When Steve Wynn called a halt to his band in 1989, he thought he would stop hearing the words ‘of the Dream Syndicate’ after his name within a year. That didn’t happen. No matter that he made solo records, recorded with Green On Red’s Dan Stuart as Danny & Dusty and with his all-star sports-themed group the Baseball Project, he was always Steve Wynn ‘of the Dream Syndicate’. That’s because the Dream Syndicate were one of the unforgettable groups of the 1980s: an outfit who mixed psychedelia, classic rock and a jam-band looseness in songs that defined LA’s Paisley Underground scene.
In 2012 he reunited the group to play live, and now they’ve made their first album in 29 years, How Did I Find Myself Here?. So what kept them?
How come the Dream Syndicate are back? Have you had enough of writing songs about baseball?
There are more baseball songs to be written, but that’s just one of the things I do. I’ve enjoyed playing the shows with the Dream Syndicate, without trying to slavishly imitate what we did before. Four years after we reunited, we felt it was time to make a record and if it excited us, we would finish it and put it out. If it didn’t, we’d just forget about it. The new album, to me, feels like if we had made [debut album] The Days Of Wine And Roses now. It doesn’t sound like it, but it has the same motivations behind it.
Do you feel like you have to deliver what the old fans expect?
We like the long songs – I got excited we had a new song that we could stretch out. We recorded it with no road map, and it’s really a pop song surrounded by a lot of stuff. I love sprawling, epic, free-form, lightning-in-a-jar stuff. That and John Coltrane Stereo Blues will be the whole live show [laughs].
For a while you were the buzziest band around. Was it difficult to adjust when that stopped?
It’s a weird feeling when that happens. For that first year, I would go to a newsstand in Hollywood and flick through the magazines. Every one I picked up had something about the band, and after a while I took it for granted: that’s how life’s going to be. But then other things come along and other bands get the attention. But eventually you realise that’s how it is for every band.
You’re a Los Angeleno who supports the New York Yankees – the most hated team in baseball. How could you do that?
I come from LA but I’ve always loved New York. So when I moved there I wanted to be a fan of a New York team, but it had to be a team in the other league from the LA Dodgers so there wouldn’t be a conflict. And as time went on I began to feel like a New Yorker, so the Yankees became my team. I still like the Dodgers, though.
Would you swap places with Steve Wynn the casino tycoon? You’d be extremely rich, but you wouldn’t have had a musical career.
Not a chance! I love my life.
How Did I Find Myself Here? is released on September 8 via Anti-.