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August 8, 2007 10:57 PM   Subscribe

Former Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers guitarist is now an influential defense consultant. Jeff "Skunk" Baxter is considered one of the country's top experts on counter-terrorism. Baxter currently sits on NASA's Exploration Systems Advisory Committee, where his occupation is quoted as "Missile Defense Analyst". Arms Control Wonk and Outside the Beltway have some interesting analysis.
posted by KokuRyu (35 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Pentagon officials say they appreciate Mr. Baxter's creativity. "He's imparted some new ways of thinking about the ballistic-missile threat and the technology that might be necessary to defeat it," says MDA spokesman Rick Lehner. "It's been a good interchange of information."

Sez Wikipedia:

(Baxter) wrote a five-page paper that proposed converting the ship-based anti-aircraft Aegis missile into a rudimentary missile defense system.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:01 PM on August 8, 2007


Backed by several influential Capitol Hill lawmakers, Baxter received a series of classified security clearances.

Was he a drug user? Can former drug users get security clearances?
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 11:04 PM on August 8, 2007


During one background interview, Mr. Baxter says, he was asked whether he could be bribed with money or drugs. He recalls telling the investigators not to worry because he had already “been there, done that, and given away the T-shirt” during his rock career.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:07 PM on August 8, 2007


Double.
posted by bardic at 11:12 PM on August 8, 2007


It's not a double if it was posted more than a year ago. Thus it has always been.
posted by euphorb at 12:11 AM on August 9, 2007


It's not a double if it was posted more than a year ago.

Never heard of that rule.

Wow, now this guy has a little band on the side and jams with ambassadors and corporate board types. Weird.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:13 AM on August 9, 2007


Was he a drug user?

Reckon it's a good bet with a nickname like "Skunk", no?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:14 AM on August 9, 2007


I hope his specialization is in recreating what has yet to be created.
posted by StopMakingSense at 12:35 AM on August 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


No way did any of those Doobie Brothers ever touch a joint. Nor a scoob, nor a reefer, nor a blunt, nor a doobie.

*exhales*
posted by Wolof at 12:38 AM on August 9, 2007


I heard he was named after the Lockheed Skunkworks but I could be wrong.
posted by wendell at 12:44 AM on August 9, 2007


BTW, KokuRyu, just noticed this FPP's title: well done.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:35 AM on August 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Related: Brian May of Queen just turned in his doctoral thesis in Astronomy.
posted by hypersloth at 2:09 AM on August 9, 2007


oops, here.
posted by hypersloth at 2:12 AM on August 9, 2007


Was he a drug user? Can former drug users get security clearances?

Does President of the United States of America count as a security clearance?

Non-snarky answer: you're far more likely to be turned down if you lie about former drug use than if you come clean. They're more worried about someone blackmailing you with your personal history to gain State secrets than about the personal history itself.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:01 AM on August 9, 2007


In 2000 I was strolling through Houston's Intercontinental Airport on a business trip when I passed the unmistakeable Jeff "Skunk" Baxter. He just looked like your average 70s rock musician on a business trip. On a related note, I flew behind Coolio once. Talk about in-flight entertainment.
posted by punkfloyd at 5:13 AM on August 9, 2007


The AEGIS as ballistic missile defence appeared in Tom Clancy's "Debt of Honour" in 1994. It was a shit book and I'd like to point out my shame to all for admitting to having read it.

70's rock stars make very poor judges of missile defence systems. Ozzy Osbourne's nuclear-pumped X-Ray Laser system has failed to materialise and the inevitable disaster of the Orbital Flechette system as espoused by Roy Wood from Wizzard was obvious from the outset.

On the other hand, Michael Stipe's massdriver mounted on the moon looks to have several advantages over traditional 70's rock star based theories. Bono's ground based Ego-powered laser is most likely to succeed as it apparently can pulse 30 times a second at over 4.8megajoules as long as the pope or other international figure is within 30 yards to give him some sort of award. It's only disadvantage is that the weapon pulses in the visible light range and thus everyone must wear a pair of those ridiculous "fly" sunglasses that he wore during the Achtung Baby! tour.
posted by longbaugh at 5:32 AM on August 9, 2007 [13 favorites]


Ozzy Osbourne's nuclear-pumped X-Ray Laser system has failed to materialise and the inevitable disaster of the Orbital Flechette system as espoused by Roy Wood from Wizzard was obvious from the outset.

But the Alan Parsons Project -- also known as the Eye in the Sky because of its intense use of orbital imagery -- worked well enough. I mean, we haven't been nuked by missiles, so it must work.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:49 AM on August 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


Sorry to say it, but the whole missile defense thing was a hoax conjured up by Edward Penn Teller.
posted by storybored at 7:01 AM on August 9, 2007


So, a few years ago my apartment got burglarized, and all of my guitars stolen. I needed a replacement acoustic really fast for some reason, and didn't have much cash. So I went to a guitar shop, and all of the acoustics in my price range were total ass- except a used Epiphone Skunk Baxter signature model, complete with a mother-of-pearl inlayed skunk on the 12th fret. It's a pretty nice guitar, but nobody wanted it because, well, Skunk Baxter, so the shop was practically giving it away.

I hate Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers, but I've really grown to love my Skunk Baxter guitar...
posted by COBRA! at 7:25 AM on August 9, 2007


I heard that Hanson wrote up George Bush's Iraq exit strategy. Dude better get some better taste in music or we're all screwed!
posted by any major dude at 7:43 AM on August 9, 2007


this is why i love metafilter.
posted by empath at 8:21 AM on August 9, 2007


He said in an interview a loooong time ago that he'd gotten his nickname after he took his boots off in the studio. Apparently there were no Odor Eaters in the word powerful enough to contain the mighty Skunk.
posted by Oriole Adams at 8:21 AM on August 9, 2007


OK, so we got:

defense consultant

counter-terrorism

NASA

and

Missile Defense

Tell me, how good have we been doing with The Pentagon, terrorists, space missions and missile "defense" lately?
posted by Relay at 8:40 AM on August 9, 2007


Skunk Baxter has always been a tough character, as evidenced by episode 1 of Yacht Rock.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 8:43 AM on August 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Was he a drug user? Can former drug users get security clearances?

Yes.
posted by MikeMc at 8:57 AM on August 9, 2007


I had heard that he got the nickname skunk from getting wasted in a Steely Dan session and pissing against the studio door. Someone opened the door and got sprinkled on, the victim yelled "you skunk!" and the nickname stuck.
posted by Ber at 9:19 AM on August 9, 2007


I could be wrong, but I seem to remember a Washingtonian interview with the current ambassador from Hungary or Turkey (can't remember specifically) who played with this guy in a local band.
posted by Suparnova at 11:08 AM on August 9, 2007


Artifice, thanks very much indeed for the Yacht Rock link. It is probably one of the funniest things I have ever seen.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:24 AM on August 9, 2007


I can't believe you didn't title this post "What a fool believes." Opportunities like that come along once in a lifetime, son.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:47 AM on August 9, 2007


For reasons I can't quite put my finger on (although it has something to do with the government angle, as well as the cult of expertise, and how formal credentials aren't especially necessary to gain entry), this makes me think of Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr.
posted by raysmj at 1:43 PM on August 9, 2007


Seeing as the "war on terrorism" is closely integrated with the "war on drugs," one has to wonder if Jeff Baxter will be busting folks for doobies.
posted by CameraObscura at 2:14 PM on August 9, 2007


I hate Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers, but I've really grown to love my Skunk Baxter guitar...
posted by COBRA!


For shame, COBRA!, for shame.

*goes to play Aja, but can't get self to turn off NPR*
**feels old**

posted by slogger at 3:07 PM on August 9, 2007


Remember the George Clinton classic "P Funk (I Wants To Get Funked Up)", with its Doobie Brothers reference?

Hey I was diggin' on y'alls funk for awhile.
Sounds like it got a three on it though, to me.
Then I was down south and I heard some funk
with some main ingredients
Like Doobie Brothers, Blue Magic, David Bowie.
It was cool,
But can you imagine Doobiein' your funk?


I always thought he was saying "Doobie in your funk, though. I'm not sure if the lyric site I went to has this right or not...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:43 PM on August 9, 2007


Overrated as a guitarist in his time, forgotten now. Presumably he will rate the same obituary as a defense expert.

He used to write a column on effects for Guitar Player magazine too. He was an early champion of digital processing. Quick fingers, and cool tone, but no melodic imagination and not much groove.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:15 AM on August 10, 2007


um, War Pig?
posted by aiq at 8:46 AM on August 10, 2007


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