be commercially successful and disbanded. The band changed its name to the Nuclear Family in 1987 and released a self-titled album.
In 1988, Cooper returned to his acoustic roots and recorded three self-produced cassettes. His debut CD, Stone By Stone, released in 1992, was followed by Thrill of Love in 1994, featuring guest appearances by Russell and Jack Saunders
. The CD was named Album of the Year by the Houston Press/KLOL Music Awards.
Cooper, who moved to Nashville in 1988, released a live acoustic album, Roughly Speaking, in 1995. His 1997 album Miracle Mile featured guest appearances by Lyle Lovett
and Maura O'Connell
. The same year, Cooper's 1987 cassette Complicated Stuff, was reissued on CD.