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About bt

Bill Thompson
Retail Manager
Location: Columbia, SC
Speaks: English
Expertise: Amplifiers & Effects, Bass Guitar, Guitar, Hip Hop, Keyboards, Keyboards & MIDI, Piano, Technology, Voice

Get to know bt

Coming up in Columbia, sang in church choirs, Columbia Boys Choir under Arpad Darazs, and opera and musicals at Town Theatre and Sesqui Amphitheater, (many, directed by Sidney Palmer or Thom Jones,) including eponymous lead in Amahl and the Night Visitors, under Thomas Westmoreland.

Played oboe in St. Andrews Jr High and Columbia High bands, and Rhodes in jazz ensemble and percussion in pep and marching bands, under Henry Hunt.
Studied organ and theory under Kay Holly and composition with Fred Teuber. 
Departed Columbia at 15, for early entrance program at Guilford College, Greensboro, NC, attending music classes at Greensboro College, and playing in student orchestra there.
While reel-to-reel recording experience tracked back to recording mom Beverly Burgess' recitals and choir concerts, and electronics fundamentals included building SWTP combo amp kit, designing and constructing speaker cabs and modifying Everett organ for garage band use, first real gigging experiences were in Greensboro, with initial recording sessions, as arranger and keyboardist in 1973-74.
Theory and composition major, moving with dad and stepmom to Birmingham, AL the following year.
Attended University of Alabama in Birmingham, adding Business Admin courses to electives, serving on Student Gov't Legislature, as Entertainment Comm. member, later, Chairman, bringing artists including Tom Chapin and David Amram to the Southside campus. Charter member of Sigma Phi Epsilon AL Delta chapter. Part-time jobs while at UAB included piano and organ delivery (Hammond, Knabe and Rodgers,) at Dick Reese Pianos and Organs, and usher at Cobb Theaters' Melba. Took a couple of quarters off, to work as Relief Mgr for the theater chain, then resumed studies at Montevallo University, with electronic music concentration, studying under Dr. Edwin Robertson.  Played in jazz ensemble under Ray Reach, and received tutelage from Cleveland Eaton and Jerry Green. 
1977 joined cover band that was resident at Bear's Lair nightclub in Tuscaloosa Sheraton, playing with former members of Sailcat, and vocalist Bethany Smith, replacing keyboardist/vocalist Mike Duke, who'd left to join Wet Willie.
1978 found Bill making first westward foray to Reno, joining Dave Cleland's cover band along with guitarist Ken Williams and vocalist Cami Thompson.
Returned to Birmingham to record first LP-length demo under nom de fusion, Sibeaux, before heading to SF Bay area late that year.
Started getting session work at Wally Heiders and Fantasy, playing in Jimmy Foot and the Athletes, then Reggae Jackson.  Session work with Vicki Randle, Linda Tillery and Joy Julks. 
Worked at Prune Music in Mill Valley, birthplace of Mesa Boogie amps, as store staff and built new recording facility in space previously housing Lee Michael's personal studio, alongside amp guru Sal Trentino. 
1980 found Reggae Jackson recording debut album, engineered by Susie Foot and produced by Bob Johnston (Bob Dylan, Jimmy Cliff, Johnny Cash et al,) including guests Cheryl Lynn, Wayne Bidgell, Kenneth Nash and Jeff Narell, followed by many gigs in Northern CA.
Having cut his teeth on ARP Odyssey and Moog modulars, purchased Prophet 10 # 21, which joined the Suitcase Rhodes 76 schlepped from B'ham, as touring and session player, while recording engineering under the tutelage of Motown staffer Bob Ohlsson. 
Recorded many bands and acts, including Stoneground with Sammy Piazza, Ron Thompson and the Resistors and units including Nick Gravenites, Jack Blades, Rick Wilson and Jack O'hara. Session work at Keith Knudsen's Nicasio studio, Keith and John McFee producing Alex Call's EP with players including Sean Hopper, 1981.
Recorded and sequenced pre-production for Joni Haastrup's album at Bear West, and furnished synths and piano, alongside Nicky Hopkins, for album sessions that featured William Kennedy, Curtis Ohlson, Peter Fujii, Ray Obiedo and CK Ledzepko.
Co-produced and engineered Rob Banks' Restitution EP with Robert Morris, and guest artists including Paul Jackson (Headhunters,) Paul Fox (Smoky Robinson, Pointer Sisters) and mixed by Fred Catero at Automatt.
House engineer for R&B label Lovejoy Records, and stand-in for Bob Ross in his MIDI production suite at Fantasy Records studio. 
Joined team at Leo's Audio in 1986, with diverse clientele spanning rock, R&B, gospel, reggae, jazz and Latin groups and writers Andre Pessis and Cory Lerios and writer/producers Larry Batiste and Claytoven Richardson, who along with William Kennedy (all 3 from Summers Heat,) constituted Private Eye.
Little known fact: Peter Gotcher and Evan Brooks founded Digidesign in adjacent facility, beginning Sound Designer app dev in the course of launching DigiDrums EEPROM range. Met Reek Havok, Bo Tomlyn and other grouundbreakers there, including Paul de Benedictis and Opcode founder Dave Oppenheim.
Started consulting operation as 22nd Century Productions, and among first clients was Frankie Beverly and MAZE, involved in production of their 1st Warner Bros release Silky Soul. After providing sampling and sequencing support for Timex Social Club's earliest dates to 2TuffEnuff founders Thomas McElroy and Denzil Foster, served as Production Mgr and FOH mixer for Club Nouveau's US tour in 1987. 
Joined R&D/Sales/Support teams at Opcode Systems in 1988, involved in testing, documentation, UI design and patch creation in support of Vision, StudioVision and Galaxy Plus Editors.
Consulted to Gregg Rolie, as tour prep for The Storm's 2nd album included generating EIII sequences and samples. 
First European touring experience in 1989 with Frankie Beverly and MAZE, which came about following initial engineering and production of Merl Saunders "Blues from the Rainforest" CD featuring Jerry Garcia.
The following year, the Rainforest Band toured NE US, with Steve Kimock on guitar, Muruga Booker drumming and Tony Saunders on bass, Bill on keys and bg vox.
Staff engineer at Bay Records Studio in Berkeley, forming "studio.h" with David Julian Gray, one of the first StudioVision-based production rooms, and providing CD premastering services, custom programming and production system design and support.
Tour prep for Tony, Toni, Tone, supported 3 Arsenio Hall show appearances, and 2 more European MAZE tours ensued. 
In 1995, supported MAZE for filming of Sinbad's first Soul Festival for HBO in St Martin.
Studio engineering was primary focus early 90s, working with Carl Wheeler, Joel Smith and Jubu Smith on numerous R&B, gospel and hip hop albums, as well as bringing old skool funk vibes to Tone Capone's Lab, leading up to "I Got 5 On It" with the Luniz, ft. Mike Meezy 
QA contracting for Sonic Solutions led to demo artist appearance at IBC 1995, and had similar role representing Opcode Systems at MacWorld 1996.
Joined system integrator David Carroll Electronics in 1996, and customers included Skywalker Sound/Lucas Digital, where Bill was hired as Digital Audio Tech in 1997. Supported post-production for a host of films, including Titanic, The Horse Whisperer, Something About Mary, The Newton Boys, It's a Bug's Life and Saving Private Ryan, as well as initial phases of Episode One audio post. 
Moved new family to Ft Wayne in 1999, to join the ranks of Sales Engineers, and taught Multitrack Production course as adjunct for Indiana U/Purdue U's Fort Wayne extension.
Family moved back to CA January 2001, Bill went to work for Line 6, building QA organization from ground up, overseen by Steve De Furia and Dave Fournier.
After brief stint launching Apogee' QA group, returned to NorCal and expanded sales and support skills portfolio to include RAID storage and video Post tools from Apple, Avid and Autodesk with Cutting Edge Audio Group (3 years,) then Advanced Systems Group (7 years.) Clientele included Charles Schwab's SF Production facility, Paypal, UC Berkeley, De Anza College, City of Cupertino, YouTube/Google, Yahoo, SF Ballet, 49ers, Goal Line Productions and ICV Digital Media.
As Guitar Center Professional expanded its footprint into system integration, partnering with AVDG, and hired Bill as Regional Accounts Manager right up to the beginning of the pandemic.

Returning to Columbia, ostensibly to retire, work beckoned, so after doing AV installs and event production support with ACS Sound and Lighting, he joined the fantastic team at Music and Arts Columbia 24 location in early October, happy to reimmerse himself in the Midlands music milieu he sprang from.
Songwriting and production work are ongoing, and you'll find the single "Carry On 2019" by his alter ego btRU (bee TROO,) on your favorite streaming service - more to follow.  

bt works at:
4611 Hard Scrabble Rd Suite 112
Columbia, SC 29229
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With over 150 locations nationwide, Music & Arts is the nation’s leading provider of private music lessons, band and orchestra instrument sales, rentals and repairs. Our remarkable story of growth has everything to do with the countless unshakable relationships we’ve formed with students, parents, music educators and musicians of every stripe in the local communities we serve across the country. Since opening our first store back in 1952, we’ve been owned and operated by the same family, and there’s nothing we do as a company without our values in mind. For whatever you’re doing in music, we’re here to help. We hope you visit our Columbia location soon! Our friendly staff can’t wait to meet you.