Catching Up with The Dream Syndicate
It’s been so many years but The Dream Syndicate are out of Hiatus. The have released a new album called How Did I Find Myself Here? Here is the latest chat with founding member Steve Wynn.
With your latest release of How Did I Find Myself Here? you have reverted back to The Dream Syndicate’s original alternative grind guitar sound from 30 years ago. What made you feel that it was time to do this again?
We had turned down so many offers over the years but reunited for a festival in Spain in 2012. It just felt like the time was right—and that it would be interesting to revisit the band and the sound and the chemistry. Strangely enough, I think our new record and show is true to our old sound, as you say, but it’s also something completely new. I like that we struck that balance.
Weathered And Torn was a dvd/video that you release during Ghost Stories. is a new live Dream Syndicate DVD to be released from this tour perhaps?
It’s a great documentary, although it’s also a little sad because you can see us winding down to the end. It’s like our “Let It Be!” I’d love to document the current tour and band—we’re playing some of the best shows that we’ve ever done.
Was the release a fluke or is another CD planned for after How Did I Find Myself Here?
We’re making a new album next summer. This band is back to stay.
In your new song Like Mary, what is she actually really wanting for in this and who is Mary?
The riff and chorus and title go back to 1982 but I’ve retooled and revised the song over the years. I thought it was nice to have that kind of connection to our earliest days. Who’s Mary? Just someone who made some bad choices and is trying to find a way to hit the reset button. We’ve all been there.
You worked with Peter Buck of R.E.M on your Baseball Project. What guitar things did Peter Buck teach you or did you learn from him? Did he help you with song writing too?
Peter and I are both music fanatics, record collectors, guitar enthusiasts. And really good friends. We’ve been sharing ideas and influences and just having a good time together since 1984. Like any good friend, the influence goes beyond concrete things like songs and guitars. I think I learned about queso fundido and most recently kava. That’s a weird one.
With the new songs of Filter Me Through, The Circle, Glide, Like Mary and Out Of My Head you wrote some songs that could actually get played on the radio or that could be considered pop songs. Was this intentional to have such hooked songs on this release?
Well, it’s hard to say what is radio these days, right? Spotify is radio, blogs are radio, radio is radio. I do agree that some of those songs are pretty catchy and the response has been good. But who knows—the cool thing now is that we can make our own kind of music and it doesn’t seem as far outside of the mainstream as it did in 1982. The world caught up!
What helps you to get a release out of Steve Wynn’s own personal head and what do you enjoy doing when that happens?
Different things than 30 years ago, that’s for sure! But it’s important to get out of your head on a regular basis. These days it’s loud, freaky music and spicy food and travel and conversation and long walks on cold days through Queens where I live now.
You have a new song called Kendra’s Dream. Where is Kendra Smith these days and does she know this show was for her and what does she think of it? Kind of hard to play live isn’t it too?
If I told you I’d have to kill you. Ha ha. We’d stayed in touch over the years. And when we were making the record we had the song that became Kendra’s Dream and I just thought her voice would be perfect for it and for the record in general. I was thrilled and even a little surprised that she was into it. It really is the prefect ending to the record.
Some people enjoy staying on their Circle of life. What is The Circle song about and what happens if you jump off of that Circle?
You can’t. It never ends. We’re just hanging on tight for the ride of our lives. Literally.
Los Angles is your roots and you were part of the so called Paisley Movement with such bands as The Bang (The Bangles) and The Three O’Clock. Now The Three O’Clock have broken up. What did the Three O’Clock do for you and your band and what will you miss about The Three O’Clock?
I always dug them. And the Salvation Army too. Cool tunes. And they dress well. There’s a lot to be said for that.
Raji’s isn’t still around and so many of the dive bars you played at are gone. What did that scene have that is missing from today’s scene in music and can it be re-captured again do you think?
I loved Raji’s. I spent a lot of time there. Maybe too much time. It was a den of iniquity at the time in my life where that’s what I wanted most of all. So much good music. A real playhouse. You know what? Those days were fun. But these days are better. Isn’t that a great thing?
Steve Wynn and the rest of The Dream Syndicate are currently touring here in the USA. They have a concert coming up on December 15th at The El Rey Theater in Los Angeles. If your looking for a great guitar band that knows how to have fun while rocking and sometimes loud jamming, go check out The Dream Syndicate and get your psychedelic groove happening again but modernized just a tab.
(Interview by Jonathan D. Wright)
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