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May 17, 2007 6:30 PM   Subscribe

Donald Fagen and the making of Kamakiriad (part 2). With cameos from Walter Becker and Rick Moranis. The album featured the song "Snowbound" which became this very cool video.
posted by vronsky (51 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
More Steely Dan docs -

dissection of deacon blues
josie
aja
black cow
posted by vronsky at 6:35 PM on May 17, 2007


See also:

Peg
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:40 PM on May 17, 2007


6 minutes and 52 seconds of talk about Aja and not one mention of Steve Gadd?

I must be missing something here.
posted by Wolof at 6:53 PM on May 17, 2007


see also flapjax;) The other sections of that dvd weren't available a year ago.
posted by vronsky at 6:54 PM on May 17, 2007


see also flapjax;)

Heh! I might've known!

not one mention of Steve Gadd?

I tell ya, drummers don't get no respect!
*pulls at collar, Dangerfield style*
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:01 PM on May 17, 2007


And vronsky, I even commented in that thread! I'm getting old. My memory's going. I can feel it. I can feel it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:10 PM on May 17, 2007


Thank you, vronsky.
posted by Deacon Blues at 7:23 PM on May 17, 2007


Oh boy, oh boy! Thanks for this post! I've been wanting to see that video since the album came out, and never had before.
posted by ibmcginty at 7:26 PM on May 17, 2007


So much talent, oh so very much talent, yet too little soul. With a smidgeon of soul this guy would have been a superstar. His sound takes cool and then chills it down even more. It's kind of interesting, but what if say James Brown produced one of his albums? That wouild be the ticket.
posted by caddis at 7:29 PM on May 17, 2007


Tomorrow's Girls
posted by vronsky at 7:37 PM on May 17, 2007


too little soul.

Yeah, but don't you think a big part of Fagen's (and Steely Dan's) appeal is precisely that kind of icy and ironic detachment (the antithesis of 'soul') served up with the exterior trappings of 'soulfulness' worn as a kind of vestment? They weren't going for soul, exactly, but a certain studio-musician, ultra-perfectionist analog of soul. Anyway, that's kind of how I think of them.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:47 PM on May 17, 2007 [5 favorites]


See also
posted by basicchannel at 7:54 PM on May 17, 2007


Yes, lots of techinical skill, but something missing. Think Whitney Housten. Yet, they are not her, they are much better, they did cultivate that spare sound and that is what made them, especially Walter, so interesting. I still think that with a little soul infusion that the music would have leapt from pretty good and pretty interesting into an all time great sound.
posted by caddis at 8:00 PM on May 17, 2007


I had never seen these segments from what I presume is a video about the Aja album, and I only made it through two tonight before having to listen to the album. Someday I will watch the Kamakiriad vids, I promise.

I was going to type something about how much I love their music, or why, or how I wouldn't change a note or want anything about their whole Can't Buy a Thrill->Gaucho catalog to change, but I think most of you reading this thread are members of the choir...or perhaps more like deacons.
posted by pinespree at 8:13 PM on May 17, 2007


"especially Walter, so interesting."

Yeah, "Eleven Tracks Of Whack" is brilliant Caddis, especially the song Book of Liars or Junkie Girl.

Weird Al interviews Robert Plant
posted by vronsky at 8:17 PM on May 17, 2007


Icy cool soul, his freezer goes to -11. So tight it sometimes feels unnatural. His solo work tends to be light & poppy on the surface, but dark & sometimes creepy underneath. If Fagan's recent work were a continent, it would be Antarctica. Nightfly sounds like Tom Waits compared to Kamakiriad, sheesh!
posted by Area Control at 8:25 PM on May 17, 2007


Ok mistakes were made, I typed Walter while thinking Donald. I blame the blame czar. Sorry for the confusion, kick Gen. Lute please.
posted by caddis at 8:40 PM on May 17, 2007


Aja is one of those albums I grew up on that I come back to year after year and find something new.
posted by eyeballkid at 9:08 PM on May 17, 2007 [1 favorite]




Moranis is the one guy on earth even nerdier that they

Some of Steely's early stuff is ACE .. that's because

Jeff Skunk Baxter was the best thing that ever happened to them.
posted by celerystick at 9:30 PM on May 17, 2007


I loved Kamakiriad and That Tomorrow's Girls song is very special to me. Thanks vroonsky for linking that video. Now I've got the song on my mp3 player. Also, I'm glad Steely Dan is okay with YouTube.
posted by fuse theorem at 10:18 PM on May 17, 2007


I'm sure I could overthink it, but all I know is that Steely Dan music just makes me relax and go "Ahhhhhhhhhh". Snowbound needs some Michael McDonald backup vocals.
posted by spock at 10:34 PM on May 17, 2007


It's kind of interesting, but what if say James Brown produced one of his albums?

It'd be like giving Bladerunner a super-mega-happy ending after already leaving the Mercer subplot on the cutting room floor.

And then adding unicorns.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:40 PM on May 17, 2007 [4 favorites]


When I was in high school and everyone else was wearing flannel, I was clipping Kamakiriad reviews because I was a huge dork.

I still hold "Springtime" partially responsible for an ill-considered relationship with a girl named Connie.
posted by logicpunk at 10:47 PM on May 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


μ
posted by pracowity at 11:49 PM on May 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks, vronsky.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:22 AM on May 18, 2007


Rick Moranis?!
posted by zardoz at 3:21 AM on May 18, 2007



I saw this a little while ago, while looking into the new Wes Anderson movie.

And just for kicks, Fagan still lives near his 'old school.'
posted by From Bklyn at 5:22 AM on May 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I agree with vronsky, and think that Walter is underappreciated even by Dan fans. 11 Tracks of Whack has more of the Dan attitude than Kamakiriad or the Nightfly, much as I like both those albums. It took me a while to get into Kamakiriad (and Two Against Nature) because it sounds so slick at first listen, but it grew on me over time.

I initially listened to Snowbound a ton one summer; then went through another big Kamakiriad kick that winter, too. So now I associate that song with shoveling snow and thinking about the beach.

Here's the terrific, funny video for New Frontier.
posted by ibmcginty at 6:42 AM on May 18, 2007


In my experience Steely Dan's is the music that most neatly divides the sexes: boys like it and girls don't.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 6:56 AM on May 18, 2007



It'd be like giving Bladerunner a super-mega-happy ending after already leaving the Mercer subplot on the cutting room floor.

And then adding unicorns.


I agree. But then who's going to argue with Kid Charlemagne himself?
posted by Turtles all the way down at 6:59 AM on May 18, 2007


In my experience Steely Dan's is the music that most neatly divides the sexes: boys like it and girls don't.

I'd say that's very largely true, and that goes back to caddis' point about there not being enough soul in their music: the gals need more soul.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:03 AM on May 18, 2007


Turtles...I love it, and um, let me check, yep! I'm a girl.
posted by Biblio at 7:05 AM on May 18, 2007


The first time I heard the electric sitar solo on Do It Again I was hooked. Probably my favorite band/musicians of all time.

Thanks for an awesome post, and ensuring anything I had planned for today just got bumped to the back of the line.
posted by timsteil at 7:11 AM on May 18, 2007


Biblio--I threw that out there to test my hypothesis. I will now revise it: there are nine million boys and one girl who like Steely Dan. ;-P
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:12 AM on May 18, 2007


I got hugely into Steely Dan fifteen years ago via the Minutemen's great cover of "Dr Wu."

Donald's solo records are all worthwhile. Last year's Morph the Cat is well worth your time while you wind the merry hours down waiting for a follow up to the Dan's Everything Must Go.
posted by porn in the woods at 7:27 AM on May 18, 2007


A little research--of the people who have commented in this thread the sexes break down as follows:

Males: 6
Females: 1
Unknown: 13
Suctorial: 1

If people would please identify their gender in their profiles it will make it so much easier for me to justify my broadly generalized pronouncements in future. (Thanks in advance.)
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:29 AM on May 18, 2007


And biblio--can you check again please?
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:36 AM on May 18, 2007


Male.

I don't know, I OBSESSED over Steely Dan for a good 5 or 6 years, mostly coinciding with the time I spent convinced that Jazz was the One True Music. These days, however, the Dan just leave me a little cold. I can still appreciate it - totally dig Morph the Cat - but I just don't think that music will ever knock my socks off again. Except, of course, in execution - the players are all brilliant, and even the writing is brilliant. That's what makes it all the more confounding to me - ALL the elements are there, and yet it still just leaves me cold.

Sorry, Donald and Walt. I really want to like it more than I do.



EXCEPT for Walter's guitar playing, which doesn't sound all that different to me than Jerry Garcia's. And that's after listening to both of them ALOT. More than I should have, in fact.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 7:39 AM on May 18, 2007


to be more precise - I just don't think that that music will ever knock my socks...
posted by fingers_of_fire at 7:41 AM on May 18, 2007


Well I know what I'll be doing when the office slows down today. Thanks for the post vronsky! (Even though I guess I'll have to see Rick Moranis at some point.)
posted by Kloryne at 9:38 AM on May 18, 2007


Maybe girls are more into the band's namesake.
posted by pracowity at 1:09 PM on May 18, 2007


The girls don't seem to care.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:18 PM on May 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


They've got their Steely Dan t-shirts.
posted by porn in the woods at 1:35 PM on May 18, 2007


I really enjoyed those. Thanks. Aja was probably my favourite record. That and James Brown's Gravity. Aja has some of the best grooves ever. Nice to hear from Chuck Rainey. Thanks again.

Did I hear someone saying that Kid Charlemagne was supposed to be James?
posted by Trochanter at 2:45 PM on May 18, 2007


I think Kid Charlemagne was supposed to be Owsley - they mention it in an interview somewhere.

Listening to Steely Dan makes me happy. That's about the size of it. I can get the whole Steely Dan back catalogue including solo albums on my iPod shuffle, which is something I'm glad for. It never gets old for me.

I suspect that what we think about SD perfectionism is different from what happened. As I remember the Aja documentary the extensive rehearsals took a morning, then they had lunch, then they laid down the basic tracks. It was all about getting the groove. They got the groove.
posted by Grangousier at 3:15 PM on May 18, 2007


Hey, f_o_f, nice to see you round these parts again!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:14 PM on May 18, 2007


Female who loves Steely Dan here. Coool and smoooth.
posted by puddinghead at 8:02 PM on May 18, 2007


For my money, the best all-around Steely Dan record is Pretzel Logic - great songs (as always), but what really distinguishes it from the others is that each song really has it's own character - for that reason, to me, it's much more of a studio album than Aja is. I mean, look at those tunes - Rikki, Night by Night, Any Major Dude, Barrytown - each of those tunes has it's own unique character and SOUND - some are acoustic guitar driven, some are all about the horns, some have more Latin-influenced feels, some are more folky (and that's just the first four tunes on the record). Aja is brilliant and great, but, in general, I think it's a more homogenous record, coming out of a more narrow (albeit funky) tradition. And I think that that's precisely the trajectory they followed thereafter, right up until Everything Must Go and, indeed, Morph the Cat. I attribute it to the desire to play live again - you can't do a lot of those Pretzel Logic tunes live without some serious re-arranging going on.

No doubt it is all absolutely essential, incredibly well-made music. Still leaves me a little cold these days, though.

Now if we're on the topic of studio-only bands, well - XTC are simply dreamy...


Konichiwa, f@m!
posted by fingers_of_fire at 9:51 PM on May 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Another huge Dan fan here. I met their studio engineer, Roger "The Immortal" Nichols and I was so nervous, my legs were shaking. That's how big of a nerd I am.
posted by toastchee at 9:56 AM on May 19, 2007


Konichiwa, f@m
posted by vronsky at 8:11 PM on May 19, 2007




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