I had the pleasure last week of lunching with the bassist in one of my favorite ’80s jangle-pop bands, Dream Syndicate. Mark Walton joined the L.A. group with 1986’s Out of the Grey, widely considered the Syndicate’s best album. Whenever possible, I select the title track on barroom jukes.
The band broke up in ’89. Walton played on Syndicate bandleader Steve Wynn’s solo records and on Giant Sand’s 1990 breakout Swerve. Walton moved to New Orleans with college-rock act Continental Drifters, big in the ’90s bayou scene. After Katrina flooded his house, Walton moved to Las Vegas, finding work as a webmaster for Bally Technologies, a slot-machine manufacturer. (Over the years, Walton had designed sites for rock bands.) With a corporate job and wife and kids in the suburbs, Walton’s touring days were behind him—until Wynn rang him last year for a festival gig in Spain. They hadn’t played Syndicate songs in 25 years, but it went well. In recent weeks, the group has rocked Cleveland, Chicago and L.A.
“Our goal is to have fun,” Walton says. “Obviously the band needs to pay for itself to be viable. We’ve talked about the possibility of doing a new record. If [a label] were interested, I’m sure it would happen.”
Dream Syndicate hasn’t been invited to play Vegas—yet. Maybe this column will fix that. (Hello, Beauty Bar?) Fingers crossed.
Bearded acoustic punk rocker Brock Frabbiele (who’s in local hardcore act The Core) has a new live disc out, Unemployment Is a Helluva Drug. Recorded earlier this year at the Bunkhouse (please re-open it soon, Downtown Project), the album will be celebrated with a show at 6 p.m. December 14 at Artistic Armory (a warehouse space behind a tattoo parlor at the corner of Arville Street and Reno Avenue). Frabbiele is touring the West Coast with the Drunks Go Acoustic tour. This particular show, though, features sets by Lawn Mower Death Riders, Dead Frets, Matt Salkeld, Lowbrow, Mercy Music, Zabi Naqshband, Tony Savelio and Mike Law.
I’m not a huge admirer of musical comedy, but the Apple Sisters look worth biting into with their close-harmony singing and jump-blues arrangements and odd lyrics. (Think the Andrews Sisters on acid.) The Sisters are throwing a release party for a disc, Happy Holidoozy Merry Christ-mess, at 10 p.m. December 15 at Art Square Theatre (1025 1st St.). They write original tunes such as “Simple Christmas Rules,” about stuffing peppermint and reindeer poop in your stockings and wearing them near the fireplace so your feet “smell like Christmas cheer.” Jolly good!
Your Vegas band releasing a CD soon? Email Jarret_Keene@Yahoo.com.