Who • Rob Compton, 58, lives in Krakow, outside of Washington, Missouri, and grew up in St. Louis County
More info • babaloomusicandfun.com
Family • Wife Doris Kutz-Compton, a chiropractor; five grown kids; four grandkids
His act • A fast-paced, hands-on, musical comedy act for kids. “I try to make it as funny and involved for all the kids as possible,” he says. They throw around bean bags, play bubbles, toss toilet paper and bang on buckets. “It’s kind of like punk rock for kids. I have them up and down. To hold kids for an hour, you really have to give them something to do.”
How he got his nickname • When he was getting started in music about 25 years ago, he’d beat on plastic buckets and someone called out, “Babalu!” after the Desi Arnaz act. The name stuck. “I bought it, so it’s mine now,” he jokes.
Background • Compton plays guitar and has worked a variety of jobs over the years in the corporate world. He's also worked for the conservation department and for his family's tire business in Kirkwood. He’d play at his kids’ schools and started entertaining seriously in his late 30s. On weekends, he plays in a progressive country/folk bluegrass band called Wild Horse Creek. His son, Rob Jr., sings lead vocals.
On songwriting • He writes songs that will appeal to kids and adults and comes up with new ones, so he doesn’t get bored with his own material. Lots of kids want to hear the same songs. “Don’t Go Down the Slide Naked,” “The Wee Wee Dance” and “I Lost My Pants in the Swimming Pool” are among the favorites. “There’s a theme,” he says, laughing. “Preschool and school teachers will say, ‘we’ll ask you back because you don’t bore the socks off of us.’ That’s kind of my forte, I guess.”
On aging • Now, more parents with young children show up to tell him, “Aww, I saw you when I was 5 at my school.” Once a kid told him, “You’re not Babaloo. Babaloo’s not old and fat.” But as long as he can carry his own equipment and is having fun, he’ll keep Babaloo-ing. “I’ve thought about doing something else, and I’ve done other things, but nothing really sounds better.”