It’s not likely that Cowboy State Daily Mark Heinz’ rendition of the Star Spangled Banner on his chainsaw will receive the acclaim of Jimi Hendrix’s guitar-based version.
But that’s OK. Heinz isn’t looking to impress millions. He’s satisfied with his family “enjoying” his music.
It wasn't like he had been practicing for years to perfect the song anyway. He got the idea for playing the national anthem on his Stihl MS 261 mainly as a way to annoy his neighbors.
"A couple years ago, my neighbors were shooting off fireworks all around me so I wanted to do something obnoxious,” he said.
“What’s the most obnoxious thing I can do?” he asked. “Play the Star Spangled Banner on my chainsaw, and that’s what I did.”
Heinz’ daughter, who works at a fireworks stand south of Laramie, came up with the idea of having her dad come out there to regale customers with his talents.
The business allows people to shoot fireworks out there as well, so they thought it could make for a fun video.
It was an easy pitch to Skyler Krehbiel, general manager of Wholesale Fireworks.
“I told him that I wanted to do fireworks and chainsaws because: America,” Heinz said. “And he said, “Yeah, because America.’”
That’s all it took.
Heinz had a small audience around him at the beginning of his performance Sunday night. But as the song went on, a larger group gathered. Someone turned on their brights to further illuminate the concert.
And the fireworks behind Heinz? An added bonus.
Hard To Hit Notes
Cowboy State Daily did add a backing orchestral track to the anthem as the chainsaw doesn’t have a lot of range.
“It’s hard to hit different notes on a chainsaw,” Heinz said. “It just kind of runs like it runs.”
There are ways to get a little more range on a chainsaw but that means getting wood involved.
The rock band Jackyl had a hit in the 1990s called “The Lumberjack” where this strategy was employed.
“They are deliberately dragging the engine down by plunging it into the wood too fast and making the engine lock up,” he said. “It’s really not good for the chainsaw but it does make for some good tones.”
As for his performance on Tuesday, his daughter enjoyed it.
His wife? Eh.
“She thinks I’m a man child,” Heinz said. “She’s not particularly impressed.”
Jimmy Orr can be reached at email@example.com.