From: Becker To: Amanda Parks Re: This little problem with your dad
Yo Amanda! Happy Birthday! Eighteen years old! a milestone in any life. And it would be my great personal pleasure to welcome you into the circle of adult life and adult enterprises, if it weren't for the fact that I am prematurely deep (read: up to my kishkas) in a second childhood-cum-mid life crisis kind of deal that's got me and all my hapless codependents reeling...but you get the idea, I think: although it is hardly my place to say so, there can be no question that, in some unmistakable sense, you have arrived. Congrats, girlfriend, couldn't happen to a nicer and more deserving person than you.
Say, listen - now that you are in full effect, maybe you can help me out with a little problem. As one of the more active figures in the Steely Networld, you may have perhaps already noticed that, as of a week or two ago, there has been posted on the front page of the Dan website the promise, or at least the suggestion, that there would be some actual non-goof Dan related content posted in the near future. It is a well known fact that the site could benefit mightily from the inclusion of some material that might furnish information or insights of a historical nature relating to the Steely Dan recordings. To that end, I have solicited material from any number of people who might be in a position to provide something along those lines, people who had a part in making those records with us over the years, and who seem literate and interesting enough themselves to write a worthwhile article or two for the page. Unfortunately, with the notable exception of Denny Dias, NOT ONE of those solicited for contributions has come across with anything! Can you believe it? These people seem to think that their jobs and their lives are more important than writing articles for the web page. This I cannot understand.
The point, dear girl, the point is this: your dad Dean was the very first person I approached, for the simple reasons that a) he is a close personal friend, b) he has worked on many Steely dates over the years, and c) I know him to be capable of turning in an informative, penetrating, and at the same time very amusing piece, if he were to take on the task. Look, all writers go through droughts, periods when they have trouble getting started on a project or assignment, it's as common as can be, and nothing to be ashamed of. I've told Dean as much myself, more than once. I even went so far as to give him a working title ("I Remember Steely Don & Walt") and to suggest several approaches. But I first asked him for this almost a year ago, and as far as I can tell we are no closer to getting anything out of him now than we were then. I can't think of anything else I can do myself to get that piece out of him, except to ask for your help.
I have a couple of ideas as to how you could gently encourage Dean to settle down and start writing. I mean, Dean is a very busy guy. I don't know of a studio player who is more in demand, or who has played on more dates over the last twenty years, than your dad. Which is good; I know he loves to work, loves to play his guitar(s), he is a good provider, and good musicianship of Dean's caliber is always a joy to listen to. But, hey, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Bucky Fuller put it thus: "specialization is for insects." So maybe there are some simple things you can do that would help Dean branch out a bit, help create a little space in which he can discover other outlets, other talents, and get to work on that Steely Don & Walt thang. For instance, you could:a) call in to his phone machine and dump a few work calls once in a while. I know you know the code. That would I think free up some days for Dean to expand his horizons.As you of course know, Dean and I have been close personal friends for a long time, otherwise I would never think of second guessing him on how he spends his time, no matter what I wanted for the website. I realize that he needs to support himself and his family via his actual career, and believe me I have all the respect in the world for that sort of priority, but there are other important reasons for doing things in this world besides money. Of course Dean is his own man, he calls the shots, but he needs to be thinking about the example he's setting for you and your sister. I just want what's best for everybody involved, and I reckon you do too. So do what you can, Amanda, your family needs your help, so do Donald and I, let me know if you're making progress or if I can do anything to put the squeeze on from this end.
c) I know how stoked Dean is with the hard disk audio setup on his computer these days, he's got all sorts of tracks on there he's been working on in most of his spare time. It can't be good for him to spend all those hours sitting in front of that box, maybe a computer-savvy gal like you could go in there and move a few things around, delete a system file here and there, one of those Pro tools extensions, I don't know - repatch something here, rename something there, Lord knows it's no fun troubleshooting one of those setups, and Dean might start to look elsewhere for creative outlets. It could be the best thing for him and for us in the long run. don't you think?
d) You could send him some e-mail, asking him to write to you and tell you some funny stories from Steely dates he's been on, so's you can retell them on the Guestbook. After we get a couple good ones, we sew them together and we've got our article.
e) Is there any way you could get Acacia working on him too, maybe even your mom? That would be so cool.
your pal W