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 & sings and owns the band now, started with the band in 1965, & 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 had its down moments including the death of lead vocalist, Tommy Black in a plane crash in 1968. 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 & 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.