26 APRIL 2019 (TORONTO, ON) – Sophisticated musicianship, imaginative lyrics, and a flair for melody are signatures of the Monkey House sound – a sound that has earned the group serious critical acclaim, peer respect, and a steadily expanding international following.
Those characteristics are again evident on Friday, set for release on ALMA Records. It is the fifth full-length release from the L.A./Toronto combo that has just celebrated the notable milestone of 25 years of playing together. That rare longevity has resulted in an invaluable empathy in the musical interactions of the core members: singer/songwriter/keyboardist Don Breithaupt, drummer Mark Kelso, bassist Pat Kilbride, and guitarist Justin Abedin.
All but two of the tracks on Friday are Don Breithaupt compositions. The first single, “Book of Liars” hits the airwaves April 26. “Book Of Liars” is a cover of a song by Steely Dan’s Walter Becker. “As a lifelong Steely Dan fan, Walter’s death hit me hard,” says Don. “I thought it’d be a nice gesture to do one of his.”
Before you click the following link Back to my Old School in which author Seth Kaufman attempts to pick the brain of a friend of a friend’s mother about her acid trips back in her Bard college days, you may want to catch your breath first.
There. That feels better, doesn’t it? Are you ready now for the next line? We’ll try to keep it short. Don’t worry. Your curiosity won’t have to bite the dust and there will be plenty of room left to vacuum clean, walk the dog, water the plants or order in food. But we have to properly introduce this story to you. It’s no secret. Donald Fagen and Walter Becker were young, once upon a time. They did what many other youngsters did if opportunity arose. They tried and tested stuff. They did drugs. Donald Fagen writes about it in his book Eminent Hipsters and you may find some mildly curious folks and Dan fans contemplating the correlation between the music of Steely Dan and possible drug use.
“Someone said to me, ‘Hey, have you heard this group Steely Dan.’ It kind of all happened when I was in Europe. So I missed all that stuff when they were getting famous. Marcelle actually wrote a book called The Dog Is Us, which is about this era, too. [Ed note: Steely Dan scholars may be interested to know she also wrote a novel about a woman in a rock band called Rock On.]”
Ok, ok. Here you go! Seth Kaufman interviews Carol Abbe, former classmate of Donald Fagen. And don’t feel shy to contact Seth if you know about a friend of a friend of a friend and their father or mother back in the day of Bard and acid.
There’s plenty of coverage to be found of the most recent Steely Dan concerts around the country. The country being the US of A. Since we’re based in Europe, we can only share the excitement and anticipation from a distance, while part of us is still hoping the band may some day reach the mainland again, and not just the UK 😉
Of course we have a review for you in line, which is becoming a tradition after all these years. It could have easily been one we had to forsake because our reviewer was not sure she could make it this time around. But she did!
Follow the link HERE to read her take on the evening, and it includes setlists of both concerts, Steely Dan shared the bill with the Doobie Brothers.
Eminent Hipsters isn’t only a book written by Donald Fagen, it’s also the name of a Dutch Steely Dan tribute band in Groningen, the most northern province in the Netherlands close to neighbor Germany alongside Groningen’s east border. The band will perform on Sunday April 15, 14:30 hrs Statenzaal at the Drents Museum, where you can visit an art exposition about American Realism called The American Dream. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, so we just went to their website and found a short and crisp biography:
The band Eminent Hipsters originated from a passionate love for the music of Steely Dan, the non-categorizeable pop group that was formed in 1972 by the eminent hipsters Donald Fagen (vocals, keys) and Walter Becker (guitar, vocals). Songs like “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number”, “Josie”, “Deacon Blues” and “Reelin’ In The Years” became major hits.
The music of Steely Dan is an amalgam of jazz, rhythm & blues and pop with a ‘westcoast’ mix. The often sarcastic and literary lyrics are charteristic, containing black humour. Well-known albums are “Aja” en “Gaucho”, moretheless perfect studio productions that took Becker en Fagen long. The best studio musicians were hired to record their parts for days. The parts then might be deleted by them.. The result is a discography that had stood time wonderfully and is excellent in sound and quality.
Pianist Tony Hoyting, big Steely Dan adept and long-time fan, decided to join forces with pianist and SD-lover Felix Degenaar. Together they formed in 2015 the Steely Dan tribute band “Eminent Hipsters”, as a tribute to this American phenomenon.
Steely Dan being on the frontier between jazz, pop and rock, one has to be very knowledgeable to create a worthy tribute. Everything should be perfect, there are no shortcuts!
So they knew to get the musical crème-de-la-crème of Groningen and surroundings in their 14-piece formation.
The band plays a fitting summary of the Steely Dan-repertoire as well as tracks from the solo albums of Donald Fagen.
Are you shy, or you don’t like the spotlight, or do you just not care about being a star? I just don’t care, man. I just like being around regular people — I don’t like weird artists and all that. I don’t get caught up in the hype — although I am excited about the Oscars! I never got excited about Grammys or other awards.
Why not? I mean, Britney Spears got a Grammy before Steely Dan — that’s weird to me, I don’t really know how to measure that. I respect the Academy but I feel like sometimes it’s not about music, it’s about other things.”
“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.”
Sal Bernardi. Anyone into the music of Rickie Lee Jones and Mink Deville will immediately recognize him for having penned or co-penned or encouraged some great songs and musical storytelling.
We will publish an interview with him shortly, and as an appetizer we’d like to present one of his most recent collaborations with French-German singer-songwriter Mathis Haug. The album “Wild Country” will be officially released March 10. Stay tuned!
“Le chemin que j’ai choisi écrit sa propre histoire, le lecteur et l’auteur sont quasiment les mêmes », chante Mathis Haug dans Wild Country. Ce vers résume à lui seul la démarche d’un artiste qui perçoit tout le relief de l’existence en comprenant que nos vies se lisent dans la double perspective de l’autre et de soi-même. En clair, que la création est un reflet du monde quand elle est métissage. Métissage, le maître mot d’un album qui est né, a grandi et s’est épanoui dans la rencontre.
L’histoire de la chanson Wild Country en est un bel exemple. Une semaine d’été, Mathis accueille chez lui Sal Bernardi, l’une des plus belles plumes du courant folk-rock américain, dont le nom reste indissociable de celui de Rickie Lee Jones. Dans la petite maison gardoise de Mathis, l’encre des mots coule des doigts de Sal au rythme des mélodies qui s’échappent de la guitare du maître de maison. À ceci près que Sal est originaire du New Jersey le plus urbain et industriel, et qu’il est allergique au chant des cigales. En quittant le Gard précipitamment, il laisse dans son sillage quelques pépites, à commencer par Wild Country duquel va germer l’idée de cet album fait de rencontres et d’interrogations, généreuses et lucides, sur l’avenir de la planète.”
Thanks to Donna, who enjoyed Ted Baker’s piano solo in a Black Cow video, we were reminded of Mr. Cornelius Bumpus’ energy and contribution to some mighty fine music when he was with the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan. We went looking and found this concert which we hope you’ll enjoy as much as we do.
#TBT Thanks to a friend who enjoyed Ted Baker's piano in a Black Cow video, we can't help but have to pay homage to mr….
We are huge fans of Rob Meany and Terramara. You can check our interview section for an M5 interview Mike Dale from Australia had with Rob. That was more than a decade ago. The music hasn’t stopped since, of course. Rob has recently released his first solo album, Ferris Wheels Unbound. “Rob’s debut album as a solo artist is a piano- and acoustic guitar-driven collection of intimate performances and organic arrangements, enhanced occasionally by string quartet, and jazz trio. Produced by Andy Thompson and Rob Meany.”