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Bill Heide is a perfectionist, but not the annoying kind. The kind that gets things done really, really well.
Growing up and learning his various crafts around the state of Wyoming, Bill’s at home here. His family, friends, and bands all hang around these parts, and he loves the place so much he just wants to make it the best it can be.
We asked Heide how he would define himself as an artist, as he wears several artsy-fartsy hats.
“Gosh. The biggest thing I do as an artist is just try to contribute, any way possible.”
And contribute he does. From a tender age, Bill gravitated towards art classes. He took every opportunity to doodle, paint and craft things that he was presented with. Today, that artistry has evolved into an integral part of the music community here in Sheridan. Yes, Bill plays tunes around town but he can also be found sitting behind a sound board any given night doing what he can to make sure that the particular artist or group is heard as they want to be.
“As a musician, you perform and do all of that, but I do sound stuff as well. Not only do I perform but I do people’s sound from the perspective of a performer. I’m able to contribute all sorts of ways.”
When we refer to Bill as a perfectionist, we really just mean that he’s insanely careful. He believes in doing things right and taking however long it needs to take to get that done.
“I’ve done everything from classical music to the most hardcore thrash music you can imagine, and you just try and capture that essence of what the artist is, and do your best to portray that to your audience. It’s a huge responsibility not only to the artist but to the audience. Their senses are literally in your hands.”
Bill spends his days operating Star Video and Audio, a full retail store dedicated not only to providing Sheridanites with the best quality video and audio equipment on the market, but also with the best service possible to accompany those products. Through this, Heide has access to top of the line sound equipment capable of remembering every setup, every level and mix he’s done for every show. He doesn’t use that.
“Every room is gonna sound different, different volumes and tones. Basically, you have to start from scratch, and that’s what I do. The digital boards allow you to take snapshots, and eventually, I’ll start to do that. But for now, I don’t because I need to start from scratch… for the room, it’s a new box. It’s gonna resonate differently every time.”
A jack of many trades (not all, because there are, like, at least 56 trades) Bill plays with a rad bunch of groovy dudes known as the Nate Champion Band, so-named for a hero of the Johnson County War of 1892. There were only like 7 people in JC at the time, but Wyomingites always find a way to start a war. There were some big cattle companies that said, “Okay so we’re gonna put a bunch of cattle here. Cool? Cool.” It wasn’t cool, and so a bunch of guys fought for a little bit, some knees were scuffed, presumably some shots fired and Nate Champion stood up for the little guy. Anyway, Bill played guitar, sings, and mixes sound for the crew on any given Saturday around town.
“We’re a blues band I guess. I don’t want to call us a jam band, but our shows are definitely loose and free flowing. We don’t really come up with any setlist, we just have this repertoire of songs and we try to read the crowd and the moment. We either try to get people to kick back and relax or get ‘em up dancing.”
Above all, Bill pays attention. To the room, the crowd, and to the band. Keep your eyes peeled for the medicine flute wielding sound man the next time you’re out enjoying some live music here in Sheridan. Yeah, that’s right, he’s also a bad mamma jamma on the medicine flute.
Check out Nate Champion’s tunes on SoundCloud