Weatherford Democrat

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June 1, 2014

Former musician holding book signing Tuesday



A former musician who played with such names as the Turtles, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and more has published a book and will have a book signing in Weatherford Tuesday.

Johny Barbata, whose “Legendary Life of a Rock Star Drummer” book is coming out soon, said he has taken a number of ideas and stories from the road that he had written on little strips of paper over the years to put together the book. He said the book has taken about three years to compile and write.

Barbata’s career began in high school with a band called the Sentinals in San Luis Obispo, California. The success there moved him to Hollywood where he auditioned for the Turtles and the rest, as they say, is history. On his website:, he reminisces about the Turtles classic “Happy Together,” which he says was recorded in one take.

He remembers a night in London at a club while with the Turtles and seeing “rock and roll royalty”: Bryan Jones of the Rolling Stones, Eric Burdon of the Animals and others,including John Lennon and Ringo Starr.

“I sat between John and Ringo and they were stoned on acid and someone spilled a pitcher of beer directly on John Lennon, and he didn’t even notice,” Barbata said. “Later, I was talking with Lennon about the Beatles and he told me the band took everything from Chuck Berry.”

Another story involved meeting with legendary record producer David Geffen when he was playing with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

“Geffen contacted me and said there was a band in need of a drummer and the band was going to be “really big,” Barbata said. “I was working on a Neil Young solo album at the time, so I turned them down. Come to find out, it was the Eagles.”

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