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Syndicated Dreams - Volume 11 - the Suspects: Anthology

Released January 2003
SD11 coverart SD11 coverart SD11 coverart

  • Cover by Fritz Weidner (fweidner@hotmail.com)

    Liner Notes :

    Welcome to what has, until now, been the prehistory of Steve's career. I first heard of the Suspects during my freshman year at the University of California, Davis, but didn't actually see them until Fall Quarter of the next year, at a concert sponsored by the excellent student-run campus radio station, KDVS (Steve, Kendra, and Russ were all DJs at the station, by the way). At the time, they were the only band in Davis - something that would soon change as Davis became a local haven for new wave bands, most of which, like the Suspects, were formed by students.

    I was hooked after that first concert, but unfortunately, the Suspects wouldn't last much longer. Six months later, they had broken up, and Steve and Kendra had moved to Los Angeles. But in the meantime, they released their single and played frequently in Davis, and I went to see them whenever I could.

    As you will hear, Kendra was really the dominant on-stage personality. Steve wrote most of the songs (Russ wrote a few as well), but mostly stayed in the background when they performed. The thing that really stands out in my memory as I listen again is how much fun they seemed to have, and that translated to the audience as well. I don't think there's much in their music that hints at the direction they would later take - at least not until the dramatic opening of their reunion concert. That is one of my favorite Suspects memories - as I recall, they played the first minute or two of "Alle Morgens Parties" in darkness - all the lights in the Coffee House were turned off. Little did we know at the time how much that foreshadowed the transition Steve and Kendra would soon make with the founding of the Dream Syndicate.

    Jaap Bos sent me the tapes this release was compiled from a few years ago when I found out they existed and inquired about them (much to my delight). I want to make sure he is properly thanked for preserving this part of Steve's legacy. They aren't perfect, but I did include at least one performance of every song that exists on them. I apologize for the defects, which include inconsistent sound quality and three songs from the reunion concert cut a little short, but unfortunately, I think this might be most of what has survived. I hope you enjoy listening to Steve's earliest work as much as I did 23 years ago.

    Clinton Lawrence
    Davis, California
    January 20, 2003

    By 1984, I was a massive Dream Syndicate and True West fan, so when I heard about the Suspects, which "on paper" appeared to be a nearly legendary super group of Steve Wynn on guitar, Kendra Smith on vocals, Russ Tolman on guitar, True West singer Gavin Blair on drums, plus a bass player who I'd never heard of, I was determined to hear this band. I thought to myself, this is the most exciting thing I've heard about since Steampacket (mid 1960's first band of Julie Driscoll, Rod Stewart, Brian Auger, Long John Baldry, and Micky Waller). But for anyone living outside of Northern California, the chance of coming across their single was impossible. I begged Steve himself several times for a copy of the single and he said "I'll never let you hear that band". Much later tapes began circulating and by the early 90's Steve was kind enough to fork over one of his final copies of the disc. Well, it's not as bad as Steve and Kendra both told me it was, nor is it nearly as exciting as it appeared "on paper". At the end of the day it's probably about as good as Steampacket. Here it is the folks, the Suspects joining a long list of bands before they were famous: The Quarrymen, the Golliwogs, David Jones and the Lower Third, the Neon Boys, the Sneakers, Giles Giles & Fripp, the Warlocks, John Evan Blues Band, Timebox, and the High Numbers. Can you name what bands they later became?

    Pat Thomas
    Oakland, CA January 22nd 2003

    The Tracks

    Syndicated Dreams vol 11
    the Suspects
    : Anthology
    The Single (Recorded at BSU Studios, San Francisco, 1979)
    1.It's Up To You (2:56)
    2.Talking Loud (2:21)
    Demos (Recorded at KDVS, The University of California, Davis, 1979)
    3.You're Not the One (3:05)
    4.Two For One (3:17)
    5.Whatcha Gonna Do (3:56)
    6.19th Nervous Breakdown (3:43)
    7.You're Not the One (2:43)
    8.While You Sleep * (3:37)
    * This demo is Steve by himself in the studio.
    9.Bang a Gong (Get It On) (2:52)
    Live 1979 (Probably in Davis, CA, exact dates and venues unknown)
    10.Autopilot (2:39)
    11.Talking Loud (3:16)
    12.Still Life (4:52)
    13.That's Not My Name (3:17)
    14.Fool Around (3:40)
    15.I've Got A Right (1:58)
    Live at The Coffee House
    The University of California, Davis, February 14, 1980
    16.Talking Loud (2:29)
    17.While You Sleep (3:25)
    18.She's Got It Down (3:18)
    19.Double Talk (3:11)
    20.Two For One (3:28)
    21.That's Not My Name (4:07)
    22.It's Up to You (2:53)
    The Reunion Concert
    The Coffee House
    The University of California, Davis, May 8, 1981
    1.Alle Morgens Parties (5:09)
    2.Talking Loud (2:49)
    3.Double Talk (2:53)
    4.A Year Ago (3:20)
    5.Bang a Gong (cut)(3:34)
    6.While You Sleep (3:22)
    7.You're Not the One (2:59)
    8.Two For One (3:42)
    9.She's Got It Down (3:59)
    10.Twentieth Century Fox (3:57)
    11.Girl From Ipanema (1:45)
    12.A Better World (4:04)
    13.Whatcha Gonna Do (cut)(4:34)
    14.It's Up To You (cut)(2:21)
    15.That's Not My Name (4:31)
    16.Do Anything You Wanna Do (4:44)
    Demo (Probably recorded at BSU Studios, San Francisco, during sessions for the single)
    17.Make Something Happen ** (2:36)
    Early (1978?) Live (Probably in Davis, CA, exact date and venue unknown)
    18.Whacks Intact ** (3:46)
    19.Can't Reach You ** (3:15)
    20.Hazardous Romances ** (2:57)
    ** This stuff is of lesser sound quality.
    CDR mastered by Clinton Lawrence

    Please note Mr. Steve Wynn has very kindly given his permission to publish the Syndicated Dreams series in the mp3-format
  • © All rights for music and text on these pages belongs to Steve Wynn