with special guest ELEPHANT STONE
Like a lot of bands and other incendiary devices, The Dream Syndicate began in a basement. Their sound was long songs of feedback and drone and psychedelic rave ups centered around cheap guitars plugged into broken amps. Guitars! Long Songs! Psychedelic garage music (well, basement, technically)— not things that were in fashion at that moment of time.
The band’s debut record, “The Days of Wine and Roses” was recorded in three consecutive midnight-to-8am sessions. Fueled by adrenaline, junk food and the knowledge that they were making the record they’d always wanted to make, The Dream Syndicate made an album that continues to make all-time Best Album lists and influence bands to this day.
Despite a touring schedule playing more shows to larger and larger audiences, the band split up at the end of 1988. “It just felt like we had done everything we had set out to do. It was starting to feel a little rote, a little redundant and even a little perfunctory,” says Steve Wynn. “Maybe we were just tired and worn out but it felt like a good time to stop.”
In 2012, Wynn was asked to perform at the prominent Walk On Project Festival in Bilbao, Spain by a good friend who annually organizes the charity event. “I tried to get my band or the Baseball Project to do it but they were both busy. I really wanted to play the festival so I said, ‘hey, how about the Dream Syndicate?’ He thought I was joking but I wasn’t. It felt like time to give see what the Dream Syndicate meant and would sound like in a whole new era and setting.”
The reunited band, with Wynn, Jason Victor, Mark Walton, and Dennis Duck, took everything in baby steps. “We were playing just enough to become a band but not enough to spook the giddy reality that it was actually happening.” The shows were exciting---for both the band and the eagerly awaiting fans. The next step was to see if the excitement and newfound chemistry would extend to the studio.
“It just felt like a good idea to see how it would work in the studio,” says Steve Wynn. “From the start, we said we had to love what we recorded or else we would make sure that nobody ever heard it. Nothing in between.” The group retreated to Montrose Studios in Richmond, Virginia with old pal and Green On Red founder Chris Cacavas on keyboards and acting as co-producer with the band. From the first day of recording it was apparent that the band was making an album that would live up its history and take their story into the present.
Wynn says, “In a way it feels like if "The Days of Wine and Roses" would have been made in 2017. Which is to say that it's true to what we did before but it's also a whole new thing. There's no doubt it's a Dream Syndicate record and yet it's not quite exactly like anything we did before.”