Basic Background Info
After Johnny Barbata's family relocated to Central California, Johnny Barbata took a huge interest in music. He joined a band, The Sentinals, while just a sophomore at San Louis Obispo High School. Their song "La Tinia" became a hit on the West Coast in 1962. Johnny Barbata was only sixteen when he led the band to tour with The Ventures and The Champs.
With The Sentinals eventual split, Johnny Barbata relocated to Hollywood with his close friend Lee Michaels and they both eagerly looked for their next big musical step. Within a month, The Turtles called Johnny Barbata and asked him to join them for some session work. In one take, he and The Turtles recorded "Happy Together." Johnny Barbata went on to play on ten The Turtles hits including: "She'd Rather Be With Me," "You Showed Me," and "Elenore," which he co-wrote.
After working with The Turtles, Johnny Barbata joined up with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young for their "4 Way Street" tour and corresponding live album. Johnny Barbata subsequently played on several of their individual projects including Graham Nash's Songs For Beginners and Wild Tales as well as Neil Young's live album Time Fades Away. Johnny Barbata also played on the hit single "Ohio" and Stephen Stills' self-titled album Stephen Stills in addition to the "Crosby/Nash" album.
After relocating to San Francisco in 1972, Johnny Barbata joined Jefferson Airplane and stayed with the band when it transformed into Jefferson Starship. Johnny Barbata played on ten Jefferson albums and several of their biggest hits, including "Miracles," "Count on Me," "Ride the Tiger," and "With your Love."
Johnny Barbata's distinct drum rolls and background vocals helped to define the beat and sound on songs by some of the top rock bands in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. Johnny Barbata has worked with artists such as Grace Slick, The Everly Brothers, John Sebastian, and Dave Mason. Johnny Barbata's drum riffs can be heard on more than 20-hit singles and over 100 albums.
Johnny Barbata recently abandoned the Hollywood lifestyle. Johnny Barbata sold his ranch to film director Sydney Pollack and moved to Ada, Oklahoma, his wife Angie's hometown.
Johnny Barbata still performs with his band California, with Angie on vocals. He occasionally tours and although he hasn't done a major tour in quite a while, he he hasn't ruled out the possibility in the future.
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