Once upon a time I was up for a radio job at WTIC-FM in Hartford, Connecticut. The Program Director thought I was t h i s c l o s e to what he was looking for, but apparently I wasn't there yet. So he had me cut about half a dozen audition tapes for him, tweaking this and changing that about my delivery and pacing. Finally, he brought me up for an interview. While we were walking through downtown Hartford on our way to lunch, one of the many questions he asked me was, "Aside from the music you play on the air, what's your favorite music? Who do you listen to at home?" My answer came in a flash: Steely Dan. I had all their vinyl and had made cassette copies of every album for my car. "Hmmm." Then he paused. "That explains a lot."
He didn't hire me.
I'm not sure if Steely Dan cost me that job, but if they did I don't really care. Because if that guy thought Steely Dan was weird, I didn't want to work for him.
Because Steely Dan was the perfect music to suit my attitude. They weren't snarly angry, like punk rock. They were the guys that went to the party and sat in the corner drinking. And when the host came over they said, "Nice party. By the way, do you know you suck?" They were snark before it was a thing.
Donald Fagen says Walter Becker had a rough childhood. I know he had a rough adulthood, dealing with drugs and loss. One of his girlfriends overdosed in his apartment. A short time later he was hit by a cab. It was this blow-after-blow existence that caused him to walk away from the band and go to Hawaii and grow avocados. Then, some sort of medical procedure, and now his passing. I hope he has his peace now. But I thank him and Donald for blowing off their steam at life for all those years. Helped me do the same.