New Music Addition on Berwyn’s Roosevelt Road
A top-flight live music venue, education center, and full service music recording facility just opened in Berwyn. Wire, Berwyn’s newest music complex, is located at 6815 W. Roosevelt Road. The venue is the brainchild of managing partners Christopher Neville, Jon Smith, Paul Bolger and Tracey Dear.
Wire has created a place for professionals, amateurs and students to incubate ideas and inspire one another. The spot is designed to become a base for musicians and music fans alike, in an atmosphere that fosters reflection and creativity and celebrates music in all of its forms. Most uniquely, Wire’s four founders are seasoned industry professionals that will blend their knowledge of performance, production, recording, lighting and education – business areas that are often segmented.
The long-term purpose of Wire is to recapture and re-establish the Chicago music scene as a dominant force in the global music industry. The Collaboratory will develop and nurture new talent on both the creative and technical ends of the musical spectrum. The main components of the development include a music venue, recording studios, and educational programs. The music venue celebrated its grand opening on October 3 in partnership with the City of Berwyn and the Berwyn Development Corporation (BDC). WIRE, the school, also known as Rock University (or Rock U for short), will begin offering classes in late October. WIRE studios will be scheduled to open in early 2014.
“The music industry has become more insular and isolated, with people working alone in their basements on a computer rather than in a studio community. The bar scene has been about quick in-and-out gigs. I thought it was time for the pendulum to swing back to where musicians could congregate, not only to play shows, but to share, teach, collaborate and develop ideas,” Chris Neville explains the concept of Wire.
Through the support of the City of Berwyn and the BDC, Wire received Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for the redevelopment of the vacant, former Teamsters Union Hall, which was originally built as the Oakwyn Theater in 1934. The partners spent more than $1 million on renovations to the 10,000 square foot space. The resulting layout includes a venue space with a 350 person capacity, a mezzanine with a VIP viewing area and administrative offices, and a recording studio in the upstairs at the rear. Additionally, six small private classrooms and a student lounge are on the main level behind the stage. In the venue, a thirty-five foot long main bar was custom built of reclaimed wood and brick from the building. The brick pillars and ceiling wood trusses have been exposed to highlight the original look of the theater.
Mayor Robert J. Lovero commented, “The City and the BDC work as a team to improve the quality of life of our residents. Wire is yet another great addition to our City and to Roosevelt Road. We love what you’ve created. It’ll be a mainstay for many years.” John Aranza, BDC Board Vice President & fellow Roosevelt Road entrepreneur followed, “Berwyn’s support structure is the foundation of our business community’s growth. The support is incredible. We are ingratiated to the founders of Wire for choosing Berwyn and look forward to a long partnership.”
Wire kicked off the opening weekend with a performance from founding member Chris Neville’s group, Tributosaurus as Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) on October 4. On Saturday, October 5, founding member Paul Bolger’s band, Mr. Blotto, took the stage. Founding member Tracey Dear’s band, Waco Brothers will perform on October 26. To keep up on their event calendar or to purchase tickets, visit www.wireismusic.com.