Chris Punsulan is a young beats producer who discovered the music of Steely Dan only a while ago. He’s not a huge fan, as you can hear him say in the video, but he felt intrigued enough to check out the albums Aja and Countdown to Ecstasy. Early this year he felt inspired to create a certain Steely Dan beat, for his own pleasure. When he found out that Walter Becker had passed, he deemed it appropriate to share his Steely Dan beat and created a video, explaining the whole story! And what may be a funny twist to this, is that Chris’ beat sounds very kindred to Stevie Wonder’s Master Blaster from Hotter Than July… a song and perhaps artist he doesn’t know yet 😉 although the album covers in the back seem to indicate it’s virtually impossible for him to not know of Stevie Wonder!
Walter Becker’s passing this past Sunday at the age of 67 has hit the music world hard. This includes Albumism’s Libby Cudmore, who pays her respects to the Steely Dan co-founder in this special tribute:
“They don’t play much from their newer albums, which is a shame, but Becker and Fagen, melodic in hand, moved to the center stage and busted out “Two Against Nature.” To me, there is no song more purely Becker/Fagen than this one, the lyrics a code only they understand. It was an oddly pure moment, as though the band wasn’t there, as though the audience wasn’t there, as if it was only the two of them on stage. We were witnessing magic, in a way. We were witnessing two friends recreating some goofy beatnik scene from a Bard College dorm room 50 years previous, before the studios and the stage lights, the Grammy awards and the praise. Maybe most of the audience didn’t get it. Maybe they just wanted to hear the hits. But Becker and Fagen didn’t care. This moment was for the two of them.”
If you can’t see the embedded post, click here >> Walter Becker, remembered and revered
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.
Nate Patrin will no doubt take you on a trip of lingual pleasantries if you read his ode to the genius of Steely Dan out loud! You may want to check the volume of your device first before you hit play on the presented videos though. They’re all covers of Do It Again. We already found you a brand new, lush jazzy version by the lovely miss Kari Kirkland, and there are others not taken into consideration by Stereogum. Like Tori Amos:
Can’t see the embedded Stereogum post for some reason? Click here >> Stereogum’s got you covered
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.”
“Gary took me to see Steely Dan (my first time) the summer before we got married. 4 years later, I found myself standing at a piano next to Shelly Berg, piecing together with him what would become one of my favorite songs on my new album. It’s nearly impossible to cover a Steely Dan song and retain its genius. I don’t claim to have done that, but along with Shelly, Gregg Field, Kevin Axt, Don Murray, and the legendary Dean Parks, we created something very special, and close to my heart. Though this hasn’t been mastered or released yet, I share it with love, compassion, and respect to Walter Becker, his family, and his bandmates.”
On September 3rd, upon awaking to the news of Walter’s passing, I found myself at a loss for words, and filled with a strange deep sorrow. One of the most dominant bricks in my musical foundation was no more an email or phone call away. We are all devastated, here at chez Randall, and I suspect the fog won’t lift for a while.
Continue reading here >> Farewell, Walter or check out the embedded Facebook post below.