Lake Forest man offers new spot to jam
Highland Park, 7/6/12 The Shed lead technician Jonny Shorr (left) and owner Jim Schiffman perform an acoustic song at the studio July 6. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Address: 1480 Old Deerfield Road, Highland Park
Owner: Jim Schiffman of Lake Forest
Services: Offers membership to a private musicians club, will book catered special events, and will rent music equipment and serve as a booking agency for local bands
Updated: August 20, 2012 6:16AM
HIGHLAND PARK — For those who have outgrown their garage or basement digs, The Shed musicians club has opened in Highland Park to provide local rockers with the perfect music lounge and performance venue.
The comfortable and inspiring space, designed for lifelong musicians to those who first picked up an instrument as an adult, offers three recording studios and state-of-the-art “plug and play” stages.
Lake Forest resident Jim Schiffman, who opened the venue, fits the mold of the recent entry into the rock ’n’ roll world. He first picked up a guitar in his mid-40s with the goal of performing in front of friends and family for his 50th birthday.
On Friday, within a month of his milestone birthday, he sat confidently behind a microphone with an acoustic guitar in his hands, playing popular rock ballads in front of a group.
Schiffman’s goal is to give anyone with music in his or her blood a chance to find that feeling, too.
“Those who have the music in them, or think they do, we want to give it to them,” he said. “We want to give them that dream of either performing or being involved with music. That’s what we’re doing. We are selling a dream and a feeling.”
Taking Pioneer Press on a tour of The Shed last week, Schiffman showed off a venue that is just as much a musician’s dream hangout as it is a stage and studio facility.
Sparkling new guitars, amps, drums, microphones and recording equipment pack each room. Then there is a plush lounge with a full music library, with additional couches around every turn. It’s no surprise Schiffman also is making the space available for individual and corporate parties.
“There are a lot of us people growing old that are products of the late ’60s, early ’70s,” he said. “Our kids are growing up, they’re going off to college, and you can only play golf so much. There are tons of basement and garage musicians. I’m not talking about professional musicians, but professional people, whether they are housewives, or they’re doctors or lawyers or investment bankers, they just kept coming out of the woodwork.”
The core of the business model is to sign up members, particularly affluent North Shore residents, who receive full access to the equipment and studio. Twenty-five members have joined since the official opening in April. The equipment also is available on the road as a team of “Shedheads” will deliver and set up the stage and sound.
The Shed also employs technicians and musicians with deep ties in the gig-booking industry. Bands can be forged, music produced, concerts scheduled and dreams made true, Schiffman repeated.
“We are going to give them that dream,” he explained. “We will put them together with the right people, who will get them working with the right technology and provide them the right contacts.
“We aren’t looking to create bands to play Soldier Field, but with our staff we are going to make people feel important, make them feel like musicians.”
The Shed’s coming out party will be held from noon to midnight July 21, with Schiffman’s first Shed Fest.
Popular Chicago funk and rhythm band “Dick Holliday and the Bamboo Gang” will be the headline performer, taking the stage at 8:30 p.m. In total, about a dozen local bands will play in an outdoor tent set up outside The Shed, 1480 Old Deerfield Road.
Inside, Schiffman will be celebrating his much-anticipated 50th birthday by performing with his band, See Alice.
Proceeds from food sales and the $10 admission charge are set to benefit Rebecca’s Dream, a Chicago-based nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness for teen depression and bipolar disorder.
Schiffman also boasted about his industrial warehouse located on Old Deerfield Road.
“When you’re surrounded by warehouses,” Schiffman says, “you’re never too loud, and can play as late as you want.”
For more information about The Shed or Shed Fest call (847) 780-4944 or visit www.theshed1480.com.