Johny Barbata
Johny Barbata

Residents can experience rock ‘n’ roll history on June 11 at a book signing event with drumming legend Johny Barbata.

At the event, held at the Santa Monica Music Center from 12 – 5:30 p.m., Barbata will be signing his new book and he said he is looking forward to interacting with music fans as part of his book tour.

“I’m definitely approachable,” he said. “A lot of rock stars have such big egos, they don’t want to talk to people but I like talking to people.”

Barbata is a New Jersey native who was part of some of rock’s biggest bands such as The Turtles; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship. In addition to playing with the groups, Barbata has collaborated with musicians including Dave Mason, Booker T. Jones, The Everly Brothers, Linda Rondstadt, Lee Michaels, John Sebastian, Johnny Rivers, Graham Nash, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Grace Slick, Leon Russell, Stephen Stills and David Crosby.

In a review of Barbata’s book, Professor Carl Rath of the University of Oklahoma, said “Barbata’s 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, his stylized drum riffs are heard on more than 20-hit singles and over 100 albums. From a career that spanned the greatest years of rock ‘n’ roll and shaped some of the hottest styles and music of the century, take an intimate and exciting look at the beloved groups and times.”

Paul “Chico” Fernandez, owner of the Santa Monica Music Center said his business has always had seminars, books signings, and talks to supplement the traditional style of instruction.

“It varies over the years, sometimes once a year, sometimes several times,” he said. “This year we’ve also had a saxophone event so every once in a while we do these kind of things.”

As a drummer himself, Fernandez said Barbata is well known in the industry and that there are valuable lessons to be learned from industry veterans.

“They are certainly an educational benefit,” he said. “It’s interesting for people but he has written about his life and career as a drummer in the music business and we have a lot of drum students here and they are looking forward to it.”

Barbata said the book included images from his career. He said the book tells some of his best stories from his long career starting from the time he met Albert Einstein at age 3 to meeting the Beatles to his epic performance during a concert power outage.

He said he was playing in a festival at Atlanta when the power suddenly failed. Barbata said he went into a drum solo as it was all the crowd could hear without speakers. Concert organizers asked him to keep playing while they worked on the power outage to keep the crowd happy.

“So here I am, 45 minutes later, soaking wet, still playing and as soon as I ended it, the lights came on. It was perfect. I got a 5 minute standing ovation and it was literally the night the lights went out in Georgia.”

Barbata said he has continued to write, perform and record music and will be releasing a new album with his wife soon. While he plans to continue in the business, he said this memoir covers his highlights. “This really encompasses most of my life as far as the exciting stuff.”

In addition to the book “Johny Barbata: the Legendary Life of a Rock Star Drummer” Barbata said he will have CDs, drum videos and photos for sale. For more information about his life or the book tour, visit

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *