|This page is dedicated to e-mail received from interested readers of the SD web page, and will include responses from Donald and/or Walter or, occasionally, other relevant individuals who may have information or opinions bearing on readers' questions. Name and e-mail address may be withheld on request.|
From: Dave Hicks <email@example.com>
Are my e-mailings not witty enough for you guys to address in a public
forum? Does my incoherent ramble not push the gauge up close enough to A
Single Snide Jape?
This is the second snubbing.
All right, that's it! I'm through e-mailing you guys.
You'll miss it. Oh, my, yes you will. You'll be pestering your Guy/Gal
Friday, asking him/her to check the Steely Mail for a quick howdy-do, or
an incomplete sentence, or a vowel from "that Dave Hicks fella," but
none will be found.
I bet if I e-mailed the members of the Steely Damned they'd respond.
You blew it.
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 1997 20:13:20 -0400
From: Paul Campbell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Wistful shimmering
Dear Mr. Steely Dan,
Here is a thing I used to do in college, repeatedly, the year I stopped
going to class (1980 or so).
After achieving spiritual illumination (alone or with friends) from the
magical smokular effects of lazily incinerating cannabinoidal matter, I'd
lay back on my good ol' standard issue dorm bunk, eyes snugly closed, and
trip out to the full bodied lushness of Danmusic. A universe of pleasures
into and of themselves, all enhanced and multiplied by way of my own self
concocted psycho-auditory technology!
I'd hold empty record jackets up against each ear, cocked at opposing 45
degree angles to my crappy yet dutiful stereo speakers. Sound would thereby
be bounced at right angles right down the a.canals, through the e.drums,
and into both sides of my tiny stoned brain. It got / gets better! In
varying the pitch of said dust jackets by micro-increments, the cerebrally
sensed focal point of the tune under scrutiny would shift and dance along
the grey matter nodes of said tiny brain. A total mind tickle!
Indescribably delicious internalized unbounded cosmicity!
Fellow students, on entering my good ol' standard issue dorm room and
finding me reclined with wobbling 12" cardboard squares sandwiched about my
head and the blissful smile of religious revelation on my face, Danmusic
playing all the while, would invariably express grave concern for my
sanity. Forgive them, Lord. Songs like "Pearl of the Quarter", "Any World
(That I'm Welcome To)", "Caves of Altamira", and "Third World Man" (to cite
a random favored sampling) would be transporting me to an Arcadian
landscape of wistful, shimmering, just-out-of-reach splendiferitude -
mesmerizing horizons of ephemeral perfection and grace in all directions -
God in every poignant detail. The best dope music on planet earth.
Steely Dan's art will always endure because it is very beautiful stuff. And
I aint smoked a thing in years. Thanks for all of the sound, gentlemen.
Look forward to the rest.
P.S. Walter, you revealed a five-star softy heart with "Little Kawai". That
toon is an all time super sweet crack-me-up classic.
Date: Fri, 22 Aug 1997 19:52:54 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: WHERE THE HELL IS THE NEW ALBUM
Ok Ok Ok....I've bought all the albums on vinyl. I bought the first few on 8
track.......bought and replaced all of your stuff on cassettte several times
over. Got 'em all on CD; and of course, when the boxed set came out, I HAD
to have that. After all, 50 bucks is NOT too much money for 'Boddhisatva'
live, not to mention the alternate version of 'Everyone's Gone To The
Movies'. Keep in mind, this was largely against the counsel given by all of
my friends, my accountant and even the record store clerk....well, actually
ALL the record store clerks, but I digress. I stumbled all over myself to
get tickets for the concert in '94, trekked all the way out to the Gorge to
see you, bought the concert CD, and even schlepped back out to the Gorge
again in '96 for the 'Let's See How Many Times We Can Do These Reunion Tours'
Tour......and I am STILL not done with this insane, nay, FANATICAL desire to
give you guys more of my money......WHERE'S THE NEW ALBUM???????
Uh...it's in the pipeline. Yeah, that's it, it's in the pipeline.
From: email@example.com (alan caylow)
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 1997 22:47:46 -0700
Subject: Steely Dan (obviously)
Hi Walt & Don:
Let me be the umpteenth fan to tell you that I LOVE your music. You guys
are the hippest cats in the music-biz, and you've always been one of my
all-time favorites. Besides the regular albums, I've got your
demos-and-oddities collections (LOVE stuff like "Brain Tap Shuffle" and
"Ida Lee", to name a couple), and the "Gotta Walk It" soundtrack, too. I
caught your show at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountainview back in
'93, and you guys were FANTASTIC. (Hey Walt: to hell with that
monkey-spank who was booing LOUDLY from the lawn after "Fall Of '92". He
ain't no Dan fan in my book!)
Got a question for ya: I've also got the rare British 12-inch that has
"Dallas" & "Sail The Waterway" on it. (They're both GREAT songs!) Why
weren't these songs included on the box set, and will they ever be
Keep on rockin', you guys! Your music is very special to me.
Those Brit 12-inchers are so rare, we couldn't even find one for the box set. Now I see why: evidently some web-tv git got the last one. But hell - finders, keepers. You keep on rockin' too, Alan, will ya? WB
Date: Wed, 20 Aug 1997 11:20:28 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Fans?...i dont think so
it surely a pleasure Mr. Fagen and Mr. Becker,
my argument here is that those people who write in and proclaim that
they are mad at you for not having new material are not true fans and should
be shot, or just hurt in some way. i would say that i am very anxious about a
new album but can wait. i know how much that you gentleman want everything to
be perfect, the way it should be. im the same way, its almost an obsession.
ill keep doing something until i think it can no longer be perfected. i can
only imagine how perfect and intense your future music will be.
as like most of your true fans, i love your music and listen to it
endlessly. i have every album from the days of the Dan to solo ones. i
actually have two of each. one for my home stereo and another for my car.
anyway, a question i would like to ask you is: when a song is coming to an
end, it seems like the music changes into new material, such as Josie. is
this written material or do you just jam and come up with the music
spontaneously. whatever? doesnt really matter anyways because its
have fun, keep floating and good luck with the new material. hope to
see you guys soon.
In the case of Josie, the outro material is written into the chart. In other cases, outro elements are improvised at the date, as in the case of the line, "You gotta shake it" in the outro of Babylon Sisters.
Date: Wed, 20 Aug 1997 23:06:11 -0400 (EDT)
Another "conflict of interest" is music editor for Microsoft's Music Central,
Jeff Barnes. Though he gave "Countdown To Infamy" two reviews this summer,
he was less than kind about Steely Dan's Music. I've been informed he is a
voting member of the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame.
the latest review was around Aug 17th? But it's still there.
We love your Count Down To Infamy!!
Keep those letters posting!!!
Thanks for the encouragement. We will not rest until justice is done. Or until we are tired - whichever comes first.
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 1997 12:37:19 +0200
From: Thorsten Mika <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Hi there !
Dear Donald and Walter !
I think that it's not necessary to repeat all that stuff I read in the
"mailroom" about you being brillant musicians with having great ideas
and so on (though it's true, by the way). I got a question: I am
writing songs (as about 200 billion other people do and I bet a lot of
them tell you about this and ask you for things like "Oh, please listen
to my brillant songs and see how good they are") and in spite of
supposing the things I just mentioned, I decided to ask you something. I
mean, is there any way for me to send you kind of a demotape or
something like that (maybe a mail attachment) to get your opinion about
this music (something like "what about becoming a farmer instead of a
musician ?")? Maybe you think "well, why can't this guy simply write the
music he likes and keep it for himself instead of bothering US with it
?" and I think you're right, but I thought that asking is for free and
so this is my mail. Don't know, if you're ever gonna read it or not
(maybe I get stopped at some kind of secretary or so) but if you do, I'd
be happy to hear from you.
P.S.: Hope you understood everything I wrote, my english is rather
P.P.S.: I don't particularly like to write something like this cause it
appears like kissing your feet and saying "Oh my heroes..." but I
really think that you should be hit for already having written some of
your songs and taking away the possibility of writing these song myself
A question for you, Thorsten - which ones of our songs were you thinking of writing? Good luck with your career.
From: "=?ISO-8859-1?Q?Marc_&_C=E9cile?=" <email@example.com>
Subject: Information about Steely Dan
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 1997 12:57:07 +0200
I'm a student in English and I'm in the master's degree. I'm also a
musician and I'd like to write a thesis about Steely Dan.
I've already collected information about them thanks to the web and by
reading some notes included in the leeves of their L.P.'s. I know the
leaders Donaln Fagen and Walter Becker were influenced by jazz (musicians
like Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington especially), blues, by the Beatles,
Chuck Berry and that their literary influence comes from the ' Beat
Generation ' writers like Billy Burrough, Jack Kerouac and the poet Alan
Ginsberg. I know they also like Lewis Carroll.
Infortunately, my information about the group is too mean to write a
thesis. In addition, Steely Dan is not very famous in France and it's quite
difficult to find documents about them. So I wish you could send me an
e-mail to confirm the information written in my e-mail and to give me
complete and precise facts about the group (or links with other sites of
the web and persons' addresses who may have information about Steely Dan) .
I should be glad too to have technical particulars about their music.
Thanks a lot.
P.S. : Thanks to tell me wether my English is correct.
Your facts, they are the gospel. Your English, she is much better now. For more info, check out the links page on this website.
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 1997 11:11:02 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Travel Arrangements
Mr. Becker and Mr. Fagen,
I find myself at the typical crossroads faced by almost all musicians of the
1990's. That being, I have an extreme lack of musical talent.
Much like the various "one hit wonders" whose barely coherant, shameful
excuses for songs litter the airwaves of "Top 40 Stations" across the United
States, I find myself with deep emotional issues I feel I must express in
song. However, an inbred child of the construction worker from "The Village
People" would probably have more musical talent than I currently possess
(this statement does not necessarily imply that the above mentioned
construction worker from "The Village People" is capable of fathering
children, inbred or not).
Mentor me, I say. Teach me how to arrange a song. How to play a musical
instrument (currently I find myself only able to play the "C" scale on the
This being a reasonable request, I'll assume your answer will be in the
affirmative. As such, I think we should begin making travel arrangements.
I understand how "pricy" airline fare can be, especially with me traveling
home every weekend to eat dinner with my parents at the Ponderosa Steakhouse
(love that mac and cheese). In order to be a more cost effective investment
of your time and energy, I would request that you send me a cashier's check
in the amount of $50,000 made out to "Dan Thomsen" as soon as possible so
that I may purchase a car suitable for traveling to and from your studios as
necessary. I envision this money being used to purchase a "reasonable",
"practical" car, such as a Chevrolet Corvette or some model of Mercedes. You
know how much of a pain car shopping is.
So glad you come to us when and as you do, Dan, seeking guidance. As luck would have it, you will not be needing a vehicle, because we have prepared an e-mail course of instruction in musicianship, aeshetics and citizenship for '90's guys and/or gals such as yourself. The biggest prob you folks face has to do with commitment - making a commitment and following through with it. For this reason there is a $10,000 registration deposit which must be paid to us at the time of enrollment. Let me know when you're ready to pony up and I'll get your first packet together.
From: "Paul Scannell" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 22 Aug 1997 18:57:39 -0500
Dear WB and DF:
What inspired you to write the song Your Gold Teeth? Is there special
to the line: Throw out your gold teeth and see how they roll?
Well, Paul, I guess - "Throw out your gold teeth and see how they roll" - it's the goddamn CHORUS, isn't it? Ain't that "special"? As for "significant", I suppose that depends on whose teeth we're talking about - if they happen to be your teeth, then it's significant.