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Born and raised in Los Angeles, Steve Wynn, as founder of the Dream Syndicate, almost single-handedly tuned the ears of college age rock fans in the early '80s to the two prior decades of guitar-drenched rock that inspired him. After graduating from the University of California at Davis and following a stint with his requisite new wave band of that era, Suspects, Wynn took a cross-country trip in search of Alex Chilton, one of his spiritual musical mentors and a figure sorely missed on the scene since his days with power pop legends Big Star. Interestingly, by the time Wynn found him and returned to California, the underground rock scene was in the middle of a full-on guitar rock revival, thanks in part to fellow Chilton devotees R.E.M. and the Replacements; Wynn took it as his cue to embrace the feedback-flooded sounds of the Velvet Underground. Borrowing his name from the VU's heritage, he called his new band, Dream Syndicate.
Heralded as leaders of the paisley underground (the neo-'60s scene out of Los Angeles that included the Bangles, Green on Red, and the Rain Parade), Dream Syndicate were by far the most outside band in the bunch, challenging audiences to feedback fests and endless jams. After four albums on four labels and a change in direction (less Lou Reed, more Neil Young), the Syndicate called it quits and Wynn embarked on a solo career. For Kerosene Man (Rhino, 1990) and Dazzling Display (Rhino 1991), Wynn relied on his steady songwriting, unique vocal style, and a bunch of friends (including Peter Buck of R.E.M.) for the recordings. Fluorescent (Mute, 1994) was a subdued, semi-folk record, but his side project Gutterball (including Bryan Harvey and Johnny Hott of House of Freaks and Bob Rupe of the Silos) was a loose and drunken rock & roll ramble. The solo work kept on coming: Melting in the Dark (1996), Sweetness & Light (1997) and My Midnight (1999), but Wynn was ultimately destined to lead a band again and with the Miracle 3 he released the double-disc set Here Come the Miracles (2001), Static Transmission (2003) and the post-millennium panic-inspired ...Tick...Tick...Tick (2005). What I Did After My Band Broke Up is a 17-track document of just what the title promised, plus a bonus disc of Wynn performing some of his favorite songs on piano.