Troy Benton Seaton, better known as “Skeet”, has experienced many things in his 60 years of life including being a real life musician.
A barber now, Seaton takes time to enjoy his experiences with many of his customers that come in for a quick cut and a stroll down memory lane.
Troy Benton Seaton, better known as “Skeet”, has experienced many things in his 60 years of life including being a real life musician. A barber now, Seaton takes time to enjoy his experiences with many of his customers that come in for a quick cut and a stroll down memory lane. Seaton recently published a book entitled, “The Life and Times of a Honky Tonk Drummer” detailing humorous tales of being a musician and the gigs he played in his younger days. “This book details the stories that have been collected from over 45 years of my experiences as a drummer in a number of different bands throughout towns in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee,” Seaton stated. Seaton confirmed that while the stories themselves are true, the names have been changed to protect the guilty. “When you play country clubs, Catholic weddings or whatever the gig might be, there is usually booze involved. The stories I wrote may not be understood or appreciated by some but I figured I would give it a shot,” commented Seaton. Seaton was born into a musical family in 1952 in Wynne instilling a love of music. Seaton's grandfather, father and uncle all played instruments and introduced music to Seaton at a young age. At 2, Seaton moved to Lexa where he says had a direct bearing on his musical interests and, “afforded me the good fortune to play with of the best musicians in the Delta.” “I became interested in the drums at the age 8 and my dad would let me tag along with him and other musicians while they played at house parties,” recalled Seaton. House parties were a big deal back then because it was one of the safest ways to gather a good size crowd and enjoy some live entertainment, Seaton continued. Seaton's first drum set was a Slingerlands snare drum in tobacco sunburst but began to loose interest in playing until rock and roll hit the airwaves. The Beatles and the Rolling Stones intrigued him and soon after he was playing some teen parties and a few gigs with his rock and roll band, The Mellow Street Syndicate. His passion continued through high school as he took band and played in a combo with his “knock-your-socks-off” director Stan Balch and Sonny Payne, known as the legendary host of the King Biscuit Time radio show on local radio station KFFA. At 16, Seaton joined some seasoned club musicians. However, it took some convincing before his mother let him play after being booked in a club called the Delta Supper Club where many greats honed their skills and went on to become major entertainers. “There were some conditions that followed of course,” commented Seaton. “I couldn't let my grades fall and I was to be home no later than 1:30 a.m. after we finished at 1.” Phillips County exposed him to many music genres – all a variety of musical styles that weren't heard in some areas. “You had blue greats like Sonny Boy Williamson, Frank Frost and Sam Carr. Then you had country rockabilly, and rock and rock greats from Conway Twitty, Levon Helm, Mack Self, C.W. Gatlin and Jimmy Evans,” reported Seaton. Seaton says he's come a long way from playing for his first gig at a New Year's Eve house party where he was paid $60 - the average amount that one man could make in a week back then, but says that he wouldn't have gained the knowledge or the skills without his earlier experiences. “I was the staff drummer (regular drummer) on Eddie Bond's TV show and did a stint with Stomper's Band that worked with some big names. I even made my first TV appearance at the age of 12 on a show out of Little Rock called “Eyes on Arkansas,” recalled Seaton. Seaton participated in his first recording first session at Sonic Studio with his good friend Jimmy Evans and where he first met Ronald James. Over the years he has played everything from the Memphis Coliseum to a pole shed at Holub Crossing. “A lot of humorous things have occurred during my musical endeavors and I thought that it would be interesting to share my stories with the world outside of this old barber shop,” commented Seaton as to why he decided to write his book. “I've experienced drunken brawls, played on dirt floors and even had a drunk cab driver, which is detailed in my writing entitled Who Called a Cab, added Seaton. A lot of Seaton's experiences are recalled in his writings including chapters entitled, “All Aboard for Memphis, A Band for the Gypsies, The Band Goes to the Dogs, and many more humorous tales. Seaton was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in May 2011 and says that his dad once told him the key to being a successful musician is to “Never get locked into one genre of music. The more you play, the more experience you'll gain.” Seaton's book can be bought through amazon.com, the Delta Cultural Center and the Plaza Barber Shop in Helena-West Helena.