Robert Rankin Walker never made the cover of Rolling Stone, and he’s fine with that. But the rock guitarist and vocalist and record label president is delighted to be back performing in Imperial Beach this weekend.
Walker used to be part of a band called Caffeine that formed in San Francisco and toured parts of the western United States in the 1990s. For a day job, he worked at Heyday Records.
Without commercial success, the band broke up years later, and Walker rose through the ranks to eventually buy the record label and become president of Heyday.
On Saturday, Feb. 2, Walker will be back in IB to play at Crystal Cove Cocktails from 7-10 p.m.
Old Mar Vista High School classmate Daniel Goycochea organized the Crystal Cove show, and Walker looks forward to playing a show that’s more like a big party with friends and old classmates than a concert.
“One thing I’m excited about in playing in IB is there are people who knew me before my Caffeine days or Heyday days, and most of them don’t even know where I’ve been or what I’ve done,” he said.
“When I was in my 20s, I took my music really seriously, writing music and everything, and now I’m 44 and I just want to have a good time.”
Walker will play some of his original music, surf and rockabilly songs and covers of songs by John Mayer, Coldplay and other bands.
Caffeine didn’t reach superstar status, but he called the band’s bad fortune a blessing in disguise, giving him the opportunity to work with different musicians and a variety of projects.
“Here I am 16 or 17 years later, and I may never have been a rock star, and that’s fine with me because I continue to work with all sorts of different people,” he said. “And I’ve been able to work on TV, commercials, video games, sound effects, and I don’t think I would ever been able to do all that if I was in a band.”
After high school and before becoming part of Caffeine, the Mar Vista High School graduate and former IB lifeguard moved to Tijuana for a few years and performed with the band The Undecideds in Tijuana and at the U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition.
The son of a music teacher, Walker played the accordion and piano as a child but today plays the guitar.
Instead of producing music, after music downloads changed the record industry, Heyday focuses more on private shows.
Big influencers of his musical style growing up were the radio station 91X and music by Depeche Mode and The Cure, he said.
A love of the water and surfing also influenced his taste in surf and rockabilly music, he said.