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One of rock's true heroes of the underground
Sunday, 17.02.2013, 20:20
oh what a night...
Steve Wynn (USA)
The first album of The Velvet Underground sold very few copies initially. But the impact of it was such that everybody that bought one ran out to start a band. And we bet a stratocaster plus a few extra strings that Steve Wynn was one of them. Hey, even the cover design of Steve Wynn & The Miracle 3's «Tick...tick...tick» is an homage to that seminal group: It shows a bright red chili pepper in place of the most famous banana ever.
With his band Dream Syndicate and others (now in the dustbin: Danny & Dusty, Gutterball) Steve was the exponent of the legacy of the Velvet in the 80's, for instance, he brought back the sound technique of the feedback. Alas, despite tours and opening for U2 and R.E.M., Dream Syndicate never got their breakthrough. Not deterred, he issued 17 much praised and beloved solo albums in a variety of stiles and after 30 years in the biz, Steve is still apt and open to try different things, like touring with the Flemish comedian Piv Huvluv («Funny bones, as the say, funny bones»).
The fact that Steve Wynn's a certain shoo-in for The Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame is demonstrated on Blue Rose's 2004 double CD «From a Man of Mysteries»: A Steve Wynn tribute which features his covers of songs by Concrete Blonde, The Silos, Chuck Prophet, Minus 5, Chris Eckman, Rich Hopkins & The Luminarios, Chris Cacavas, The Transmissonary Six and Willard Grant Conspiracy. Others who covered his work are names like R.E.M., Luna, The Black Crowes, Yo La Tengo and Eleventh Dream Day. His solo album «Crossing Dragon Bridge» is a classic. It was recorded in Ljubljana where he crossed the famous bridge Zmajski Most of that same town every day to get to the recording studio.
The 13 songs were engineered by Walkabout Chris Eckman, reflecting the local flavor and esprit of the Slovenian capital. Being that far away from home, it brought back an expression stenciled on every car rearview mirror «Objects appear closer than they are.» On the disc, Steve didn't shy away from the use of drum machines and other ambient sounds and nailed the pieces deeper than nine inches, unleashing songs that are often beautiful but often also punch holes into the sky.
That same year he surprised again and came out with a song collection about baseball, naturally titled «The Baseball Project», featuring other fans like Pitmon, Scott McCaughey, R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Minus 5. You see, time ago Steve was a sports writer too - shades of Ring Lardner jr.? we presume.
And at another time, but after the Civil War, his Southern bandmate in Miracle 3, Stephen McCarthy urged Union Yankee Steve to drop his «Northern aggression». Bingo, title of the new album: «Northern Aggressions» (2009).  
Enjoy this mix of sleek Southern gentleness and hard rockin' Northern aggression that will leap from our worldly stage. And finally, here's an intelligent Q for you: What do you get crossing a banana with a chili pepper? A Wynner, chumps, a Wynner.

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