The Barracudas

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The Barracudas were a garage band that might have been forgotten along with thousands of others of their kind playing on the East Coast in the 1960s, but for the fact that (a) they had a tight sound and…
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The Barracudas were a garage band that might have been forgotten along with thousands of others of their kind playing on the East Coast in the 1960s, but for the fact that (a) they had a tight sound and rough but expressive singing, and (b) they left behind an album, A Plane View of the Barracudas, that's now considered a classic piece of garage rock and a choice collectors' item. They originated as a sextet (later reduced to a quintet) in Highland Springs, a suburb near Richmond, VA, in late 1964. The band's major influences were the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds, and they could play bluesy rock & roll loud, hard, and fast, but this didn't mean they couldn't handle other styles. Their folk-rock debut, "I Can't Believe," is more evocative of the Beau Brummels or even the Monkees trying folk-rock than it is of any English band. With drummer Donald Edward Thurston's father managing them, the quintet played in various local "Battle of the Bands" competitions during 1965, and the following year they issued their first 45, "I Can't Believe," on their own Cuda label.

Despite their first release being in a folk-rock vein, the group's preference was very much weighted toward bluesy rock & roll and included "Gloria," "Blue Feeling," and "I'm a Man." In 1967, the band hooked up with Calvin Newton's Justice Records of Winston-Salem, NC, and recorded an entire LP, which consisted of those covers and the Byrds' "Feel a Whole Lot Better" plus a pair of original songs. The album, A Plane View of the Barracudas, sold well for a small regional release, more than 700 copies, and the band developed a following on the college frat rock circuit. The Barracudas' sound evolved along with the music around them, and by 1968 the band was making music closer in spirit to Jimi Hendrix and Cream than to the Byrds or the Rolling Stones. The Barracudas broke up in 1969 after releasing one more single, "Days of a Quiet Sun" b/w "Apple Pie." In 1995, Collectables Records re-released the Barracudas' album on CD.