It was when 1980s punk trio Angry Red Planet traveled to Smart Studios in Madison, WI to record with Butch Vig (producer of Gish, Nevermind, Dirty, Siamese Dream, Betty and more) that a young frontman named Tim Pak first caught “the bug.” He began in a bedroom with a 4-track and a drum machine, and after a few years of piling up equipment, Woodshed Studios (Oak Park) opened for business in 1994.
“For a while there it was the house of emo,” says Pak on the early years, when Woodshed was cranking out pivotal releases from bands like Thoughts of Ionesco and Small Brown Bike. “I was crushing hours there… I had to start giving myself more time off to combat burnout and ear fatigue. A lot of loud bands came through there during that time period,” including Telegraph and an early Suicide Machines.
“A funny thing happened. My wife and I paid off our house. As soon as that happened… I decided I was getting increasingly more envious of the people performing on the other side of the glass.” Pak began playing in bands comprised of influential clientele (Salt Miners, The Budget Sinners) and in 2007 selected Ed Sertage (formerly of Bedford Drive) to carry the studio’s torch. Pak now resides in Virginia, where he works construction and performs with various groups several nights per week.
We both had a love for music,” Sertage explains. “Not music as a commodity, but music as an art form.” For many of their customers the transition was easy. “It’s the same school of thought. I’m definitely not a replacement for Tim, but I sure as hell try.”
Woodshed remains as viable a space as ever. “Nothing can take the place of that experience of being in a studio and not having to worry about anything but the performance,” says Sertage. “I see making records as somebody’s mark that they’re leaving on the world. That was important to me when I was making my records. Being the knob-turner is just as gratifying. I just hope I help fulfill that need for someone to leave their mark.”
And Woodshed continues to crank them out—look for upcoming releases from Grommet and Brandon Moses. For more info contact Ed Sertage at Woodshedrecording@gmail.com or 734.624.2847.