LINCOLNSHIRE — Class of ’68 founder and bass player Steve Wild is also a big fan of tennis—in fact, tennis has been at the forefront of his life’s work longer than music has.
Wild is the owner of Club Net Inc.’s five suburban tennis clubs in Chicago’s northwest suburbs and Wisconsin—three in Racine and Kenosha, Wisc., one in Libertyville and one in Lincolnshire.
His daughter is Linda Wild, ranked one of the top 20 professional tennis players in the world in the 90’s, was a Wimbledon semi-finalist and a U.S. Open quarter-finalist.
Thirty-two years after quitting band and picking up tennis as a freshman in high school, Steve said he fell back in love with playing music when he bought a vintage guitar and amplifier, started taking lessons and helped provide the live music for a friend’s 65th birthday party in 2002.
“I put together a small band with my guitar teacher in August of 2002 — we played maybe 10 songs, and I just fell in love with it,” he said.
Wild and Class of ’68 will be headlining the Taste of Lincolnshire on Friday, July 26. The Taste runs from July 26 – 28 at the Village Green in Lincolnshire.
Q: Where did you go to school?
A: My education was all in Chicago — through and through. I went to Maine West High School in Des Plaines, DePaul University and then Kellogg School of Management.
Q: How did you get into tennis?
A: In high school, I was concerned I wouldn’t get a letter in football or basketball, but when I came across tennis, I figured I could get a letter in that. I started my freshman year, and then I got a scholarship for tennis to DePaul University. I started teaching aspiring tennis players and kids that wanted to be division one athletes in college or pros. I was a pretty good player myself, but I was a much better teacher. My daughter, known as Linda Wild before she got married, was actually ranked top 20 in the world in the ‘90’s. She was a Wimbledon semi-finalist and a U.S. Open quarter-finalist.
Q: What role did music play in your life?
A: Growing up in the 1960s when the Beatles were big had everyone wanting to get a guitar and play—the jocks played, the students played…everyone wanted to play regardless of their social group. I played in band my freshman year of high school, but I didn’t like the direction music was going at that time, so I quit and didn’t play for 32 years.
Q: How did you rediscover your love for playing music?
A: In those last couple of years of my 32-year hiatus, I took to Ebay to find a vintage guitar and amplifier I had wanted to collect…things I couldn’t buy as a kid, but could as an adult…so my kids got me guitar lessons and I picked it up again. One day, when my wife was telling me that our friend was having his 65th birthday party, she asked if I could do some live music. So, I put together a small band with my guitar teacher on August of 2002—we played maybe 10 songs, and I just fell in love with it. Since then, we’ve played all around, including at the Taste of Chicago, Navy Pier, Sun City Huntley, Sun City Mundelein, and we also do the Foodstock benefit for COOL Ministries at the Lake Bluff Village Green. This is the sixth or seventh year we’ll have done Foodstock. It’s nice to be able to play for a good cause.
Q: How would you describe your style of music?
A: We play upbeat R&B, classic rock, like The Beatles and the Rolling Stones—timeless.
Q: What musicians from the '60s inspire you?
A: For me, it’s those two: The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. It’s great to see Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger still going strong, too. That’s very motivating to me. Philosophically, having spent time in the seminary — which is kind of funny because I’m a 60’s rock and roll guy—I’ve been able to divorce myself from the philosophical aspect of sixties rock and roll. I don’t buy into that…I just love music. I kind of wish I liked country because it’s kind of more conservative, and more like who I am. Unfortunately, that’s not my style of music. Sixties music is my type of music.
Q: Favorite pastime or hobby?
A: I like playing music, golfing and skiing.
Q: Favorite movie?
A: “Once Upon a Time in America”