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Jann Wenner, Ahmet Ertegun, and The Commissioners
Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame
Donald Fagen and Walter Becker
DBA Steely Dan, founded c. 1971
It has come to our attention that we are in possession of the largest privately owned collection of historically significant 3M digital multitrack tape recorders in the United States. As you are no doubt aware, machines of this type were the very first digital multitrack recorders available to the recording artist, and consequentially were used to make the earliest digital pop recordings. These particular machines (until recently in use at our private studios in New York City and the state of Hawaii) were used in the making of many historic albums, including the celebrated "Bop Til You Drop" by Ry Cooder, and Donald's "The Nightfly". It has recently been determined that the historical value of these fine recording instruments is so great as to eclipse their value in an actual workaday studio setting. It is our great pleasure to offer these recorders to the Rock'N'Roll Hall of Fame Museum, so that they may be viewed and enjoyed by all and so that they may be preserved for posterity. We are asking for no compensation in return for this donation, except the usual tax deductions which are outlined in "schedule A", enclosed.
Naturally the well-known and loved-by -millions Steely Dan albums for which we are famous were not recorded on these machines - after all, our career began in 1971, almost a decade before the advent of this digital technology, 1971 being the year we released "Can't Buy A Thrill", which included the beloved hits "Do It Again" and "Reelin' In The Years".
Incidentally it has been mentioned to us that we would be eligible for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next year.
Back to the 3M machines - we have at least three multitracks and a 4 track - it would be hard to put a dollar value on these rare old beauties for the purposes of determining the appropriate tax deduction. No doubt there are experts at the Museum who could help us to ascertain just how valuable these machines truly are at this time. Written confirmation of our suspicion that the current value of these machines is in excess of $800,000 (they would be worth a lot more than that if they worked or even could be powered up) would be of great value to us. In fact, we would be willing to donate as much as $1500.00 to the Museum in exchange for such a document.
Incidentally, the "big green monsters" would make a splendid centerpiece for an exhibit celebrating the "Digital Age" or the "Age of Dan" or anything like that.
Furthermore, we are aware of the furor over this year's televised inductions into the Hall. In order to avoid any confusion in the event of our timely induction next year, we would like to clarify the following points:
1. It is our position that inductees who perform at a televised event must be adequately recompensed for their services. Anything short of that is un-American and contrary to the spirit of rock'n'roll. To wit, we would extend the traditional Hand-Across-The-Flyovers to an A.F.of M. brother who has taken a similar stand in this matter, Mr. Neil Young, and would also mention in passing that our fee for such an event would be in the middle six figure range, if that's okay.
2. We were wondering: is it necessarily the case that our entire original band would be inducted into the Hall, or would it be possible for just the two of us to receive this singular honor? After all, those other guys have been outee for a long time. In any case, it would not be possible to assemble the entire original ensemble - some members are definitively and permanently not available. If an entire band is needed, what about our current band? We are just getting ready to go in the studio with these guys and they play just great and look great too. As of about a month ago they were working with the fine Italian "blue-eyed"soul singer Pino Danielli. You're going to love them, we're absolutely sure.
3. If the original bandmembers are absolutely necessary, perhaps some of them could receive their statues or belts or whatever it is they get, off-camera, backstage, at some other place and/or time? What do you think about something like that?
4. You may be aware that, like Joni Mitchell, we have mounted an exhaustive search for any long lost female love-children of ours who may be out there somewhere, working away in anonymity at some modelling agency or as prospective starlets or whatever. If either one of us strikes paydirt in this department, you can bet that we will not be available for the induction ceremony, any more than Joni was. In this case, points 1-3 mentioned above would be non-operative.
5. We are taking the liberty of enclosing a check from our corporate account in the amount of $10,000.00 made out to Jann Wenner in this mailing so as to get the ball rolling sooner rather than later. We hope that will be okay. And by the way, Jann, that crate of homemade honey mustard is already on its way to you via FedEx, overnight priority 1, directly from our tables to your'n, so to speak. Enjoy!
Thank you, Commissioners and fellow music lovers!
Donald Fagen & Walter Becker
Founding members, Steely Dan
the works |