Singer Guitarist Entertainer
Barry has been gigging for more years than he’d care to remember and is still loving it!
You can normally find him lurking in a corner at various venues in and around the area playing the music he loves i.e. rock’nroll and sixties stuff and even ventures into the modern world with some seventies classics ( yup! that’s modern for him).
So how did it all start?
Barry did his first gig in 1968 at the tender age of 14 at the Gas Club in Dover (now Aldi’s supermarket) with his band THE CARNABY VIEW playing music of the day (60’s) and rock’n’roll (so nothings changed there then!) He recalls: “I had an acoustic guitar that cost me £6.14s.6d (proper money for those of you with longer memories) brand new from GOULDEN AND WIND – a music shop in Dover in those days – and a record-player amplifier that my dad built a wooden case for with an on/off switch and a volume knob at the back. The speaker cabinet was made from an old gas-fire case with a curtain tacked across the front. That, and a pick-up across the sound hole of the guitar was my gear, but it was enough to get me going and served me well”.
1970 saw him turn 16 and he started another band called RAMROD which played all 50’s rock’nroll:” Being members of the 69 Motorcycle Club we played loads of gigs for the club – they were great days – as well as beginning to gain a reputation in the world of pubs, social clubs (there were loads of them then) and private functions etc..”.
As the 70’s drew on RAMROD came to an end but Barry carried on. He joined a band called JOY that played the current music of the day.” JOY (the name of the lead singer) was a full on club/function band – complete with sparkly clobber and jump-suits (mine’s still around somewhere – I think). This was a complete change for me and I really enjoyed learning the different guitar styles and techniques required for this type of music. However, they still let me indulge my passion with the odd rock’n’roll song – which was nice”.
After JOY, in the early 80’s Barry started yearning to get back to his roots and eventually formed a new band called SHARKIE that was everything he’d ever wanted in a band: “I really enjoyed playing 70’s stuff and learned loads but I really wanted to get back to what I understood the best. When I eventually got the line up and the name right SHARKIE was born and I was in seventh heaven.
SHARKIE took off pretty rapidly on the club circuit and was soon playing posh do’s as well (Hunt Balls, up-market weddings, civic events at the Winter Gardens, The Leas Cliffe Hall and the like). We even played a sixties weekend at Minehead (we were on before the Wurzels!!!!) We then went through a period that found us appearing as second band to some of the top sixties bands that were still going strong (and still are)- THE SEARCHERS – THE MARMALADE – THE MERSEYBEATS- VANITY FAIR- THE LOVE AFFAIR – to name but a few, so I was getting to meet all my heroes as well. Too much, man! (please excuse the retro vernacular – it happens). It was all fantastic fun but one of the fondest memories of SHARKIE has to be the LEAS CLUB in Folkestone back in the days when it was a ‘proper’ club. We played some of our best gigs there and, in fact, SHARKIE played its very last gig there which I announced for the first time just before we played our last song – ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN”.
So after ten great years there ended the glory days of SHARKIE – at least that was what it felt like to Barry. But he already had another act in the wings rehearsed, gigged and ready to go.
Enter GET-BACK a duo with Barry’s brother Pete and himself playing more or less what SHARKIE had played. ” GET-BACK sort of took over where SHARKIE left off but in a more compact format. With a four track recorder and the relatively new mini-disc players you could produce backing tracks that could sound pretty convincing. “.With GET-BACK we could access smaller venues as well as the ‘SHARKIE type’ gigs so our circuit widened in a slightly different direction – and it was still great fun!”
There was one thing that Barry had wanted to try for a while and that was becoming a solo artiste: “Wanting to and having the bottle to are very different things but eventually my wife Rachel kicked me so much that I had a go and BARRY SHARKIE was born (this name didn’t last long. I used the name SHARKIE as a comfort blanket I suppose). I bought an acoustic guitar and learnt loads of songs of different types (no backing tracks) and went and filled my trousers regularly in the pubs until gradually I started to find my confidence. I quickly discovered that people were expecting drums and bass behind me so I started recording backing tracks and very quickly settled back down to the music that started it all for me and has seen me right through to the present day.”
THE BLUE SHARKS was a trio that Barry had going alongside the solo bit and handled the gigs that required a ‘proper band’: “THE BLUE SHARKS was born out of the idea that it would be fun to be in a band again and ‘do it like the old days’, but still concentrate on my solo act. The band ended up with the drummer and bass player from SHARKIE (Nigel and Ian) and me, and once again it was great fun. The band never actually called it a day, it just sort of drifted away which was a shame because it was a really tight little trio. But then Nigel moved away and that was that and I just didn’t have the time to find another drummer what with the solo act doing well and other commitments.”
Meanwhile Barry continues to expand his repertoire on the solo circuit playing gigs in pubs, Clubs, private do’s, regular functions for the local Town Council in his home town of Dover and is always on the look out for new venues that he can ‘make some noise in’ –as he puts it.
Most of all, though it’s a big round of applause for the people that continue to turn up at gigs through the years and support us ‘muso’s, ‘cause without you, we wouldn’t have anywhere to go and show off!’ Thank you”.