Genres come and go, but a select few create ripples that are felt long after the movement seems to have run its course. Shoegaze is finally being recognized for its massive influence and, after years of being insipid and formulaic, actual Country Music that resembles its roots is popular again.
“The Paisley Underground” popped up around Los Angeles in the early ’80s. It seemed out of place at the time, taking its cues from jangley bands that had been active less than 15 years prior. Put in perspective, imagine a bunch of 20 year olds currently rallying around the legacies of groups like Franz Ferdinand and LCD Soundsystem. The collective’s output was mostly relegated to the shelves of record collectors tied to the nascent Indie Rock scene, and spectacular releases like The Rain Parade’s Emergency Third Rail Power Trip remain criminally under rated, but it also produced hitmakers like The Bangles, and East Coast chapter heroes, R.E.M.
The shot heard ‘round the world was Dream Syndicate’s 1982 release, Days Of Wine and Roses. The band, led by the scene’s de facto spokesperson and archivist, Steve Wynn, has had a quiet, yet massive influence on DIY bands over the years. The group reformed a few years ago, consisting of members from the first incarnations, as well as the unbelievably talented Jason Victor, the heir apparent to downtown NYC guitar heroes like Richard Lloyd, Robert Quine, and Tom Verlaine.
In honor of the 25th anniversary of DoWaR, Wynn partnered with Copenhagen based pedal builder Anders Reuss for a dual distortion pedal bearing the name of the album it celebrates: ‘Wine and Roses.” The graphics on the enclosure mimic the album’s recognizable artwork. Reuss is no stranger to similar initiatives, having worked with two of Nick Cave’s collaborators to produce the “RSH” series, based on the pedals Rowland S. Howard used in Cave’s old band The Birthday Party, and the Muzzbomb, for Nick’s current collaborator, Warren Ellis. The Repeater Fuzz combines the built-in effects found in 1960’s Vox guitars into one box.
The “Wine and Roses” pedal is based on two of Reuss’ most popular pedals: the Old Black Shoe overdrive/distortion, which features a hybrid silicon/germanium clipping diode arrangement, and the Germanium Dirt distortion. They are loaded with two vintage LM308 opamps, and six vintage germanium diodes, which Reuss selects from boxes of new old stock to find the ones that meet his specs. Reuss notes “they stack amazingly well, and the end result is a pedal that can be set to combine boost, overdrive, distortion, and even basic fuzz, depending on the settings of each circuit.”
Wynn is delighted with the results. “I just used it on another tour and it really is my favorite Swiss Army knife for the pedalboard.” He’s even selling them at the merch table at his shows (they are also available through Reuss dealers, and from Reuss Effects’s website directly). – By Alex Maiolo