Guitar Hero video game led local musician on a professional path |

Guitar Hero video game led local musician on a professional path

Eric Heideman Band plays Park Silly Sunday

Eric Heideman, leader of the Eric Heideman Band, which will play Park Silly Sunday Market's Main Stage on July 11, started his musical career with the Guitar Hero video game.
Photo by Abi Eyere

Local guitarist Eric Heideman, vocalist and leader of the Eric Heideman Band, found himself on the brink of unemployment last year.

“COVID shut down gigs for a long time,” Heideman said. “I had to get a job at FedEx, and do things like that.”

This year Heideman and his band — drummer Levi Ollerton and bassist Sam Schultz — have scheduled 11 performances in July, and one of those gigs is on the Park Silly Sunday Market’s Main Stage at 11 a.m. on July 11 on Main St.

The guitaris promises to play an array of blues-based rock that are featured on his two albums, and a smattering of traditional blues that hit him at an early age.

“I just want to dive more into the traditional blues aspects of playing,” Heideman said about his future endeavors. “I have a lot of blues-rock influenced stuff on my two albums, and I want to get back to a more traditional sound that was made by B.B. King, Freddie King and all of those guys. I would like to try to get closer to that sound vocally as well.”

Heideman’s love for the guitar started with the Guitar Hero video game.

“One day my dad said, ‘Why don’t you get a real guitar and stop playing the video game,” Heideman said with a laugh. “So that was how it all got started.”

With the guitar in his life, Heidemen found inspiration in blues artists such as Kenny Wayne Shepherd, T-Bone Walker, Stevie Ray Vaughan and his brother Jimmie Vaughan, Danielle Nicole and more.

“When I started making my own music, it was about taking everything that inspired me, and putting my own twist and voice into the music,” he said.

Heideman furthered his musical education and recently graduated from the University Of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in jazz guitar performance. During his studies, he studied under and played with Grammy-nominated musician Kris Johnson.

“The jazz training gave me a lot of discipline,” Heideman said. “It also gave me the knowledge of the different elements of the guitar — scales, arpeggios and that kind of stuff.”

Guitarist Eric Heideman, whose band will play Park Silly Sunday Market on July 11, released his second album "Out of Time" last year during the coronavirus pandemic.
Image by Benvin Lozada

The training also helped Heideman when he recorded his second album “Out of Time,” which was released on his birthday, April 21, 2020, and, as opposed to his first album, “Get Off My Back,” where he did all the recording, mixing and mastering, Heideman decided to take measures that would allow him to focus on solely making music for it.

The band went to a studio called Man Vs. Music in Salt Lake City and had studio owner Michael Sasich do all the work.

“There was a lot less stress with this session,” Heideman said. “And as musicians, the band had also grown. So we were playing better, and that made a better sounding album.”

“Out of Time” features a song called “Outrun the Fire,” which concerns police violence towards African-Americans, and that topic is one of many social issues Heideman writes about.

“I write about anything in the world that makes me feel sad, angry or happy,” he said. “I am not an African-American and I will never experience what it is like to be racially profiled, but to actually experience change we need to stand up with anyone who is oppressed and stand against racism and bigotry.”

Heideman feels the country could be in a better place when it comes to racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia.

“We all need to band together if something is to change in this world,” he said.

“Mountain Song” is another track on the album, and it’s about Heideman’s love of Utah’s Rockies.

“I’m a guitarist so oftentimes a riff will pop in my head and then a melody on the riff will come, but the idea of “Mountain Song’ came before anything else,” he said.

The Eric Heideman Band features, from left, bassist Sam Schultz, drummer Levi Ollerton and guitarist Eric Heideman.
Photo by Rich Carmen

When he’s not writing songs or practicing, Heideman is booking gigs. He and his band have played The Corner Store, O.P. Rockwell and Park City Mountain Resort in Park City, as well as Piper Down, Kilby Court, The Loading Dock and Pat’s BBQ in Salt Lake City. He will also finally play an album release party on Aug. 18 at Soundwell in Salt Lake City.

“One of the challenges of being an independent musician is staying on the hustle,” Heideman said. “You always have to book and play gigs, and you also have to practice to improve your craft. So It’s all about the balance of playing gigs, hustling to get those gigs and keeping your craft up.”

The Eric Heideman Band

When: 11 a.m. Sunday, July 11

Where: Park Silly Sunday Main Stage

Cost: Free


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