The Dream Syndicate
Dream Syndicate was an alternative rock band from Los Angeles, California active from 1981 to 1989. The band was associated with the Paisley Underground music movement.
While attending the University of California, Davis, Steve Wynn and Kendra Smith played together (with future True West members Russ Tolman and Gavin Blair) in The Suspects. Moving back home to Los Angeles, Wynn recorded a single under the name 15 Minutes (as in 15 minutes of fame) as his intended farewell to music. He did not follow that course. Rehearsing in a band called Goat Deity, Wynn met Karl Precoda, who had answered an ad for a bass player, and the two joined to form a new group, with Precoda switching to guitar. Smith came to play bass, and brought in drummer Dennis Duck, who had played in the locally successful Pasadena-based Human Hands.
Duck suggested the name "The Dream Syndicate" in reference to Tony Conrad's early 1960s New York experimental ensemble (better known as the Theater of Eternal Music), whose members included John Cale.
On February 23, 1982, The Dream Syndicate performed its first show at Club Lingerie in Hollywood. A four-song EP was recorded in the basement of Wynn's house and released on his own Down There label, and the band quickly achieved local notoriety for its often aggressively long, feedback-soaked improvisations. Obvious sources were The Velvet Underground (the Dream Syndicate could be called early VU revivalists) and Television, but echoes of the Quicksilver Messenger Service and Creedence Clearwater Revival could also be discerned. "It was an overnight thing," Wynn recalled of their success. "There was no dues paying. It was very weird, and it screwed us up in some ways."
The band was signed to Slash Records, whose subsidiary Ruby Records released its debut and by far best-known album, The Days of Wine and Roses, in 1982. The next year saw the UK (Rough Trade Records) release of the album's anthemic lead track, "Tell Me When It's Over", as the A-side of an EP which also included a live cover of Neil Young's "Mr. Soul".
Kendra Smith left the band and joined David Roback, formerly of the band Rain Parade, to form Opal. She was replaced in the Dream Syndicate by David Provost.
The Medicine Show, recorded in 1984 in San Francisco with producer Sandy Pearlman (Blue Öyster Cult, The Clash), was the right step forward for the band and a genuine rock classic in its own right. But the commercial failure of the album was the beginning of the end for the band, and contributed towards its temporary breakup. They opened tours for R.E.M. and U2 and released the 5-song EP This Is Not The New Dream Syndicate Album - Live (1984), the last record to feature Karl Precoda on guitar (who soon after left to pursue a career in screenwriting) and the first appearance of bassist Mark Walton. The band left A&M after the label rejected its demo for "Slide Away" (later released on the semi-official It's Too Late To Stop Now).
In 1985, Wynn and Dan Stuart of Green on Red wrote 10 songs together which were recorded with Dennis Duck, among others, and released by A&M as Danny and Dusty : The Lost Weekend.
After a brief hiatus, Wynn, Duck and Walton joined with Paul B. Cutler (of the proto-Goth 45 Grave) to form the final version of The Dream Syndicate; they recorded two more studio albums, Out Of The Grey (1986), produced by Cutler, and Ghost Stories (1988), produced by Elliot Mazer (producer also of several Neil Young albums, including Harvest and Time Fades Away). A live album, Live at Raji's, was recorded (also by Mazer) before Ghost Stories but released afterward. There is disagreement among fans as to which lineup was the best, but in every permutation the band produced guitar-driven rock music at a time when Lou Reed, David Bowie, Miles Davis, and many others were fooling around with drum machines.
Posthumous releases include 3 1/2; The Lost Tapes 1985-1988, a collection of unreleased studio sessions, and The Day Before Wine and Roses, a live radio performance recorded just prior to the release of the band's first album.
Steve Wynn has continued on as a solo artist with quite a growing collection of sonically diverse releases under his belt. Mark Walton went on to play with the Continental Drifters.
Out Of The Grey (Expanded Reissue+Bonus Tracks)
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