From The Desk Of Steve Wynn: Ray Davies’ “Americana”

SteveWynnLogoOn Sept. 5, 1982, the Dream Syndicate played a 2 a.m. gig at the studios of L.A.’s KPFK-FM. Broadcast live, the raw, ragged set documented on The Day Before Wine And Roses (Omnivore) found the quartet—singer/guitarist Steve Wynn, guitarist Karl Precoda, bassist Kendra Smith and drummer Dennis Duck—blazing and brooding its way through songs from its self-titled debut EP, covers and tracks that would end up on the seminal The Days Of Wine And Roses LP, released a month and a half later. A reconvened version of the Dream Syndicate has been playing shows since 2012. Wynn is also busy with his national pastime-themed band, the Baseball Project, whose third record, the aptly titled 3rd (Yep Roc), is due later this month. Wynn is also guest editing all week. Read our brand new Q&A with him.


Wynn: I try to avoid reading rock bios. Just too easy, too insular and often not all that good, insightful or well-written. Give me escapist fiction any day of the week. But in recent months, largely due to the ease of downloading and reading on the iPad while traveling, I’ve been on a bit of binge of the forbidden genre. Lo and behold, I’ve read a few good ones. For example, there were the psychological and music industry rollercoasters of Pete Townshend and Questlove, respectively.

I liked the focused approach of Ray Davies’ book, strictly a review of his relationship with the United States—from the Kinks’ four-year ban in the ’60s to being shot in New Orleans 10 years ago and, in between, the somewhat unlikely ascension of the band in the ’70s from shambolic has-beens to arena headliners. It’s an insightful rags-to-riches-to-rags-to-riches story with really great detail and love for both New York City and New Orleans.

Video after the jump.