A love/disdain for Steely Dan?

vegassuper

Senior Member
Other than Rikki and his (or probably her??) need to retain phone numbers, I know nothing about this band. I've paid more attention to Jay's meatloaf than I ever have to SD.

Since joining DW, I see them mentioned time and time again. This thread is the prompting I need to check 'em out. Any recco's for a good starting point?
I've been a very big fan for a long time. I would suggest checking out Katy Lied, The Royal Scam and Aja.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Thanks men......I'm off to the record store now (record store??....how old fashioned!!). First cab off the rank, Aja....will check out the other two while I'm there too.

Cheers.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Since joining DW, I see them mentioned time and time again. This thread is the prompting I need to check 'em out. Any recco's for a good starting point?
You could YouTube my fave Dan songs and decide whether we're living on the same planet ...

Show Biz Kids
Botthistatva
Do It Again
King of the World
Your Gold Teeth
Dr Wu
Night By Night
Royal Scam
Don't Take Me Alive
Kid Charlemaine
Josie
Aja
 

gusty

Platinum Member
A few days ago I picked up 'Aja' on vinyl for 50 cents at a Salvation Army store! Pretty awesome buy...I already had the album and have listened to it a fair bit. Black Cow is the favourite, such a cool groove. I think the SD lyrics arn't really that good, and I understand the over-perfect thing, but awesome songwriters with awesome players, just good music.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I understand DrumEatDrum's comment....actually I don't....apparently. I guess from 1966 to 1970 The Beatles were over produced since they never played live again?
Not sure what the Beatles has to do with it. Apples and Oranges.
But while the Beatles were dysfunctional to a degree in their last few years they were still a band. And most of the studio work was experimentation in the "what happens if we do this" as opposed to "lets do it until it's perfect".


42 musicians on one album.......so what? Did you pay for them? 11 engineers. Big deal. Who cares?
No, I didn't pay for them. But that doesn't mean I have to pay for their albums either.

The Dan are really a "duo" and not a "band" anyway. Like Hall & Oates.
Interesting comparison. One difference was Hall & Oats didn't have the sheer number of different studio musicians in their hey day.

Pick up any of there more popular 80's albums, and it's the same guys on most every song on any album. Their two most popular albums, Private Eyes and H2O had mostly all the same guys on it.

Granted, this wasn't the case with their 70's or 90's material, but can anyone remember their 70's or 90's material?

Still, it's an interesting comparison. Although Hall is better singer than Fagan.; he is more on par with former Dan back up singer Micheal McDonald.

]

Thanks for all the responses so far. I guess I'll keep my Steely Dan songs in my live sets!
However, not to start a fight with DED, I must point out that we were just discussing the fact that there may be ghost drummers on some of our other favorite band recordings too. If we were talking about band vibe and spontaneity, what of those situations? I've heard stories where Jim Keltner (the man who played on Josie) ghost drummed for Aerosmith. With stories like that flying around, how do we even know they didn't use ghost guitarists and bassists either?
Well, Bo, I've never claimed to like Aerosmith either!
And yes, we were discussing ghost drumming, but I never said I listened to all the bands discussed.

I met a second engineer who was working at Ocean Way Studios long ago when they were doing big business, and he said they had a whole room full of 2" tape of Metallica tracking songs and he said their album is a complete edit. Those guys couldn't even get through one track. It was all razor blade edits!
Metallica has never denied this. Go back and find Lars Ulrich's earliest interviews in Modern Drummer and he explains this process.

But tape edits are super common, from the Beatles to Eric Clapton to just about anyone.

So, I think the Dan is just being honest. If they're using a bunch of different musicians and producers, at least they're telling you about it. .
Fair enough, and I'm being honest, I've never liked them.

But you know, if you put a thread up about any band, you're going to get people who love them and hate them.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Not sure what the Beatles has to do with it. Apples and Oranges.
But while the Beatles were dysfunctional to a degree in their last few years they were still a band. And most of the studio work was experimentation in the "what happens if we do this" as opposed to "lets do it until it's perfect".



No, I didn't pay for them. But that doesn't mean I have to pay for their albums either.


Interesting comparison. One difference was Hall & Oats didn't have the sheer number of different studio musicians in their hey day.

Pick up any of there more popular 80's albums, and it's the same guys on most every song on any album. Their two most popular albums, Private Eyes and H2O had mostly all the same guys on it.

Granted, this wasn't the case with their 70's or 90's material, but can anyone remember their 70's or 90's material?

Still, it's an interesting comparison. Although Hall is better singer than Fagan.; he is more on par with former Dan back up singer Micheal McDonald.

]


Well, Bo, I've never claimed to like Aerosmith either!
And yes, we were discussing ghost drumming, but I never said I listened to all the bands discussed.


Metallica has never denied this. Go back and find Lars Ulrich's earliest interviews in Modern Drummer and he explains this process.

But tape edits are super common, from the Beatles to Eric Clapton to just about anyone.


Fair enough, and I'm being honest, I've never liked them.

But you know, if you put a thread up about any band, you're going to get people who love them and hate them.
I'm cool. It's nice to put out feelers on how others think and their reasonings for it. I wasn't questioning your sanity, you're entitled to like what you like. I just thought I'd pose the question; what if alot of bands with an acceptable band vibe used ghost musicians? I guess that's the nice thing about the Musicians' Union: everybody is interchangeable!

Those old skits on ABC's Fridays comes to mind here when they debuted the "Temp Beatle".
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I'm cool. It's nice to put out feelers on how others think and their reasonings for it. I wasn't questioning your sanity, you're entitled to like what you like. I just thought I'd pose the question; what if alot of bands with an acceptable band vibe used ghost musicians? I guess that's the nice thing about the Musicians' Union: everybody is interchangeable!

Those old skits on ABC's Fridays comes to mind here when they debuted the "Temp Beatle".
Well, after the "ghost drummer" discussion, I looked at my CD collection, and I can't say I own anything that I know had a ghost drummer.

No Kiss in my collection. I don't own the one Pink Floyd album Nick Mason didn't play on. I don't own any Beach Boys (although I wouldn't mind). My wife might have the Hole album Deen Castronovo played on, but I didn't buy it. LOL.
 

Paul Quin

Pioneer Member
Well, I confess I love the Dan! But, like Don and Walter or or loathe them you have to respect them. Don and Walter take complex jazz melodies and chord structures and make them sound like pop songs. That is why they are so much more than a musos band - although I hardly know a great player who doesnot love SD. There is a reason why the musicians that play with them consider an invitation to be the highest musical compliment. I am truly not a lyrics guy and I tend to listen to rhythm, harmony, melody and orchestration before I get into the lyrics but I totally disagree with those posters who don't think they are good lyricists. Steely Dan;s lyrics and complex, sardonic and sophisticated. So, I am a fan boy!

I also disagree with those who have called them soul-less and over produced. The production is clearly close to perfect (if you don't beleive me take a SD CD with you next time you think about buying a sound system) but it is far from sterile. Donald and Walter understand the concept of space and when mixed with the talents of Roger Nicholls, the Dan sound like the Dan and no-one else.

So, there is my two cents!

Paul
 

unfunkyfooted

Silver Member
i like The Dan. but i´ve been blown back by Dan Heads. they get on my nerves. i also wish all their songs weren´t about slumming.

Show Biz Kids is my favorite, although i prefer the single version. is the 45 version available on cd - my 45 skips.

i used to like Bjork until i ran into a Bjork-Head.

i think the reviewer got it right who said...you can never tell what the characters in Steely Dan songs are up to, but you can be sure it´s something they shouldn´t be doing.

: )

disjointed ?

yes.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
i think the reviewer got it right who said...you can never tell what the characters in Steely Dan songs are up to, but you can be sure it´s something they shouldn´t be doing.
lol - good one. It's always people under duress, often heading towards breaking point.

Like Paul, I'm not normally big on lyrics - usually because they are often hard to make out and then I'll find out they aren't worth the effort, but Donald F has great diction and the lyrics are usually meaty, even though some lines are US-centric and I don't pick up the nuance, eg.

"Like a sunday in TJs
It's cheap but it's not free"

?? From context, I figure that TJs somewhere tacky but ...
 

aydee

Platinum Member
"Like a sunday in TJs
It's cheap but it's not free"

?? From context, I figure that TJs somewhere tacky but ...
I love their lyrics. TJ is Tijuana, a city across the Mexican border near San Diego. THe inference is that it is an 'el cheapo' weekend getaway for many.

...
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I love their lyrics. TJ is Tijuana, a city across the Mexican border near San Diego. THe inference is that it is an 'el cheapo' weekend getaway for many.
Thanks Abe. Now I geddit. Like all great lyricists, they can say a lot with a little with analogies and synedoches, eg.

Every patron saint
Hung on the wall, shared the room
With twenty sinners

... and do it poetically. I'd love to be able to write lyrics with that kind of economy and worldiless *sigh*
 

aydee

Platinum Member
... and do it poetically. I'd love to be able to write lyrics with that kind of economy and worldiless *sigh*
Yea, I love their whole take on it. Walter and Don are very up front about their intent. They loved jazz, recognized the fact that people dont much care for it, so came up with the ingenious idea of trying to disguise it as pop.

They derive much joy and contentment from this furtive act of devious deception.

Hey, they won a Grammy, didn't they?
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Aren't y'all glad I started this thread?
I promise to no longer dislike them if you can make it so that no classic rock radio show will ever play "Rikki Don't Lose That Number" ever again.

And cut back on the number of times they play "Reelin' In the Years" in any given week.

In return, radio can keep "Hey Nineteen" and "Do It Again."

:p
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
Huge fan. Great arrangements, scary good lyrics, gobs of great performances by so many hot players.
Agents of the law, luckless pedestrians...
Genius.
I have Can't Buy a Thrill in the car right now. I've wondered in the past about the viability of a SD cover band.

Love your mother
Love your brother
Love 'em til they
Run for cover
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Agents of the law, luckless pedestrians...
Genius.
Yes! The following line ain't half bad either ... With rage in your eyes and your megaphones ...

Oh, and forgot another of my fave Dan numbers - Daddy Don't Live in That New York City No More. Lyrics are pretty funny

Daddy don't smoke no fine cigar
But we know you're smoking wherever you are


DED, so there's no need to listen to their AM radio tunes that have been flogged to death ...

Agree Abe, they used many of of the tasty parts of jazz and skipped the self indulgence. Hmm, I just realised that I'm a hopeless Dan tragic so yes, Bo, I'm glad you started the thread :)
 

unfunkyfooted

Silver Member
i liked them better when they were a band...or pretending to be a band. i liked the other singer better and Skunk Baxter is no Elliot Randell....though he will double harmony Elliot´s guitar solo weeks later and many will think he invented the guitar solo on ¨Reelin' In The Years¨.

where is Elloit Randall anyways ?

Dirty Work
Brooklyn
Black Friday
Babylon Sisters
Home At Last
The Fez
My Old School
FM
Show Biz Kids
Katy Lied

most of em actually.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Good one Unfunky - The Fez! Of course! Great track. Lyrically a tad barren, tho :)

BTW, Katy Lied is actually Dr Wu.

Hugs

A Certifiable Dan Tragic (CDT)
 
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