Music News

Miracle Worker

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"I know so many people that go solo and won't play anything by their old band -- even if they wrote the songs. I never understood that. It's like, 'Are you not proud of it? Is that like some big mistake from your youth?'

"Granted, there is a period of time where you don't feel like you want to be forever defined by something that you did when you were barely old enough to drink in a bar," he says. "But I look around and it's the same with anybody who does music -- no matter how big they are. Even if it's the Rolling Stones, John Fogerty or Bob Dylan or anybody, they're still having to answer to things that they did when they were 21. My [situation] is no different and there's no reason to feel strange about it. I mean, if Dylan can still play 'Like a Rolling Stone,' I can play 'That's What You Always Say.' It's not a burden."

Not so coincidentally, then, Wynn will be spending much of his current tour playing songs from Days. In fact, when he reaches Tempe next week, the show will be divided into two sets: one focusing on material from Miracles and the other consisting of The Days of Wine and Roses in its entirety.

In the meantime, Wynn seems to genuinely be savoring his status as rock's consummate cult hero while accepting the fact that his work may never reach that elusive commercial zenith.

"There was a time where I tasted that kind of success," says Wynn of the swirl of attention that accompanied his 1990 release Kerosene Man. "I've been on the cover of Billboard and on MTV, and all that. I like it and it's fun, but I don't work for it. I would love to see [Miracles] get all the attention and success that it can, but I'm not basing my life on it. I just feel like it's a worthy crusade, but it's not a necessity for my happiness or long-term survival. Most of my heroes were cult artists, anyway."

Wynn's plans include a tour of Europe -- where he remains a star attraction from his Syndicate days -- and a return to Tucson to record a follow-up to Miracles for a 2002 release. And though he talks of writing "the inevitable novel," for now, Wynn is happy to bask in the warm glow of his latest work.

"It sounds so cliché to say, but I think I've just made the best record of my life. And, to me, having just made the best record of my life at 41 means that I gotta keep doing it and get even better. I really feel like I'm learning new things and finding better and better ways to communicate this stuff. I don't want to stop.

"Fortunately, I'm in a nice place -- which wasn't planned, but it's worked out great -- where I'm popular enough to be able to sustain this as my living, but I'm not big enough that there are a lot of demands on me; people breathing down my neck telling me what kind of record to make and where I should play.

"I don't even think about the age thing anymore. Last summer, in one month I went to five shows where nobody was under 70 -- Cecil Taylor, R.L. Burnside, Ornette Coleman, Max Roach, Hubert Sumlin. They were all great shows and nobody was under 70! Compared to that, I figure I'm just a kid."

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Bob Mehr
Contact: Bob Mehr