Well, that was fast. 2015 was an exciting, whirlwind blur. About 100 shows in all—two European runs of the Solo! Electric! machine (about 50 shows) and three US tours with the Baseball Project (adding up to around 30) as well as a few here and there with the Miracle 3 closer to home. And then there was the Summer Of Dag—scoring the 4th season of my favorite TV series, the Norwegian comedic saga of a misanthropic, acerbic marriage counselor. It was a new skill, mostly learned on the fly but I hope I get a chance to do it more often in the future.
Oh, and the year ended with the one and only 2015 show by The Dream Syndicate in 2015—in Richmond, Virginia just a few weeks ago. And about 12 hours after walking off stage we went into the studio to make our first album since 1988. We're all pretty thrilled with the results. I'm not going to say too much except that it's very much in keeping with What We Were as well as What We Might Have Become with some surprises, both big and small. I hope that we get it out in the 2nd half of 2016. Stay tuned.
Ah, 2016. Don't know if I'll hit triple figures on live shows again but I might not have forecasted that in 2015 either. I do know that I'll be down at the Todos Santos Music Festival in January for the fifth year in a row. And I'll be doing some gigs on the West Coast in February as well as another Solo! Electric! (sorry, I kinda dig those exclamation points) over in Europe in April (dates announced next month).
And finally, big thanks to dg at Rexruff, our patron saint of the website for revamping the entire digital store at www.stevewynn.net. More titles and higher bit rate are available now for your listening pleasure including Solo! Electric Volume 1 and Up There: Home recordings 2000 to 2008 for only $5 Bucks each. Hoping for more treats and updates on the site as well so keep your eyes and ears peeled.
Big big thanks to all of you, everyone who came to any of those 100 gigs, anyone who had a hand in putting them on, everyone at Yep Roc, Blue Rose, Belmont Bookings and Raji World as well as the Dag team and anyone who joined me on stage or in the studio this year. It's been one of my favorite years. Let's see what comes next.
Jackson Heights, NY
I had the opportunity to ask guitarist/vocalist Steve Wynn of The Dream Syndicate some questions about the upcoming reissue of the band’s 1982 debut masterpiece, The Days of Wine and Roses. They sounded so far ahead of their time back in those dark musical days when only the punk and new wave scenes offered any hope for listeners turned off by disco, bad metal, and hair bands. The album, which I reviewed recently, sounds as fresh today as it did back then. As a long time fan of the band, I was thrilled for this chance to interview a musical legend. Read more >>
I don't go out for a solo tour with just an electric guitar and an amplifier every day. Wait - infact, I've NEVER done it before. So, to commemorate my upcoming European solo electric tour, I've pressed up this very limited and numbered (500 copies) CD that I'll have with me along the way. I've chosen some songs that I rarely play as well as a few old favorites, all tunes that seemed to work well in this format. I'm sure there will be many others played and added along the way but this collection gives a pretty good picture of what I'll be doing night to night across the continent.
The front cover is a hand drawn self-portrait of sorts but the inside panel of the digipack is left intentionally blank so that I can draw a new Instant Alternate Cover each night, right there on the spot at the merch table. I'll bring the Sharpies.
I hope that many of you can make it out at some point along the way. It will be a brand new adventure every night!
Happy New Year, everyone. I'm writing this from my home in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York, USA, The World. And I emphasize that last part of my personal address. Food from Tibet, Thailand, Columbia, Mexico, India, Ecuador and more beckon from just around the corner. The tiny, bustling and always enticing Terraza 7 club last night featured a Cuban-tinged jazz combo that I watched from beneath the metal grating catwalk on which they played over a bar that was doling out bright red rum concoctions. There's a sense around here of constant travel without straying too far from home.
It's good to be home but it's also good to be on the move.
And there was a lot of movement in 2014. I did more shows with The Baseball Project than any year before and it was also the most active year for The Dream Syndicate since we reunited a couple of years ago. There weren't much in the way of solo shows - a few down at South By Southwest, a few more locally - but that will change in the coming months.
First off, I'll be doing some shows this week opening for Ian Hunter in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Juan Capistrano. Just me, an acoustic guitar and my old pal Robert Lloyd adding commentary on mandolin and accordion. And then down below the border for my fourth visit to the Todos Santos Music Festival. I'll be mixing and matching with various pals (mostly from The Baseball Project) during 10 days of gigs that will also include The Jayhawks, Old '97s, M. Ward, Conor Oberst, the Drive By Truckers, Kev'n Kinney and more.
From there it's over to Oslo where I'll be working on music for the fourth season of Dag, easily my favorite show on TV. And that's an unfair tease since, unless you live in Norway, it's impossible to see (I got my subtitled copy of the DVD from the director Øystein Karlsen who used some of my songs in earlier seasons). But it will hopefully get released or maybe even remade here in the States sometime soon so you all can check it out. It's a well-written dark comedy about a misanthropic, agoraphobic couples counselor. And I've been brought on to supply the bulk of the music for the current season. It will be cold, dark and, hence, very productive in Norway in late January.
And then back home to get ready for my upcoming Solo, Electric (words capitalized since it's not only the description but the name of the tour) of Europe in February and March. I'm just finishing a tour-only CD of some of the songs I'll be playing on the tour - there will be only 500 copies and each will have original and unique artwork. But more about that later. I'm excited about the tour since it will give me the chance to revisit and reconfigure old tunes in a new setting.
And then? Back home for a Baseball Project spring training tour in Florida with more dates for the band coming in May. And sometime next year I'll be in the studio with The Dream Syndicate for the first time since 1988. Oh, and a new solo record as well.
But for now? The suitcase will stay in the closet for a few hours more. There are Himalayan snacks down the street and movies to rent. I hope to see you all soon.