The Dream Syndicate marks 40 years of ‘The Days of Wine and Roses’

40 years ago this month, alternative rock band The Dream Syndicate recorded their debut album The days of wine and roses. An offbeat and stunning work that launched the Dream Syndicate and the Los Angeles Paisley underground scene – from which the band emerged in the early 1980s. The days of wine and roses has since received critical acclaim. Meanwhile, some of their guitar-packed post-punk songs like “Tell Me When It’s Over,” “Halloween,” and “That’s What You Always Say” are still performed at the band’s shows to this day.

“This one remains very important to me,” said the band’s vocalist and guitarist Steve Wynn The days of wine and roses in the liner notes of the 2001 reissue of the record. “And I’m still very proud of it – something musicians can’t always say about their first album.”

Recently, the Dream Syndicate, featuring original co-founders Wynn and drummer Dennis Duck, and later members bassist Mark Walton and lead guitarist Jason Victor, performed to celebrate the album’s milestone release The days of wine and roses in its entirety during their most recent tour, which included a stop at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City on Saturday night.

The Dream Syndicate
The Dream Syndicate performs at New York’s Bowery Ballroom on September 17, 2022. From left to right: Jason Victor, Steve Wynn, Dennis Duck and Mark Walton.
David Chiu

Like the original record, whose post-punk sound was inspired by influences like the Velvet Underground, Neil Young and Creedence Clearwater Revival, the performance was electric. From the opening notes of Tell Me When It’s Over, the band sped up with renditions of the albums Then She Remembers, When You Smile, and Definitely Clean.

The high-energy bustle paused for a moment for the haunting ballad “Too Little Too Late,” which featured Baseball Project/Filthy Friends drummer Linda Pitmon, joining the band on lead vocals and performing the original version written by the Dream’s original bassist Syndicate was inducted by Kendra Smith. The performance of the album’s title track brought the second half of the concert to an exuberant climax.

But the show wasn’t just a nostalgic trip – for the first half of the evening the band played material from their latest albums, including their excellent record Ultraviolet battle anthems and true confessions, released earlier this year. Snippets from that album like “Where I’ll Stand” and “Damian” and “Every Time You Come Around” were complemented by material from the last five years like “How Do I Find Myself Here” and “Glide” “Put Some Miles On.” These numbers combined with The days and weeping roses Set added into a seamless whole.

For their encore, the band changed things up a bit by performing cover material—first featuring Donovan’s psychedelic classic Season of the Witch, and then followed by Eric Clapton’s Let It Rain.

At this stage in their career, Dream Syndicate would be considered a legacy act, but it didn’t seem so based on Saturday’s show. Despite being off and on for 40 years, the band still sounded alive and vital: Wynn’s noir, charismatic vocals and piercing guitar riffs; the robust rhythm section of Duck and Walton; and Victor’s shredding guitar drowned in atmosphere and glorious feedback. There was no sign that they were living on past glory, instead they continued to challenge and bring something new with each subsequent album and performance.

Setlist for The Dream Syndicate on September 17th

Still here now

Put on some miles

Where I will stand


Out of my head

black light

Every time you come over

Trying to get over it

How did I find myself here


The days of wine and roses:

tell me when it’s over

Definitely clean

You always say that

Then she remembers


when you smile

Until recently

Too little too late

The days of wine and roses


Season of the Witch (Donovan cover)

Let It Rain (Eric Clapton cover) The Dream Syndicate marks 40 years of ‘The Days of Wine and Roses’

Rick Schindler

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