Steve Wynn and the Miracle Three are a cathartic collision of unbridled punk energy and monstrous chops, laid over the lyrics of a prolific penman that looks between the lines. Their sonic vortex is a flurry of shattered styles, all within view but none sticking around long enough to pin down. The Los Angeles-raised and New York-based Wynn, who first made waves with the Dream Syndicate in the mid-'80s, has led his miraculous trio for five years and three albums, the most recent being last year's "Tick... Tick...Tick" (Blue Rose/Down There), the completion of his "Desert Trilogy" (all three were recorded in Tucson).
After rediscovering the musty marvel of Mohawk Place and the Buffalo music scene a few years back, Wynn has pledged to make a habit of stopping by, and will do so at 9 p.m. Thursday, with well-worthy local support from Mark Norris and the Back Peddlers. But for now, the Miracle mobile is parked in Austin, where Wynn and Co. are in the middle of nine performances in five days in and around the South By Southwest Music Festival.
Before and after his first sock-knocking show on Tuesday night, Wynn sat down to discuss both his music and his glorious return to Buffalo.
>You first played Buffalo in 1983, but not again until 20 years later. How did you manage to miss us for so long?
You never know; I'd been playing all the time. I can't say there's a lack of the live music scene there, I know there's a lot of things happening. Then you have a show like that last time, and I'm like: "What was I thinking? What took so long?" Great turnout, it was like an audience of all musicians -- which can be intimidating, but it was really cool. I made a lot of friends that night. Then we got snowed out last year, which was really disappointing. I've only missed four shows in 25 years, so I'm really looking forward to making up for it.
>What shifted your dreams from sports writing to music?
I was a sports writer when I was 14 to 17 years old. I was young, but it was a regional L.A. paper, and I was covering high school sports. It was pretty wild. Then punk rock came and changed everything. It's no coincidence that punk rock came and I stopped writing about sports in 1977.
>You're considered a seminal figure in indie rock. Is indie a direct descendent of punk?
Definitely. Not just for sound and style, but the punk rock idea that emotion and attitude was more important than technique. A little bit of anarchy, noise and trash was more exciting than being the fastest guitar in the West.
>All that said, that riot you just had onstage deserves a category of its own. How do you describe your sound?
I feel like we're a punk band and a jazz band that doesn't play punk or jazz. There are elements of those two styles that inspire me, even though we don't play that kind of music. People want to categorize, but the kind of music that defies categorization is just more interesting.
-- Seamus Gallivan, Special to The News