The Dream Syndicate EP (1982)
While attending the University of California, Davis, Steve Wynn and Kendra Smith played together (with future True West members Russ Tolman and Gavin Blair) in The Suspects. Moving back home to Los Angeles, Wynn recorded a single under the name 15 Minutes (as in 15 minutes of fame) as his intended farewell to music. He did not follow that course. Rehearsing in a band called Goat Deity, Wynn met Karl Precoda, who had answered an ad for a bass player, and the two joined to form a new group, with Precoda switching to guitar. Smith came to play bass, and brought in drummer Dennis Duck, who had played in the locally successful Pasadena-based Human Hands.
Duck suggested the name "The Dream Syndicate" in reference to Tony Conrad's early 1960s New York experimental ensemble (better known as the Theater of Eternal Music), whose members included John Cale.
On February 23, 1982, The Dream Syndicate performed its first show at Club Lingerie in Hollywood. A four-song EP was recorded in the basement of Wynn's house and released on his own Down There label, and the band quickly achieved local notoriety for its often aggressively long, feedback-soaked improvisations. Obvious sources were The Velvet Underground (the Dream Syndicate could be called early VU revivalists) and Television, but echoes of the Quicksilver Messenger Service and Creedence Clearwater Revival could also be discerned. "It was an overnight thing," Wynn recalled of their success. "There was no dues paying. It was very weird, and it screwed us up in some ways."