They’re in Toronto. The news of Walter Becker’s passing hit the founders of Choir!Choir!Choir! , Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adilman (AKA “DaBu”) pretty hard, as Steely Dan is one of their favorite bands. To honor Walter Becker and pay their respects, they decided to sing one of the songs they used to sing in the beginning when their Choir!Choir!Choir! initiative was just starting to grow wings. It’s Dirty Work from Can’t Buy A Thrill.
Brian Haner: “RIP Walter Becker. Steely Dan had a huge influence on my musical career. Writing, playing, producing – I did my best to absorb all of it. They were one of those few bands that the general public liked AND musicians respected. When I decided to play live again, the first 3 songs on my set-list were Steely Dan tunes. Their stuff is timeless.
My deepest condolences to Walter’s friends & family.”
Best known as Guitar Guy from The Jeff Dunham Show, Brian Haner is that perfect combination of skilled guitar player and stand-up comedian. Brian was part of the largest comedy tour in the world while on the road with Jeff, seen live by over 2 million people. He was also part of the Jeff Dunham Christmas Special, the highest rated show in the history of Comedy Central, seen by 20 million people. While many guitar comics simply play chords while they do their comedy act, Brian is a whole different kind of musician. Brian spent twenty-five years as a guitarist, recording and touring with musicians ranging from Avenged Sevenfold to Frank Zappa. Brian opened for The Jeff Dunham Tour on more than 500 shows, in just about every city in America, as well as South Africa, Australia, and a tour across Europe. Brian is now headlining clubs across the country in his own rock ‘n’ roll comedy show. With over 5 million views on his YouTube page, Brian has created a rabid fanbase for his live shows. He still does session work and is working on an original blues album slated for release in 2017. (source: Facebook) (source: Facebook)
There’s an outpour of condolences and memories and people paying their respect since the news of Walter Becker’s passing trickled into the world. We will attempt to present you some of the most endearing, or significant sound bites and articles to read as we’re accustomed to do in this peripheral Steely universe at Mizar6, or Mizar5 as we sometimes call it, still. From everything that’s out there, we will select those things that resonate the most, to us. If you have any ideas or suggestions, you can contact us via Facebook (click the widget in the side bar) and we’ll see how it pans out. For now, we have Dr. John for you, taking a stroll on memory lane on his Facebook page. The lengthy Rolling Stone interview dates back to March 30, 2000, and is worthwhile to read, especially now. The last line will send shivers, no doubt. And yes, really save it for last, will ya?
“”In May of 1989 Donald Fagen did a show for me with Dr. John at Elaine’s, of all places, and it was the first time he had performed in years. After that we decided to do our own show. It became the New York Rock and Soul Revue – until the beginning of ’92. And it brought Walter Becker to New York. He had come back to produce Donald’s album Kamakiriad, and then he was playing guitar onstage with Donald.” While doing the Rock and Soul Revue, Fagen and Becker began to feel that people were still interested in Steely Dan.” – Rolling Stone’s interview with Libby Titus describing Dr. John’s role in Steely Dan’s return. Rest in Peace, Walter Becker.
Denny Dias, who knew Becker and Fagen even before the three of them were part of the original version of Steely Dan, says, “Walter and Donald are one person with two brains. Walter keeps Donald from going off the deep end, from writing rondos and fugues that people might less want to hear than the music they write together. And lyrically Walter’s got that biting edge. Donald’s not nearly as sarcastic. When you put them together, the result has an edge, but it’s also got insight and compassion.”
Lorna, John Beasley’s wife, posted a link to a Billboard article in which John talks about his work and friendship with Walter Becker.
“I worked on several other projects he produced, and he always had interesting things to say and I started to realize that all those left turns in Steely Dan music, that this was the guy that maybe inspired all those kind of fast turns — left turns, I called them back then — the uneven phrases, maybe, or sort of a jump or modulation out of nowhere, that kind of thing. He was so creative and unusual that way. he wasn’t like your normal songwriting form or anything like that. He loved those surprises.”
If you can’t see the embedded post below, you can follow the link here >> Beas remembers Becker
Yesterday, the 25th of July, it was eight years ago that Hiram Bullock passed away at the age of 52. He had cancer. Hiram was a versatile musician who worked with the crème de la crème in the music industry, as a seasoned session guitarist and bandleader. Whether live and on tour, recording albums or featured in the band on television shows (Saturday Night Live and David Letterman), he was in for anything. Rock, blues, jazz fusion and ballads. Some prefer his chops as a guitar player, others praise his qualities as a singer. Think of Jimi Hendrix, Al Jarreau, Nat King Cole, Robert Kray and Frank Zappa in one voice. Yes, one of his fans compared Hiram’s singing to that of FZ!
John Beasley posted the cover of one of Hiram’s albums, Way Kool (1992), as a token of respect and remembrance.
“On the follow-up to his Atlantic debut, guitarist and producer Hiram Bullock pulled out all the stops and dove wholeheartedly onto the “funk” side of jazz-funk and left out the jazz. No, that’s not a bad thing. If anything, Way Kool feels a lot more like a funky rock record than anything else. With a handpicked cast of studio greats, Bullock set out to make a party record and he did it. From the screaming guitar work on “Da Alley,” to the deeply funky George Duke-styled keys and guitar wonk on “Show Me” (with its Prince-styled handclaps and big backing chorus), to the groovy bass pop and chunky chords on the title track, it’s all in there. On Way Kool Bullock showed that he couldn’t care less about what people thought he was or should have been doing, and he did exactly what he wanted — and this time it was making a primarily instrumental set (there are only three vocal cuts out of the ten here) that stayed close to rock and funk with up-to-the-minute production (that in retrospect sounds a bit dated). There is a jazzy instrumental ballad called “Never Give Up,” with some nice hand percussion from Don Alias and keyboard work from Dave Delhomme. But the strength of the set comes from Bullock’s guitar playing, and his screaming tone is the most enduring thing about it. Check the track that reveals its Prince influence not only in its instrumental attack but even in its title: “I No U.” The big funker “Wolfman” even contains scratching! The biggest surprise on Way Kool, however, is the cover of Lennon and McCartney’s “Dear Prudence” that closes the album. It’s modern, reverent, restrained, and quite beautiful. (Admittedly, it’s such a great song it would be tough to mess up.) Bullock’s guitar solo that takes over after the three-minute mark is killer. ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide”
Hiram Bullock and Jaco Pastorius were good friends. Here is their take on the Beatles song Hiram also recorded on Way Kool.
Hiram Bullock with the WDR Big Band – Foxy Lady.
Bassist and friend Will Lee talks about Hiram. And you have to wait for it. Donald Fagen is mentioned.
Yeah. It’s everything what Will Lee said in the clip above 😉
Hiram Bullock. His melody still lingers on.
Hiram Bullock played on Gaucho. On My Rival, to be precise. We’ll conclude this Mizar6 entry with that very song in a HD version.