San Francisco will always hold a special significance for Los Angeles-bred, New York-based Steve Wynn: It’s where his 1980s neo-psychedelic outfit The Dream Syndicate broke up.
A 1988 show at the I-Beam felt like a last hurrah, and it was. “We drove down to Santa Cruz for the final tour date, pulled up in front of The Catalyst, and the marquee said ‘show canceled.’ I thought, ‘Perfect! The Sex Pistols and other famous groups broke up in the Bay Area, so why not us, too?,’” says the rocker, who returns to The City this week, backing “How Did I Find Myself Here?,” the band’s first album in 29 years.
Through the years, Wynn, 57, pursued diverse projects — Gutterball, Hazel Motes, Danny & Dusty, The Baseball Project — and worked in Norway, releasing solo albums and writing the score for a popular TV show called “Dag.”
When he was asked to reform The Dream Syndicate for a 2012 Barcelona festival, he happily agreed.
The members reconnected so well, they composed drone-rockers such as “Glide,” “Filter Me Through You” and the shambling 11-minute title track of “How Did I Find Myself Here?,” issued on Anti-Records.
A follow up album already is in the works.
“Honestly, if the music wasn’t this good, I never would have released it, let alone hit the road to promote it,” Wynn says. “With our album, if you really listen to the words, we’re singing about where we are, existentially, and, step one, is that with any luck, you’re still be here. So, step two is, you figure out what it means to be who you are, doing what you do. And if that means playing feedback onstage for 10 minutes? So be it.”
Mortality was on Wynn’s mind as he penned the album.
It weighs heavily on him today, only a week after his musician friend Tommy Keene died at 59, and Baseball Project alum Scott McCaughey suffered a stroke on tour in San Francisco. “So for me, every time I walk onstage or into a studio, every time I play music with friends? Hey, this might be my last time,” he says. “So as Warren Zevon said, you’ve just got to enjoy every sandwich.”
To that end, The Dream Syndicate will appear alongside an old chum in San Francisco: founding member Kendra Smith, reprising her cameo on the “How” cut “Kendra’s Dream.”
“She hasn’t performed in years, but she’ll be at our show, singing that song,” he says. “And I am really excited about that.”
IF YOU GO
The Dream Syndicate
Where: Independent, 628 Divisadero St., S.F.
When: 9 p.m. Dec. 16
Contact: (415) 771-1421, www.ticketfly.comANTI RecordsDream SyndicateHow Did I Find Myself HereI-BeamPop MusicSteve Wynn