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A witty, candid, sharply written memoir by the cofounder of Steely Dan
In his entertaining debut as an author, Donald Fagen—musician, songwriter, and cofounder of Steely Dan—reveals the cultural figures and currents that shaped his artistic sensibility, as well as offering a look at his college days and a hilarious account of life on the road. Fagen presents the “eminent hipsters” who spoke to him as he was growing up in a bland New Jersey suburb in the early 1960s; his colorful, mind-expanding years at Bard College, where he first met his musical partner Walter Becker; and the agonies and ecstasies of a recent cross-country tour with Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs. Acclaimed for his literate lyrics and complex arrangements as a musician, Fagen here proves himself a sophisticated writer with his own distinctive voice.
pleasure-seekers. A high-style chill pad where beautiful people let loose . . . Come experience the secret behind the red velvet rope.” The truth of this statement is dependent on how you define “pleasure,” “high style,” “beautiful” and so on. For instance, you’d have to be able to extract “pleasure” from a “swim” in a tiny, paramecium-shaped pool surrounded by fake rock formations and filled with a tepid solution of semen and swamp water. At least, that’s what it looked like. Nevertheless,
it’s the altitude change. Let’s see, where’s that Canadian codeine? Also some Claritin, I think. This room in the Hyatt is dang ugly, cowboy. Isn’t there some design rule that says the floral pattern on the wallpaper can’t be duplicated on the carpet? I feel like I’m living inside one of my aunt Lotty’s doilies. Eight forty a.m. central time now. I’m putting on the Stravinsky and going back to sleep. JULY 14 Bastille Day. Apparently, our bus, traveling to Tulsa while we flew,
been bothering me a bit, probably because of some crystal gravel, tiny kidney stones that I sometimes get. Eventually, they flow through into the bladder and then I’m fine, but it’s been hurting for a while now and I can’t help obsessing about it every second. I started getting paranoid, like I probably have renal carcinoma. After all, I’m sixty-four, I’m smoking again, I take too many painkillers and my blood pressure’s high. I’ve had microscopic amounts of blood in my urine for thirty years.
streets, in the churches, in the improvisations of the piano professors of Storyville, and the laughter of three teenage girls for whom, in the words of W. S. Gilbert’s three little maids from school, “life is a joke that’s just begun.” Henry Mancini’s Anomie Deluxe In the late fifties and early sixties, Henry Mancini’s music was omnipresent: on TV, in films and featured in select elevators all over the world. For many, his music, along with that of the popular Dave Brubeck Quartet,
college that fall, I noticed that guys who played even worse than I did were all in bands and seemed to be having major fun. By the time I hooked up with my partner, Walter Becker, a couple of years later, I’d pretty much given up on a literary career. In the mid-eighties, when I was in the midst of a severe episode of creative torpor, Susan Lyne, who was starting up Premiere magazine, asked if I’d be interested in writing a film music column. Although I didn’t know that much about the