When Medicine Show was released in 1984, the Dream Syndicate turned from affectionate adulation to despised sell-outs for many of their fans. It was a noticeable departure from the Velvet worship of their debut Days Of Wine And Roses and Syndicate frontman Steve Wynn seemed to be trading his Lou Reed affection for Neil Young. In fact, the closest Wynn gets to Uncle Lou is with a sarcastic “You know I couldn’t hit it sideways, baby!” during “Armed With An Empty Gun.”
There’s a lot of references to guns, death, and character flaws types throughout Medicine Show; it’s almost like Wynn is contemplating killing the career of his band with what was their first major label offering. To me, Wynn finally takes notice of his Southwest U.S. surroundings and decides to kill off the N.Y.C. distractions instead.