I Wouldn’t Say It If It Wasn’t True
A Memoir Of Life, Music, And The Dream Syndicate
Steve Wynn

Published August 30th, 2024
ISBN 9781916829060
Page count TBC / 6 x 8.5 in (150 x 215mm)
£16.95 UK / $24.95 US / $32.95 CAN

Summer 1984. I’ve got the back lounge of this tour bus all to myself, partly because I’m the lead singer but more likely because it means the rest of the band won’t have to deal with me for the rest of the day. Just two years earlier I was flunking out at UCLA, working the day shift in a record store, living out of my father’s basement. Now I’m living the million-to-one reality of touring the country with my band, The Dream Syndicate, opening for up-and-coming rock darlings REM, and making a big-budget sophomore album for A&M Records. I’m also untethered and unbound, drinking a fifth of Jim Beam every day, barely speaking to my best friend and guitarist, and looking for trouble in all the wrong places. How did I get from there to here? And how do I get out? Stick around and find out. I’ll be here, dreaming my dream . . .

I Wouldn’t Say It If It Wasn’t True is a tale of writing songs and playing in bands as a conduit to a world its author could once have barely imagined—a world of major labels, luxury tour buses, and sold-out theaters, but also one of alcohol, drugs, and a low-level rock’n’roll Babylon.

Beginning with Wynn’s childhood in California in the 60s and 70s, the book builds to a crescendo with the formation of the first incarnation of The Dream Syndicate in 1981 as an antidote to the prepackaged pop music of the era. It charts the highs and lows of the band’s early years at the forefront of the Paisley Underground scene alongside Green On Red, Rain Parade, and The Bangles; the seismic impact of their debut album, The Days Of Wine And Roses; the spiraling chaos of the sessions for the follow-up, Medicine Show; the dissolution of the band’s first line-up and the launch of a second phase of The Dream Syndicate with Out Of The Grey and Ghost Stories; and more, culminating with the release of the landmark live album Live At Raji’s.

This is Wynn’s story, but it also features some of the biggest and most colorful characters of the period, offering a detailed field guide to the music business that manages to both glorify and demystify in equal measure. And, ultimately, it’s a tale of redemption, with music as a vehicle for artistic and personal transformation and transcendence.

Steve Wynn is a founding member of The Dream Syndicate, whose debut album, The Days Of Wine And Roses, is widely regarded as a cornerstone of the indie/alternative rock scene of the 1980s. He has also enjoyed a prolific solo career, touring the world on a regular basis and performing and recording in groups such as Danny & Dusty, Gutterball, and The Baseball Project (also featuring REM founders Mike Mills and Peter Buck). He scored two Norwegian hit TV shows, Dag and Exit, and his songs have been covered by Luna, Yo La Tengo, and Concrete Blonde, among others. I Wouldn’t Say It If It Wasn’t True is his first book. He lives in New York City.