Meet Berwyn’s Entrepreneurs: Chris Neville of Wire
Welcome to Meet Berwyn’s Entrepreneurs! Berwyn has become a hot spot for urban professionals, entrepreneurs and creatively minded individuals. From musicians to crafters, small business owners to dedicated team members, Berwyn is home to a remarkable group of movers and shakers who keep our community vibrant. This segment gives us a chance to get to know what makes our local leaders tick! Enjoy!
Meet Chris Neville of Wire (6815 W Roosevelt Rd), Musician Extraordinaire!
Current Residence (Town): Oak Park
All About Chris: I was born and raised on the north side of Chicago, mostly in the Edgebrook/Sauganash neighborhood. I started playing piano at age 3 and this started my long love affair with the music business, which has since become my career. I studied music composition at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and played in various bands there—with some of the same people I play with today. When I returned to Chicago, I started playing on the blues scene as a member of Dion Peyton and the 43rd Street Blues Band at the Kingston Mines, and there I played with many Chicago greats and national artists who came through on tour. In 2002, I helped form Tributosaurus which has been my main band ever since. Currently, I record, produce and play with many other Chicago artists. I moved to Oak Park 14 years ago with my wife Rhonda and my 2 beautiful daughters, Rowan and Guinnevere. We feel a strong attachment to our community, where we try to be as involved as possible.
The Business Side: About 7 years ago, I started to formulate the idea of Wire. I wanted to create a space that would be a creative incubator for professionals and amateurs, providing a world class performance space, as well as a school and production facilities. I partnered with Jon Smith, my best friend and a top flight recording engineer, as well as other friends in the business to figure out how to make this a reality. Five years ago, we found our building at 6815 W Roosevelt and started construction. The extensive buildout and renovation took us about seven months and in October of 2013, we opened the doors. Since then, we have built Wire into one of the best venues in Chicago and now we are turning our attention to the school component. We have assembled an incredible faculty, headed by renowned musician/educator/composer John Fournier, to offer a truly unique experience for our students. By learning from these high level pros in a working venue, our students will have opportunities to interface with the professional music community that are only available at Wire. They will be able to hone their skills while working on real shows with state-of-the-art equipment, all while interacting with bands and artists who come through the club. This will be invaluable experience for career-minded students and will give a deep understanding of the art of music to all students, even if their goals are only to become better at what they do. Berwyn has been the perfect home for us and has helped us every step of the way— we look forward to bringing this new venture to the community!
Describe yourself using 3 words
Musical: This one is kind of a gimme. Everything in my life is geared towards music in some way, and I cannot imagine my life without music being the driving force.
Fun-loving: I like to have a good time, whether it’s on the gig, with my family or just hanging out with friends. Life is short and it’s wasted if you are not having a good time.
Driven: This can be a double edged sword. But, I have always believed that if you are going to do something, do it big and do it right.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by people who create great music or art of any kind. Nothing gets my creative juices flowing more than hearing or seeing something new or different takes on an idea than I have seen before.
Tell us something that people might not know about you.
I am a voracious science reader— physics is my favorite! I also like “hard” science fiction a lot. Technology is one of my passions, so I really enjoy getting different authors’ takes on where it will lead us.
Which place would you most like to visit and why?
I’d love to visit the Galapagos Islands, the Great Barrier Reef or Madagascar. These are singularly unique evolutionary habitats for some of the most interesting creatures on the planet and they are severely threatened. I would like to see them before they are gone.
If you could collaborate with any person on a personal project, who would that be and why?
Peter Gabriel. He has been a hero of mine for as long as I can remember, not only musically, but philanthropically. His work with Amnesty International is truly inspiring and he has fostered some fantastic musical talent through his RealWorld Record label. His music speaks to me at the deepest levels consistently and I think he is a genius.
Would you rather meet your ancestors or descendants?
My Descendants; I am fascinated with the future and I want to know where they end up! Also, my kids are pretty amazing people and I would love to see which traits their kids, grandkids and beyond retain and improve. And I want to see if we all get jet packs.
Are you a music and technology lover? The Wire School of Music and Technology “offers innovative instruction by music industry experts in a world class professional facility to motivated students of all levels of experience. Through a hands-on, real world approach, Wire will help you set goals, design a curriculum and gain the skills you need to accomplish your individual musical ambitions.” Wire School of Music will target 18 to 24-year-olds, focusing on music as a vocation/business, but is open to learners of any age. Check out the school’s feature in the Chicago Tribune!
Interested in learning more? Check out their open house on Sunday, September 10 from 11am until 3pm. More information here.