Steely Dan Crams For Tour

It’s not always easy to remember every song you’ve ever recorded. Just ask Steely Dan.

Singer / keyboardist Donald Fagen and guitarist Walter Becker have a few special moments in store for fans on the Dan’s late-summer tour. On select dates they’ll play one of three of their albums from start-to-finish while on other shows they’ll play requests fans post on the Steely Dan Web site.

Sure, other bands and artists do the album-in-its-entirety thing, and many do take requests. But for legendary perfectionists Fagen and Becker it means having to relearn some songs from back in the day.

Photo: AP Photo / Keystone
Montreux Jazz Festival, Montreux, Switzerland

“We had to learn a lot, a whole bunch of stuff we haven’t been doing, just trying to guess what people might vote for,” Fagen told the Associated Press.

Unlike, say, Crowded House, which accepts requests delivered by audience members via paper airplanes, or Springsteen, who fills up the night by taking requests fans have painted on signs handed up to The Boss during the show, Fagen and Becker had to limit their fans to 50 Steely Dan classics.

As for the complete album renditions, Fagen and Becker are performing one of three – Aja, Gaucho or The Royal Scam.

“We had stopped performing in the ‘70s when we recorded these three albums, so we never really went out to perform the tunes from these three albums,” Becker said.

“They’re only able to request Steely Dan songs from a menu of choices that has maybe 50 tunes on it,” Becker said. “Not knowing in advance what would be the most popular, what we’d end up playing, we couldn’t prepare all of the songs from all of the albums.”

And if you’re wondering how big an impact Steely Dan had on the world during the ‘70s and early 80s, Fagen summed it up very nicely.

“I’ve met many parents of Ajas and Josies over the years,” Fagen said. “It’s very flattering.”

Click here for the complete Associated Press article.

Click here for the Steely Dan Web site.