|Summertime's calling this band to your party|
Since the Catalinas formed in Charlotte in late 1957, over 60 accomplished guitarists, keyboardists, trumpet players, drummers, bass players & singers have been a part of the band. Most have come from communities along the Interstate 77 corridor from Statesville to Charlotte.
Gary Barker, a Statesville resident, who plays guitar and sings and owns the band now, started with the band in 1965, and is still with the band after all these years. "I just did not get into my head that I was getting paid to do something I love."
Barker attributes the band’s long success to the ongoing popularity of beach music & the tunes the band has composed, particularly "Summertime’s Calling Me" in the 70s.
The band has had its down moments including the death of lead vocalist Tommy Black in a plane crash in 1968. But Gary Barker has been the band’s glue, keeping it going even when rock & roll in the late 60s & early 70s threatened to submerge the Catalinas and beach music. The Catalinas had little choice but to play their share of Crosby, Still, Nash & Grand Funk Railroad. "You either played it or you didn’t get any work," said Gary Barker.