Travis Barker’s parents, Randy and Gloria Barker, supported his dreams from a young age
Travis Barker’s parents, Randy and Gloria Barker, knew he would grow up to be a musician before he did.
The Blink-182 drummer’s rock star dreams were supported by his parents from a young age. His dad and mom enrolled him in drumming lessons as a kid and took him to each lesson together. Gloria also picked up the instrument as a way to help her son.
“My dad drove us, and my mom always sat in the room and taped the lesson. She learned how to read music and hold the drumsticks right; if I didn’t understand something I could always go to her,” Travis shared in his 2015 memoir, Can I Say.
Randy and Gloria met in Fontana, California, where they married after a few months of dating. They had two children before they welcomed Travis; daughters Tamara and Randalai.
Gloria died in 1990 when Travis was 12, and his bond with Randy deepened. “I speak to him every morning like clockwork. It’s always good to have a parent there to keep you humble, keep you grounded,” Travis told Vice in 2015.
His father feels similarly grateful for their relationship. “Travis has made me very proud. I never dreamed that he would make it big like he did,” Randy shared in Can I Say. “He’s amazed me with everything he’s been able to accomplish.”
Here's everything to know about Travis Barker's parents, Randy and Gloria Barker.
They met at a restaurant
Travis’ mother, Gloria, also known as “Cookie,” was working at a restaurant called the Red Devil, which her mother and uncle owned, when she first met Randy.
“I liked a waitress, Cookie — she was a very pretty girl, and petite ... I just took a liking to her and nobody could change my mind,” Randy wrote in Travis’ memoir.
Randy also shared that Gloria’s mother took enjoyed it when he first started frequenting their restaurant. However, her feelings changed once they started dating.
“Cookie told me ... her mother used to always say, ‘Why don’t you get with a nice guy like that?’ Of course, after we got together, she couldn’t do nothing but run me down,” Randy said.
“But after a while, she knew I was in love with her daughter,” he added.
They got married after only a few months of dating, and had three children
According to Randy, he and Gloria only dated for “four or six months” before getting married. After becoming acquainted at the restaurant she worked at, Randy went out looking for her when she stormed off after a fight with her mother.
“I went out and caught her on her way home and picked her up. We drove around for about four hours that night, just talking, getting acquainted. From that time on, it developed into a romance,” Randy revealed in Can I Say.
Shortly after getting married, Randy and Gloria welcomed their first child, a daughter named Randalai “Randy” Barker in 1968. Two years later, their second daughter, Tamara “Tammy” Barker was born in 1970.
Travis Landon Barker was born in 1975. He said he isn’t sure where his mom got the name Travis, but his middle name, Landon, comes from the actor Michael Landon who starred in Little House on the Prairie.
The name Landon was passed on to Travis’ son, Landon Asher Barker.
Randy worked at a steel mill and Gloria ran a daycare
Randy grew up in a steel-mill town in Pennsylvania, and moved with his family to Fontana, California, when he was 18, where he got a job at Kaiser Steel.
Randy is also an army veteran who served in Vietnam. He wrote in Can I Say that he was trained as a radio teletype operator, but was made a Jeep driver when he arrived in Vietnam.
“I was drafted into the army around 1973, and I spent two years in the military: one year in the States and one year in Vietnam,” he said.
While Randy worked at a steel mill, his mother ran a daycare at their house. “Mom was a hard, hard worker. She ran a daycare at our house, so every day there were seven to twelve kids there,” Travis shared in his memoir.
He continued, “It was cool for me to have some boys around daycare. We would go outside and ride bikes, play cowboys and Indians, or get on our skateboards."
Travis also shared that he would take his dad’s army medals and pins out when he played cops and robbers, and that he lost them all running around.
They encouraged Travis' drumming
In Travis' 2015 memoir, he revealed that his parents made sure he got drum lessons and took him to every one of them together.
Gloria was committed to helping Travis learn the drums, even taking it upon herself to learn how to play so she could be hands-on.
“She was learning as fast as me–when I was kid, Mom was just as good on drums as I was,” Travis said.
He also shared that his mom was always his biggest supporter as a drummer and believed he would be a rock star.
“I don’t know if she ever had aspirations to be a musician herself, or if she was just trying to encourage me, but she kept telling me that I would be her drummer boy. One Christmas, she made me learn ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ and play it all the time,” he said. “She would play the song on repeat, hoping it would have some lasting effect on me.”
Gloria died in 1990
Shortly before Travis started high school, his mother died after being diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Sjögren's syndrome. She had only been diagnosed a few months earlier and had spent the summer in the hospital.
“All that summer, I went to the hospital with my family every day to see my mom. It hurt so bad to see her so weak and helpless,” Travis wrote in his memoir.
On Sept. 3, 1990, Gloria died.
“The day before school started, my family was driving over to visit her, but I wanted to ride my bike. I got on my Schwinn beach cruiser and arrived about an hour after everybody else. When I walked into the hospital room, everyone was crying hysterically–I knew what had happened before anybody could say anything,” Travis wrote.
Losing his mother right before high school started put Travis off of socializing and schoolwork, but he prioritized joining the school marching band’s drum line to make her proud.
In his memoir, Travis shared that one of the last things his mom told him was, “Don’t stop playing the drums, Travis. Follow your dreams.”
He and his father have matching tattoos
Travis’ dad Randy was not pleased about him starting to get tattoos at a young age, but later on in life, he came around and even got a tattoo himself.
“He showed me that he had the world pal tattooed on his shoulder. That’s what we always called each other, since he was old enough to talk. To show him that I support him, I decided that I would get the same tattoo on my shoulder,” Randy wrote in Can I Say.
But he didn’t stop there — he also got a tattoo of the logo for Travis’ brand, Famous Stars and Straps, on his left arm.
Travis, who is famously covered in tattoos, has portraits of both his father and mother inked on his back. He’s not the only one in his family with tattoos dedicated to family, either. His daughter, Alabama, has a cross tattooed on her finger for her late grandparents on her mother’s side.
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