BARRY DRAKE has often been called a walking encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, Blues and Folk Music. He has been totally involved in the world of music since buying his first Rock & Roll records when he was 10 years old and his first guitar when he was 15. Growing up in the New York City area singing Doo Wop music on the street corners, candy stores and pool halls and then falling under the spell of The Folk Revival in the early 60s, Barry went everywhere there was music to be heard. He saw Little Richard, The Everly Brothers, Fats Domino and Chuck Berry at the earliest Rock & Roll shows and soon immersed himself in the Greenwich Village Folk clubs where he was amazed and inspired by Dave Van Ronk, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Fred Neil, Odetta, Tim Hardin, Tom Paxton, Bob Dylan, Mississippi John Hurt and Ramblin' Jack Elliott. A few years later he witnessed Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin in their struggling early days and during their first taste of fame at the Fillmore East & West. He watched Bob Dylan go electric at The Newport Folk Festival in 1965 and eventually got to perform there himself in 1968. When the "flower children" of San Francisco invited us to "Turn on, Tune in and Drop out" during the 1967 Summer Of Love, Barry was there hanging out on the streets of Haight-Ashbury with The Grateful Dead and The Jefferson Airplane and surviving those "hippie" days by playing the coffehouses of North Beach. While in California he attended the legendary Monterey Pop Festival and watched Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, The Jefferson Airplane, Simon & Garfunkel, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, The Who and The Mamas & Papas explode off that stage and onto an unexpecting world.
Throughout those years Barry was learning how to be a performer and songwriter, playing alongside Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix, Emmylou Harris, Loudon Wainwright III, Bonnie Raitt, Richie Havens and James Taylor in the clubs of New York's Greenwich Village. For 5 years he wandered those legendary streets with his Martin guitar, drifting from The Gaslight to The Bitter End, Gerde's Folk City and The Cafe Au Go Go, playing wherever he could, MC'ing and occasionally getting on the regular bill. As if a sign of things to come, students from nearby colleges would come into The Village looking for entertainment and would regularly invite Barry to their campuses to perform.
During these years he also developed a serious case of "wanderlust" which took him, his songs and his guitar from Canada, to California, Seattle and Mexico, with regular stops in Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Florida, Nashville and everywhere in between. After a whirlwind trip through Europe and North Africa and following a successul appearance at The 1970 Cambridge Folk Festival in England, he was signed to Capitol Records. He moved to Woodstock, NY and hit the road by way of The National Coffeehouse Circuit, playing colleges and clubs from coast to coast. In the hectic years that followed, Barry recorded three albums and performed everywhere he could. For 14 years (1970-1984), he became one of the most respected and successful musical acts in the history of Campus Entertainment, eventually racking up a staggering 3,500 College performances. To take care of the increasing business demands, BARRY DRAKE ENTERPRISES was established and Patricia Padla was brought on board as manager, agent and audio/video technician.
Feeling an itch to try something new and encouraged by several Campus Student Activities Professionals, in 1984 Barry added Rock & Roll History Lectures to an already busy concert schedule. From their humble beginnings, Barry's 4 Rock History Multimedia Presentations on the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s became some of the most popular shows on college campuses.
"The Roots Of Rock & Roll - 1953-63"
"60s Rock - When The Music Mattered"
"70s Rock - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly"
"80s Rock - Music In The Video Age"
He was voted Campus Lecturer Of The Year 5 times by The National Association For Campus Activities and Campus Lecturer Of The Year 3 times by Campus Activities Magazine. For the next 15 years (1984-1999), Barry traveled the country wearing two hats, singer/musician and lecturer. He was rarely at home, spending over 200 days a year on the road, burning the candle at both ends and loving every minute of it.
By the year 2000, Barry decided to focus his full attention on making sure that the music he loved was appreciated by a younger generation of music fans and set out to share everything he knew before it slipped away. His guitar and singing voice took a back seat to the memories and stories in his head and it proved to be an excellent way to pass on his love and enthusiasm for our amazing musical history. Finally, after 45 years of traveling, performing and feeling that he accomplished everything he set out to do, Barry retired from the road in November 2012. He now spends his time in Florida and The Catskill Mountains in NY, where his guitar is never far from his reach and the music never stops.
© 2022 by BARRY DRAKE.