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Walter Becker and Donald Fagen
, July 1996
SD - How can we distinguish reality from illusion?
WB - Ha, that's a good one. Well... one time Gary Katz had to fire this famous percussionist, right, and Donald and myself had to run out exactly at that precise moment to get ourselves a couple of open-face roast beef sandwiches at this place around the corner. When we finished the sandwiches, and after having called the studio to see that the coast was clear, we walked back over to Studio A where we were working, and as we entered the control room through the soundproof door which, incidentally, was completely covered in Dayglo magic marker graffiti left over from our first album...what was the question?
SD - What is virtue? What values should guide us in our actions?
DF - Like on
, there was this screwup with the DBX noise reduction system and, for a few minutes there, we thought the record was going to end up sounding like a field recording by Alan Lomax or something. So we called up this famous electronics dude who had designed the widget in the first place and he suggested we fly to the factory in, of all places, Boston, where his experts would help us root out our problem and correct it on the spot, thus completely restoring our precious multitrack tapes to the way they sounded before. That was a whopper. Boston!
SD - What can we learn from human history?
WB - Wasn't that covered in the "What is virtue? What values should guide us in our actions?" section?
SD - What is the ideal form of government
DF - Let's take the Learjet thing as an example. Say Walter and I are on our chartered jet on the way to a gig or even an important overdub, or anywhere else - let's say Baxter talks the pilot into one of those high speed, low altitude barrel roll things somewhere over the Smoky Mountains, and, to make a long story short, my partner and I are kaput. Who runs the band after we're dead? See what I mean?
SD - Is reason helpless against the hidden dictates of an omnipotent unconscious?
WB - Oh sure, I'd say so, wouldn't you? For instance, during the years 1977 - 1981, during which time I was more than a little toasty and in fact was damn near unconscious at any given time of the day or night or week or anything - well, all I can tell you is that ...well...it was a hell of a sweet ride for a while there but...
SD - Does Evil exist?
DF - Our first manager, a tall thin chap who wore his pants without any belt on some days, obtained from us a duly executed document which stated, among other things, that debts accrued by us to him, in connection with his role as our publisher, might be recouped from income derived from artist's royalties, personal appearances, etc. This practice is known as cross-collateralization.
SD - Is Pierre in the cafe?
WB - Sartre, that crusty old bolshevik! Well, here's something that used to happen to me all the time: I'm walking down Santa Monica Boulevard in the wintertime, it's snowing like a sonofagun - this is a dream sequence, by the way - and when I get to the entrance to Dolores' I am overcome by the certainty and the pleasurable anticipation of the fact that Sofia, my favorite waitress by far, is working the back room tonight, where I like to sit and sip my coffee - whereas in fact she is not. End of dream.
SD - Which is better, a knight or a bishop?
WB - !
SD - Is Truth fixed and eternal or changing and relative?
DF - Woof. O.K. here's an example. Since my Uncle Dave moved to Ocala, I don't really see him all that much anymore, but think about him all the time. As a matter of fact, I was going to call and ask if he would mind if we posted on our web site (http://steelydan.com/) an article he sent me describing how he finally was awarded his Purple Heart from WW II. The idea being to make it up to him for the time we wouldn't let him call his restaurant in Ohio "Steely D's". I'm pretty sure he lost his shirt on that one.
SD - The Owl of Minerva spreads its wings and takes flight only when the shades of night are falling - True or False?
WB - gee another tough one. Speaking of which:
SD - Did you eat?
DF - not yet.
SD - When does Sofia's shift start at Vico?
WB - it's weird because her schedule seems completely chaotic sometimes, whereas other times it's like clockwork - let's see, it's almost 3:15, maybe we should try Jackson Hole. For a change.
SD - Sure, why not?
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