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 magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Q&A with him.

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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.