I’m sure some of you have noticed that cowboy drummer hanging around the local blues scene. That would be Chuk Barber. Chuk is a busy man, but he stopped long enough to answer a few questions so we could learn more about him.
I started playing the drums at age 11. Louie Bellson was my first drum teacher. He gave me my first three lessons as a favor for my dad. Then he and Pearl Bailey went on a European tour and he sent over his friend, Hal Blaine. He was my drum teacher for the next year. Then Jimi Hendrix came on the scene and my preoccupation with jazz went straight out the window. I was officially "A Rocker!" We started playing at high school events. I played a club when I was 14 for ten whole dollars! There was no stopping me after that.
...from Miles to Stevie Wonder, the Doobie Bros. to the Allman Bros, Basia to Gilberto Gil, Ruben Blades to Sting. Personally, I've had some very good friends, mentors, and teachers through the years—my brother-in-law, Curtis Pierre; my best friend and brilliant percussionist, Kenyatta Simon, who use to play with the Crusaders and Dr. John; Moses Wheelock, Marvin Gaye's old percussionist, who was the percussionist in War before me; Bill Summers (Herbie Hancock & the Headhunters) who stayed with me, Curtis and my sister, Carolyn, when he first moved to New Orleans from LA; Airto (Return to Forever); Don Elias(Joni Mitchell); Jai Johnny Jamison (Allman Bros.)’ Bear Bryant (Tower of Power); Bobby LaKind (Doobie Bros.); Mongo; Tito; Patato…I could go on and on.