Nearly everyone is familiar with the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Take Bacon and just about any other actor, and link them through movie and TV roles to each other in six steps or less. Those involved with the local music industry often feel that kind of connection. Sure, you could be meeting for the first time, but after a few minutes it’s easy to find some common ground and within a couple degrees familiar names begin to pop up.
Drummer Robert Becton is certainly one of Beachcomberland’s Kevin Bacons. He has a long and varied career that includes managing entertainment at area venues (notably The Shed—R.I.P.—and Tailfins in Destin), stage production, and, of course, playing the drums.
Becton first found his way to the drums when his eyes caught the drumline at Fort Walton’s Max Bruner Junior Middle School practicing…and the crowd of girls cheering them on.
When it comes to the changes Becton has witnessed in the area’s music scene, he mostly focuses on how things that were once taboo are now accepted by the mainstream. “When I started out with my first band Myth, we were a garage band that played Ozzy, Dio, Whitesnake and Ratt,” he says. “Totally unacceptable in the early days of Victor’s and Nightown. Back then, it was Eddie Money, Madonna, Duran Duran, and Flock of Seagulls.”
He calls his stint on the Carnival Cruise Line the highlight of his career. “I got to travel to so many places and experience so much in a safe touring environment. Plus there were over 200 musicians, performers and dancers on the ship to learn from. I highly recommend musicians do it.”
Becton is always brimming with stories, like hanging with the Edgar Winter Band, driving Kittie around town in a limo, or running production for Leon Russell. But when asked who would be his top pick to tour with, his answer is The Velcro Pygmies.
He has spent some time on the road with the band when their longtime drummer was unable to make shows. And anyone who knows the Pygmies know what fantastic guys they are behind the spandex and glam getups. “They have been so kind to me during this most difficult time of losing my mother,” says Becton.
Big things are on the horizon for Becton, including a new band and growth within his production company dubbed Bec-tones.