Reissue out on Omnivore Recordings 6/16/2015
It's a standard rock interview (or rock fan) question. "What's the album that changed your life?" To which you're supposed to respond with your favorite title by the Velvets, Neil Young or the Monkees. But, for me, there's only one obvious answer. The record that changed my life was "The Days of Wine and Roses" by the Dream Syndicate.
I was 22 years old in September of 1982 when Kendra, Karl, Dennis and I went into Quad Tech studios in Hollywood. We were given 3 consecutive nights - all booked for midnight to 8am - to make our debut album. We tracked all 9 songs the first night, did vocals and minimal overdubs on the second and then mixed it on the third. After it was done I drove my Honda Civic across town to Westwood to begin my 10am shift as a clerk at the Rhino Records store. I played the cassette of the session mixes on the store PA and felt pretty sure the band and I had done something very special.
The record came out 6 weeks later. The critical response was immediate, universally positive and voluminous. A few months later I dropped out of college, quit my job and set out for my first US tour with the band. I had a new gig, the one I still have to this day. So, did The Days of Wine and Roses change my life? You bet it did.
I tell this story because Omnivore Records will reissue The Days of Wine and Roses on June 16. They've done a great job - beautiful packaging, stellar remastering and some pretty wild bonus tracks I didn't even know existed. Turns out that Dennis Duck had a cassette of a rehearsal from early 1983 in which the band tried out some new tunes - two of which ended up on Medicine Show and the rest long forgotten. How had I forgotten about this? The songs are wonderful, show where that original lineup might have gone and sound great for a boombox recording. They're an exciting addition to the collection.
33 years later (is it really that long? Seems like yesterday!) the record holds up, still feels fresh and oddly contemporary (those bonus tracks remind me of the Parquet Courts, one of my favorite new bands of the last few years) and still makes new fans with every year. I'm proud of the records I've made since - some of which, to be honest, I like even more - but nothing I ever do again will quite shift my world in the same way that those graveyard shift sessions did back in '82. Rediscover and enjoy.