Dream Syndicate Still Got A Groove

THE DREAM SYNDICATE

THE DREAM SYNDICATE play the El Rey Theatre Dec. 15; photo Chris Sikich

The Dream Syndicate will wrap up 2017 on the west coast stopping at the El Rey Theatre Dec. 15 before heading up to San Francisco. They’ll be playing select songs from their history along with many from their current record How Did I Find Myself Here?

“We’re playing a lot of the new record because we’re really excited about it and also it fits in with the older stuff really well,” Steve Wynn said.

Of course, there will be long, spur-of-the-moment, psychedelic jams, too, something the band is known for, with the eleven-minute title track being Wynn’s current favorite song to play live.

“I think right now that’s my favorite one because I’m always surprised,” Wynn admitted. “I don’t know where it’s gonna go and it’s exciting. It’s thrilling to be on stage and really not know what’s going to happen next. Usually it works and when it does work it’s a rush. It’s an adrenaline feeling that’s fantastic.

“And the great thing is when you take chances in front of an audience you can feel the tension. And when it works I think everybody is relieved all together. I think audiences respond to that. That you were there for a moment that never happened before and will never happen again. It’s almost like the audience is in the band with you, “come on, you can do it,” and then you do and it’s great!”

Although The Dream Syndicate played live and released several records throughout the 80s, they eventually broke up until re-uniting in 2012. Yet over the years Wynn continued to play Dream Syndicate songs in his solo bands and now he’s having fun reinterpreting them.

“These days we’ll take an older song and find new ways of doing it,” Wynn mentioned. “That’s kind of fun.”

How Did I Find Myself Here?
is like finding a favorite shirt and it still fits perfectly. The new songs compliment the older tracks seamlessly although they were written recently and specifically for The Dream Syndicate. Wynn approached the songwriting in the same way as when the group first started out which meant “finding a groove and digging deep,” as he put it.

“I think the thing that we did when we started out, which we’re doing again now, is we’re using a lot of repetition and simplicity and grooves and just hypnotic approaches to music,” Wynn explained. “It’s something that we’re known for and it’s fun to write that way. It’s surprisingly hard to write a song where nothing much happens because you have to find ways to build the story without a lot of chord changes.

“In my solo work sometimes there’s a lot more verse, chorus, bridge, hooks, chord changes, all those kinds of things – pop songwriting. The thing about The Dream Syndicate, for everything that people say they were, a guitar band or a feedback band or this or that, we’re really a groove band. All the way from Days of Wine and Roses to the new album.”

Reaching fans in a more intimate or personal way has always been an important part of touring and being in a band for Wynn, starting long before the internet, up to and throughout the rise of social media.

“I’ve always tried to find a way to connect with fans beyond just “here’s our show, see ya later,” Wynn revealed. “In the 80s I used to write postcards to every fan that would write to us. It sounds crazy, but I did that. I meet people all the time at shows who will say, ‘you wrote me a postcard.’ That’s probably true.”

During the mid-90s when he first became aware of the internet, Wynn started a tour diary, writing about the tour every day on the road.

“I thought it was a fun way to kind of reach the fans and at the same time glorify the touring life and also demystify it,” Wynn recalled. “I would write about what we ate on road stops, who we met along the way and stories that happened. And this was before of course social media. Before Facebook and twitter, etc. It kind of trained me early on how to be finding ways to reach fans more directly.

“I appreciate the people that make the effort and stuck with us all these years. It’s the least I can do. The great thing now is it’s easier. Writing a postcard, you had to buy a postcard, put a stamp on it, and now you just type a few things and “click” you’re there.”

Psychic Temple, one of Wynn’s favorite “new” bands, will be the opener at the El Rey.

“They put out a record this year called Psychic Temple IV that’s probably my favorite record so we’re really excited to have them on the bill.”

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