SXSW Music Spotlight: The Dream Syndicate

Longtime alternative rockers tie up the loose ends

Photo by Chris Sikich

The Dream Syndicate planted bountiful seeds for alternative rock with its classic 1982 debut The Days of Wine and Roses, part of a seven-album catalog as strong as any in rock. Yet the group, which split in 1989 and reunited in 2012, has never played SXSW – even though Austin was the first city outside of California the band ever visited.

“We drove straight out from L.A. without stopping, played one show put on by Jody Denberg, then got back in the van and went home,” Steve Wynn explains by phone from New York.

“After all these years, we’ve settled into this thing that we really like, and the kind of music we all dig.” – Steve Wynn

The singer-songwriter and his bandmates – guitarist Jason Victor, bassist Mark Walton, keyboardist Chris Cacavas, and drummer/SXSW virgin Dennis Duck – return to Austin for two shows: one for British label Fire Records, who just reissued the outfit’s out-of-print 1986 LP Out of the Grey in the box set What Can I Say? No Regrets, and the other to celebrate the 40th anniversary of that iconic debut, which Fire re-releases later in 2022.

“This year we’ll really be embracing The Days of Wine and Roses,” Wynn says. “It’s not like we haven’t been playing those songs anyway – the last show we did in Brooklyn in December we opened with ‘Until Lately.’ But I don’t think we’ve ever done the album all the way through – that’ll be fun.”

The band’s new deal with Fire also includes Ultraviolet Battle Hymns and True Confessions, a new LP out in June. “We’re really proud of the three records we’ve done after reuniting,” notes Wynn. “This record almost feels like a summation – the sweet spot right down the middle of those three. It fits right in and ties up all the loose ends. After all these years, we’ve settled into this thing that we really like, and the kind of music we all dig.”

The Dream Syndicate

Thursday, March 17, 10pm, Hotel Vegas Patio

Friday, March 18, 10:20pm, St. David's Historic Sanctuary (The Days of Wine and Roses 40th Anniversary)

Cult Classic

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