The science that is no fiction

Rumpus and Bud have recently joined some social media Steely Dan groups just to keep their toes in the water, so to speak. The buzz for a Summer of Living Dangerously is in the process of defrosting as we type, meaning that people are warming up inside by the thought of a great summer tour with two of their fav bands, while shoveling their driveways and keeping the engines of their cars running before they hit their daily dosage of traffic jamscapades. But the timeline’s always a bit blurry and fuzzy when it comes to the Dan and their fans. Folks leap from past to present, to the future and back. Not persé reeling in rages of nostalgia, often more realizing the value and layers within the music their young ears, at the time, might have missed out on because their whole being got overwhelmed and absorbed by a catalogue full of creativity and studio craftsmanship that is classic as well as timeless, or ahead of its time, even.

In one of those groups, we saw this astute observation by one of our dearest former Sign In Stranger/Yellowbook friends, mr. Steve Barbour, a musician and private music teacher in Raleigh. Folks were discussing Dr. Wu, a track from the 1975 Katy Lied album of which we posted another track and great cover not long ago, on our Wake Up and Scroll Down page.

Steve posted what we immediately recognized as a great tagline to be served up in our humble Mizar6 abode:

in retrospect, Katy Lied was a watershed record with more ties to the future than the past

So, let’s just jump ahead twenty years in the future, from 1975 to 1995, and listen to Herbie Hancock’s take on a Katy Lied track:

We probably don’t need to explain all the ties and history for this particular video: Chain Lightning, performed at the Jeff Porcaro Tribute concert in 1992, with Denny Dias on lead guitar.

One of our favorite covers in 2006:

But we adore this instrumental version as well:

We hope Steviedan, as we knew him back in the old Yellow days, will occasionally grace us here with some of his insights and knowledge that kept us glued to the screen in those early internet community days.

Chris Punsulan tribute: Beats for Becker


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 Hotter Than July… a song and perhaps artist he doesn’t know yet 😉

Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz with Steely Dan

This show came to mind amidst the many interviews and articles over the years. Not in the least because of the wonderful and charming host, Marian McPartland. A great hour of musings and music. Even though it is very sad mr. Becker left so soon, to celebrate life, or his work, is the best way of honoring the time he was here. Enjoy! Originally recorded July 23, 2002. Originally aired in 2003.

If for some reason you can’t see or use the embedded player, click image:

Libby Cudmore’s tribute

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

Stereogum’s got you covered


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

Brian Haner (Guitar Guy): “Steely Dan is timeless”

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)

Howard A. Rodman – 10 years old, sad and lost

“When I was 10 our family — my mother and I — moved from Bedford-Stuyvesant to Forest Hills. (The schools were better, my mother was told.) And I found myself the “new kid,” among strangers, whose habits made little sense to me, and with odd geographies to master. I was not happy, nor was I particularly pleasant. I withdrew into my books. I gained 10 pounds. To borrow a phrase: I was lost. Then I began to find companions. Comrades. Some of them are — and this is a blessing — still in my life today: Adam Duhan, Marc Levitt, Ken Lakritz, a few others. Who helped me navigate this new and unhappy land. And then there was Walter.”

continue reading here >> Howard A. Rodman remembers his old schoolfriend Walter

Howard A. Rodman is president of the Writers Guild of America West. He wrote the films Joe Gould’s Secret, Savage Grace, and August, and the novel Destiny Express. He is professor and former chair of the writing division of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.