Garton grew up in Columbus, Indiana. His father, Robert, has served more than 30 years as a Republican in the Indiana state Senate, including a long term as Senate Pro Tem. Garton majored in pharmacy as a Purdue University student, but spent much of his time on music. Billing himself as "Mr. Science", Garton provided sound effects and keyboards for the band Dow Jones and the Industrials in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He also produced many acts, making a heavy contribution to the Indiana music scene, and with Richard K. Thomas founded Zounds Studios, which continues to produce music and sound for theater. He talked about his life and his formation as a musician in an interview with Peter Shea in December 2007.