An Interview with Pinwheel Records

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Scott Schaaf is the proprietor of Pinwheel Records, a new vinyl store near the 18th St. Pink line stop in Pilsen. We asked him to share a little bit about the shop, its South Side-inspired name, and his taste in music. Here’s what he had to say:

Your doors have been open for just a few months now. Why did you start Pinwheel Records?

I decided to open the shop while hanging out with friends on New Years Eve. I guess at the time I was in the middle of some sort of pre-mid life crisis looking for something new after working an office job for seven years. We were talking about how much we love records and how the vinyl industry has grown so significantly. I’ve thought about opening a record store for years – in fact, I think I even mentioned it to my college advisor as part of my 10-year plan. Anyway, my girlfriend Kim was very supportive and totally into the idea, so we moved forward. And now we’re here less than a year later with the shop up and running.

Is the name Pinwheel a reference to something, and why did you choose that name?

Coming up with a name is always a challenge – babies, cats, bands, etc. I racked my brain trying to come up with a solid name for the shop, but I always just ended up with a punny name that was already taken. As a die-hard White Sox fan, I thought about a subtle way to work them into the name. I’ve always liked the usage of pinwheels on the Comiskey Park scoreboard and figured that someone with way more graphic design skills than me could come up with a cool logo.

Why Pilsen?

IMG_3179We spent a lot of time in Pilsen before moving to the neighborhood and when we told folks about our plans to open a shop, everyone pointed out that for such an arts-centric community, Pilsen didn’t have a record store. The more time we spent in Pilsen, the more we loved it – it was just a no-brainer.

Why should we skip the record stores on the North Side and come down here to pick up some good vinyl?

As a record collector, I always go to as many record stores as possible. You never know what you’re going to find in a given shop, so you’ve gotta hit up as many stores as possible to find some gems. We’re not going to replace Reckless or Dusty Groove, but we can certainly complement them. And now that there are multiple record stores in Pilsen, the neighborhood can now be a destination for record collectors from all around the Chicagoland area.

Top 5 records? 

Depends on the day. Today I’ll say:
-The Clash: London Calling
-Kinks: Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround
-Weezer: Pinkerton
-Neko Case: Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
-Nas: It Was Written

Elliott Smith’s “Either/Or”, The Beatles’ “Rubber Soul”, Elvis Costello’s “My Aim is True”, and just about anything by Sam Cooke are always battling for the top five.

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