Monday, October 10, 2005

Alle Morgen's Parties

The start of Fall always has me pulling out something by Kendra Smith so I thought I’d post something about her. She’s one of my favorite singers.

Kendra Smith was born in Virginia, 1960 and grew up in Germany. In the late seventies, Smith was going to school in Davis, CA, where she started a band with some other DJs at the college radio station. The band was called the Suspects, Kendra was the singer, Steve Wynn and Russ Tolman played guitar, Gavin Blair was the drummer and a guy named Steve Suchil was the bassist. The band stayed together until early 1980, releasing one single on their own label in 1979. None of them like the record now but I think it’s pretty good. The Suspects didn’t last long. Tolman and Blair stayed in Davis and started the fine band True West. Steve Suchil is now a lawyer, but it looks like he still plays music, playing shows with Barry Melton from Country Joe & The Fish.

Smith didn’t like being a singer but still wanted to play music so she started learning how to play bass. She moved to Los Angeles to take classes at UCLA. Steve Wynn had also moved to L.A. and was recording under the name 15 Minutes. They got together and recorded a version of “All Tomorrow’s Parties” (in German) and then started The Dream Syndicate. Kendra left that band after the first LP (she did sing one song) because it was becoming Steve Wynn’s show. She had started writing songs and moving in a different direction.

Around the same time that she left the Dream Syndicate, Kendra Smith sang two songs for David Roback’s RAINY DAY project, a good version of Buffalo Springfield’s “Flying On The Ground Is Wrong” and a powerful cover of Big Star's “Holocaust”.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Cool! I have been a fanatic about the Dream Syndicate since their first record, but I inexplicably hadn't heard Kendra's Rainy Day stuff. Thanks so much.

11/10/05 2:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kendra also recorded an EP for an indie label (name escapes me, and I don't have a copy) and after that a solo LP for 4AD (this I do have, and it is excellent).

I want to hear that Rainy Day album! Aren't several of the Bangles on it as well? I think Susanna Hoffs sings Dylan's "I'll Keep It With Mine" but I'm not sure.



12/10/05 10:12 AM  
Blogger KS said...

Stay tuned!

The EP came out on Fiasco Records out of San Francisco.

Susanna Hoffs was on Rainy Day and does sing "I'll Keep It With Mine", I'm not sure about the other three Bangles. Michael Quercio from the Three O'Clock, Will Glenn and The rest of the Dream Syndicate did stuff too.

There is a 'Paisley Underground' box coming out on Rykodisc. I bet there's some RAINY DAY stuff included. But it should be re-issued. I wonder if there are any outtakes?

12/10/05 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Superb album. But wouldn't it be more accurate to say that Steve Wynn moved BACK to LA? He'd only moved to Davis to go to school.

15/10/05 2:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

True West featuring Gavin Blair and Russ Tolman (who along with Kendra Smith and Steve Wynn were the pre-Dream Syndicate Suspects) reformed to play a few shows. They played 23 Aug 2006 on KBOO FM, Portland, OR ( The recording is posted somewhere... They also played 25 Aug at The Jasmine Tree, Portland and 26 Aug at The International Pop Overthrow festival at the Crocodile Cafe in Seattle.

24/8/06 2:07 PM  

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