DREAM SYNDICATE The Days Of Wine And Roses (1982)

The Days Of Wine And Roses (1982)
Velvets For The Rest Of Us

I may get my Pontification License revoked for stating this, but I’ve always liked the idea of The Velvet Underground more than much of their actual music. Yeah, I know… as sacrilegious as it is to suggest, VU had a few too many fractious elements for my tastes, though I still own and enjoy a couple of their early LPs. So why then is Dream Syndicate’s The Days Of Wine And Roses one of my all time favorites? It’s a concise distillation of The Velvet’s three chord banging, incessant rhythms and slacker, monotone vocals. A VU fan would probably consider the album a two-bit rip off, even worse since it lacks VU’s dangerous sex and drug themes. And they might be right. But, Dream Syndicate still manages to stretch The Velvets’ DIY simplicity into an album that captures all the droning, disengaged desperation that made screeds like “Heroin” or “Waiting For The Man” so essential. This 2001 reissue features outtakes, rehearsals and unreleased tunes. Amazon.


Tell Me When It’s Over (3:32)
Definitely Clean (3:30)
That’s What You Always Say (3:13)
Then She Remembers (4:08)
Halloween (6:10)
When You Smile (4:16)
Until Lately (6:51)
Too Little, Too Late (3:28)
The Days of Wine and Roses (7:34)
Bonus Tracks
Sure Thing (Down There EP version) (4:02)
That’s What You Always Say (Down There EP version) (4:23)
When You Smile (Down There EP version) (3:10)
Some Kinda Itch (Down There EP version) (5:32)
Too Little, Too Late (Rehearsal) (3:40)
Definitely Clean (Rehearsal) (3:36)
That’s What You Always Say (15 Minutes Version) (3:58)
Last Chance for You (15 Minutes Version) (2:40)

 

29 Comments

  • 1
    Art Ducko
    July 31, 2009 - 03:08 | Permalink

    Thanks for tickling my memory about a great band. It's been too long since I've heard this. I'm in agreement with you, Willard, about the idea of a band being more interesting than the real thing. I'm like that about Lou Reed. As much as I love the guy, I'd rather hear Mott the Hoople's "Sweet Jane" anyday over the original. I just have to work myself up into a certain mood for Lou, y'know? Which leads me to recommend Ian Hunter's new album, "Man Overboard". Great stuff from a vintage master & you don't have to wonder if you should like it. Now I guess Lou's probably gonna kick my ass.

  • 2
    jeffreyluck
    August 1, 2009 - 04:40 | Permalink

    "VU had a few too many fractious elements for my tastes"

    Wow. Really?

    I love your site, but… really?

    Thanks for your work!!!

    I had the pleasure of seeing the glory days of the Dream Syndicate live. Amazing shows… one with Green On Red, no less, that blew my mind.

    But they don't hold a candle to VU. And since when is record sales an indicator of anything?

    The Paisley Underground was better for the Dream Syndicate, but they would've been a KISS cover band if not for VU.

    Not to be a bitch, but…

    Thanks again. Your site is HIGHLY appreciated, all disagreements aside.

  • 3
    Hugo
    August 1, 2009 - 06:03 | Permalink

    You tiptoe around it Willard. The Velvets were/are obscenely overrated art-house wankers, and are responsible for directly inspiring some of the dullest shoegazing junkie-dreck to come down the pipes, like, ever. For that I can never forgive them, and neither should you.

  • 4
    Art Ducko
    August 1, 2009 - 06:59 | Permalink

    Thanks, Hugo, you took the heat off. Now Lou's gonna kick your ass.

  • 5
    Capt. Willard
    August 1, 2009 - 05:04 | Permalink

    It might be safe to say that I've attempted over the years to fully embrace VU more than any other band I can think of, so my muted interest is not for lack of trying. I bought White Light White Heat when it came out – when I was 14 or 15 – and remember being tittilated that it said "goddamn" on it. I was too young to appreciate the sex and drugs aspect… but their lack of consistentcy just never hit the spot for me. But, don't be so surprised… I'm hardly alone. If those early VU albums were as consitently rocking as Dream Syndicate, I might have drank the kool-aid.

  • 6
    Capt. Willard
    August 1, 2009 - 13:57 | Permalink

    I understand the sentiment Hugo, but I also understand why people like them, since I appreciate some of it myself. But, I disagree about who they've inspired… for instance Dream Syndicate. DS took VU's idea and distilled it into a more concise, more rocking approach. Everybody inspires everybody in some way, and some artists move the goal posts a little further. That's a good thing.

  • 7
    Jobe
    August 2, 2009 - 20:54 | Permalink

    Gotta agree with the VU comments. I mean I can listen to their stuff for a bit but a little VU goes a long way.But I do love Lou's solo stuff(Seems to me he gets better with age) So hopefully now he(Lou) will still kick pjnsudz ass.I have this on CD but without the bonus tracks.However I do have Down There on vinyl, so once again many thanks.

  • 8
    Art Ducko
    August 3, 2009 - 06:22 | Permalink

    Where's Hugo when you need him?

  • 9
    Keanu Reeves
    August 3, 2009 - 07:07 | Permalink

    Dude, all I know is that if you play the Velvet Underground backwards, it sounds like the Dream Syndicate, but if you play Metal Machine Music backwards, it still sounds like crap. Whoa.

  • 10
    Hugo
    August 4, 2009 - 21:59 | Permalink

    Keanu got that one right. Metal Machine Music may be the worst album I've ever heard. I can't see how it could possibly be any worse backwards.

    I could make a list a mile long of all the reasons the whole VU phenomenon pisses me off, but the main thing I was reacting to in my post above is the subtext that they were some hugely important band that earned their place in rock and rolls Pantheon of Heroes. And because of that, anyone who considers themselves a true music aficionado should acknowledge and bow to their greatness. I never saw the Velvets, but I have seen Lou a few times and John Cale once. The words I would use to describe all those shows was "unbearably pretentious."

    As to the influence on other bands I should in fairness point out that probably my favorite band out there right now is The Brian Jonestown Massacre whose leader Anton Newcombe (Fjordson) claims to be hugely influenced by the Velvets. But I hear a lot more Pretty Things/13th Floor/Brian Jones/Dylan influences in them than VU.

    This blog rocks by the way. We all owe Willard a couple cold ones for putting up some of the coolest stuff out there.

  • 11
    Capt. Willard
    August 5, 2009 - 02:44 | Permalink

    You know how it goes, Hugo. Sometimes when people are completely into something they just can't understand why others aren't either. When you add in some of that snobbish elitism that comes with cult listening (whether it's free jazz, avant garde or VU), it's not hard to be put off by any given band – even if they themselves had nothing to do with the BS that surrounds them. Like I mentioned before, I gave VU more than a fair crack at my attention span, but they never really took hold. My loss, I guess. But… I like The Sex Pistols and Faust, so what do I know?

    Thanks for commenting.

  • 12
    Keanu Reeves
    August 5, 2009 - 14:15 | Permalink

    Whoa.

  • 13
    buzzbabyjesus
    September 5, 2009 - 13:47 | Permalink

    "The Days of Wine and Roses" is simply a lot more fun than any of the Velvets albums.

  • 14
    buzzbabyjesus
    September 5, 2009 - 14:26 | Permalink

    I'll bet the Pixies liked this album.

  • 15
    buzzbabyjesus
    September 6, 2009 - 01:24 | Permalink

    I had the vinyl, I have the cd, I dl'd for the bonus material, which, as usual, doesn't really enhance the greatness of the original document.
    Listening to this again after a couple years reminds me why it's one of my all-time favorites.
    The songs are really good. "Then She Remembers" is one both the Velvets and the Stooges wish they wrote.

  • 16
    Capt. Willard
    November 7, 2009 - 13:44 | Permalink

    .
    .
    .
    Search HERE
    .
    .
    .

  • 17
    souldesqueeze
    March 15, 2010 - 04:30 | Permalink

    Another disc I've been searching for for years. Awesome.

  • 18
    Rich
    April 10, 2010 - 00:52 | Permalink

    I lost this album awhile back, and only now IDed the song you led with. Thanks.

    BTW, I also think VU was overrated, and Television underrated.

  • 19
    Hazy Dave
    April 28, 2011 - 05:17 | Permalink

    Don't tar John Cale with the same brush you use to highlight Lou Reed's obvious inadequacies.

    And, when does the discussion turn to Steve Wynn's underrated solo albums?

  • 20
    Visions
    October 21, 2011 - 15:21 | Permalink

    Like anyone else, VU made some uneven albums, but on the whole… spectacular, at least to me. You really have to listen to some of the live stuff to appreciate that band — like the bootlegged show at The Gymnasium, April 1967, supposedly the first live performance of “Sister Ray.” Frankly, I vastly prefer the original Modern Lovers to Dream Syndicate. DS sounds a little thin and reedy to me. How about Jonathan RIchman on guitar and vocals (somewhat before his attack of terminal sincerity), John Felice (who left to form The Real Kids) on guitar, David Robinson (who left to join The Cars) on drums and Rolfe Anderson on bass. Only the early stuff is worth having, but MAN is it worth having! Modern Lovers, of course, produced by Cale, but also the various Live at the Long Branch permutations (3 different, not quite identical albums), and a Dutch album called Roadrunner, which features a live, 8 minute version of that song — a song that has no equal, in my opinion, though the Sex Pistols made a spectacularly great mess out of it as an outtake. I still enjoy listening to Johnny try to pronounce “Mattapan and Roslindale”!. Richman worshipped the early Velvets, followed them around, and finally borrowed a lot from them. Compare their respective versions of “Foggy Notion,” a song that was not even on one of the original VU albums. Richman moved in a direction I did not care to follow (“Dodge Veg-a-Matic” being down that road), but at the start, in 1970 or so, MODERN LOVERS ruled. Or so it seems to me.

    • 21
      Willard
      October 21, 2011 - 15:40 | Permalink

      I should go back and check them out again. I didn’t hear much of them in the old days and, like you, didn’t care for any of that later shit. Thanks for the tip.

  • 22
    Visions
    October 21, 2011 - 15:53 | Permalink

    Try these, Willard: Modern Lovers, Castle 02182-36294-2 AND Precise Modern Lovers Order, Rounder 9042. Hope you like them.

  • 24
    Max Frost
    October 21, 2011 - 22:10 | Permalink

    An absolute 5 star classic, in my opinion. Still think so, even after the inevitable backlash against this album started. Steve Wynn’s peak, it all started to slide after this, as much as I tried, I could not buy into much of his later recordings (500 Girl Mornings excepted). I remember (barely) one night in about 1984, Chicago, the Dream Syndicate opening for REM, as they were breaking big, at the Aragon Ballroom (arrogant brawlroom), if you saved your ticket stub you could get in free later that night at the Cubby Bear across from Wrigley Field for a midnight show with the Replacements. All of the Dream Syndicate (minus Kendra) showed up at the Replacements show, along with Peter Buck, everybody on stage at one point, the ‘Mats all wearing overalls (???), later in the bathroom Bob Stinson throwing up next to me. I think I’m still a little hung over. But what a great night, colour me impressed for sure.

    Willard, continued thanks for the best blog I have ever visited.

    Max

    • 25
      Willard
      October 21, 2011 - 22:16 | Permalink

      That’s a night on the town in Chicago in the 80s. Screw Ferris Bueller. Thanks Max.

  • 26
    jbull49
    October 24, 2011 - 21:08 | Permalink

    This was one of my “gateway” discs (along with the Violent Femmes’ first) that helped me on from harmless weekend over-indulgence in the Doors and Beatles to mainlining Mission of Burma and Throwing Muses. Thanks for the memories! How I wish Karl Precoda had stayed longer and the LA “authentic rock” sound of the time hadn’t subsumed the VU noise and fussin’ on later records. Steve can’t sing a lick either, but he did/does have a way with words (“Textbook case of a mistreated daughter / Who’s been told about some better options”–that was good–or “See the people of good position / A man of pride and ambition / Until lately . . .”) Like Mailer’s _The Naked and the Dead_, this is transcendent pastiche never equalled again by the author, but still a gift and a goer still.

  • 27
    Wheez
    December 5, 2011 - 15:34 | Permalink

    Chris D. produced this great lp.. He also produced The Misfits “Walk Among Us”,The Gun Club’s “Fire of Love” and his own masteriece-The Flesheaters “A Minute to Pray,A Second to Die…” which may be the greatest lp to come out of L.A. after the Doors’ self-titled… A monolithic calypso-punk madhouse record which features half of X and a coupla Blasters…. A desert island disc if their ever was one…..If you buy any Flesheaters full-length, THAT’s the one! There should be a monument ercted of that fucker for giving us these immortal classics!

    • 28
      Willard
      December 5, 2011 - 17:01 | Permalink

      Didn’t know all that. Thanks for the info.

  • 29
    Anonymous
    June 6, 2013 - 20:27 | Permalink

    thanks for posting this. i had the vinyl once upon a time but it somehow disappeared into those proverbial mists of time. this is certainly the next best thing though and it will be nice to hear this excellent album again. thx.

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