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Clip: Steve Wynn segues from wine and roses to ticking bombs.

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  • Carl Z.
    Don t Dream It s Over Steve Wynn segues from wine and roses to ticking bombs. By Rob Trucks
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 2 5:08 AM

      Don't Dream It's Over
      Steve Wynn segues from wine and roses to ticking bombs.
      By Rob Trucks
      Article Published Mar 1, 2006

      To properly place the career of Steve Wynn -- the
      guitarist-singer-songwriter, not the Vegas hotel magnate -- you have
      to go back to the early '80s, when he fled UC Davis for Los Angeles
      and became frontman for the Dream Syndicate. As such, he became the
      official face of the Paisley Underground, an LA-based grouping of
      bands like the Rain Parade, the Three O'Clock, and Game Theory, all
      propelling a tumultuous tangle of Velvet Underground cool and jangly
      pop. The Syndicate's debut, 1982's Days of Wine and Roses --
      especially lead track "Tell Me When It's Over," with its hypnotically
      simplistic guitar lead -- remains a bold and crucial marker on the
      alt-rock growth chart. It was beloved long after the Syndicate
      disbanded in 1989, pointing Wynn toward a vast, challenging solo
      career that yet endures, though with occasional difficulty.

      Alas, the weight of accomplished youth.

      "It's not an albatross," Wynn says from his home in New York City,
      "because I'm really proud of the Dream Syndicate. It's not something
      I'm trying to live down. What was frustrating for a long time was,
      until I made [2001's heavily praised platter] Here Come the Miracles,
      I was kind of forever being gauged by the Days of Wine and Roses
      record I made when I was 22. And no matter what I did, it seemed that
      people just saw that as the record that mattered."

      And so, while Wynn is overtly unobsessed with obliterating his own
      past, following the Syndicate's 1989 dissolution he made a
      cross-culture, cross-country move to the Big Apple and, after a
      handful and a half of solo efforts, locked down his second band, the
      Miracle 3. Ironically enough, this new band helped release Wynn from
      his iconic old one -- by revisiting its music on a near-nightly basis.

      "When Days of Wine and Roses got reissued, we would play new songs for
      one set, take a break, and play Days of Wine and Roses all the way
      through," Wynn says. "And this band plays Days of Wine and Roses
      better than the Dream Syndicate ever did. Flat out. Everything that
      was good about that band this band does better, and everything that
      was bad this band avoids. It's just a better band for that kind of
      music, even. So in a way it takes a little bit of the desire away from
      going backwards."

      Which doesn't mean that movement isn't a good thing. Despite a
      veteran's level of comfort on both musical coasts, Wynn took his
      current troupe to Tucson's Wavelab Studios -- recording home of Giant
      Sand's Howe Gelb, as well as the recent Iron & Wine/Calexico EP -- in
      search of a sound he properly proclaims as "loud and raw and huge and

      Thus the three Miracle 3 releases, including the third and most
      recent, ... Tick ... Tick ... Tick, have become an effectual Tucson
      Trilogy. And the result is reminiscent not so much of the
      aforementioned Wine and Roses, but the Syndicate's thicker, darker,
      and rootsier follow-up, Medicine Show.

      "Tucson, in general, couldn't be more the opposite of New York," Wynn
      concludes. "New York is so all about getting on top of things and
      staying up to speed with a very fast city. And Tucson's just
      laid-back. You get more in touch with what you're doing. And, you
      know, things are so slow and so lazy and so kind of chaotic half the
      time that you can experience every moment." Including Wynn's most
      important moment: right now.

      Music Details
      Who / What:
      Steve Wynn
      Steve Wynn & the Miracle 3 play a special early show Sunday at
      Albany's Ivy Room. $7, 4 p.m. 510-524-9220 or IvyRoom.com
      They also play Monday at SF's Cafe du Nord. $16, 9 p.m. CafeduNord.com
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