My favorite moment during Animotion’s visit to Camelot Music didn’t make the final cut. Stories are for big moments, extraordinary events. What was great about talking to lead singer Bill Wadhams was just the opposite: He was simply an easy going guy happy to have a normal conversation with a goofy teenager working at a mall record store. As I remember it, we spent most of the time talking about where to find cool secondhand shirts in Los Angeles.
So yeah, no story there but over the years whenever Animotion is mentioned my first thought is, “That Bill sure was a nice guy. I wonder what he’s up to these days.”
Since I’m on the topic of Animotion this week I looked him up, and he was kind enough to bring us up to date. Here’s what he’s been up to:
WIM: You’ve been in the Portland area for around twenty years. What brought you there, other than the coffee, beer and rain?
BW: I came to Portland in 1993 to check it out. I landed a job at a great ad agency named Wieden + Kennedy and started working as a graphic designer on Nike and Coke accounts. I found the music scene to be vibrant and it was easy to make friends. I fell in love and married my wife, Kate in 1996. We’ve raised our son Will here, and my daughter, Natalie.
WIM: I know you still gig with Animotion, but what else are you up to these days?
BW: I was in my first professional musical this year, Next To Normal, at Artist Rep Theater in Portland. That was such a wonderful experience, I’m hooked. I’ll definitely do more acting and singing in the theater.
I’m also writing new solo material and helping young artists with their musical careers.
My daily work is in graphic design.
WIM: You have thirty years of back catalog. Do you ever get frustrated with being the “Obsession” guy, or is that sort of like asking “do you ever get tired of being a lottery winner?”
BW: I always want to get beyond “Obsession,” and to do something to eclipse that notoriety. I may never have a big hit like that again, but I continue to write songs from the heart in hopes that my friends and family will get to know me as a musician with other facets, including musical theater.
WIM: The music business in 2012 bears little resemblance to what it was during Animotion’s peak in the mid-eighties. How does a working musician keep it together in the current environment?
BW: There are many avenues for musicians these days. Do it yourself publishing and promotion via the web seems to work for many. I think musicians must tour and develop a following in order to make a living. That’s a tough path, but many are doing it successfully. My son, Charlie Wadhams, has had his songs in movies, television shows and commercials. That’s how he supports himself. Check him out at www.charliewadhams.com.
WIM: Last question and I’ll stop bothering you and let you get back to work: Why does music matter to Bill Wadhams?
BW: My mother used to sing to me when I was a child. She sings like an angel. Our family harmonized around the dinner table and in the station wagon on vacations. I’ve been in bands since I was 11 years old. Music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and it always will be.
WIM: Station wagon vacations, singing moms — I can very much relate. Hey, thanks for the time, Bill.
BW: Thanks for your interest.
You can visit Bill and check out his latest music at www.billwadhams.com