Walter Becker died on September 3, 2017, from esophageal cancer. Now Donald Fagen is suing his estate. [Update: Becker’s estate responds.] The issue, it seems, is the name “Steely Dan.” Or whatever that is. The two had signed what is known as a “Buy/Sell Agreement” after the band formed in 1972, which essentially lets one … Continue reading What’s In a Name?
As I seem to be on the macabre musical beat, I received an email from a friend of mine who recently saw John Sebastian. (She lives in a small college town in Iowa, so they have some non-arena-filling musicians coming to their burg.) Some of you may be unfamiliar—so you think—with John Sebastian. He’s the … Continue reading Questions. One Answer.
The passing of Tom Petty at age 66 of cardiac arrest earlier this week is certainly sad for those who listen to music as the man consistently worked with dedication and authenticity throughout what was a solid career. Yet if we look at it in the context of his other Traveling Wilburys band mates, then … Continue reading Not a Pleasant Subject
When sitting in a chair in my dentist’s office—I mean the chair that brings Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man to mind—the ambient audio system is always playing a lite rock station. Most of the music is of a sufficient sweetness to engender even more cavities in one’s molars. But it is a temperate drone behind … Continue reading Medical Music
In NASCAR racing, which went into official existence in 1948, 1972 is identified as the start of the “Modern Era.” The series has yet to become postmodern, but that’s another argument for another digital venue. The troubadour tradition, that of a musician who sang and played a stringed instrument, goes back at least to the … Continue reading “Write a Catchy Chorus, HAL”
When I saw that the Who had recently performed a couple of classics on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon I immediately forwarded the link to Stephen Macaulay. Mac has a long history with the Who, dating back to seeing them at Cobo Hall in Detroit when he and the band were all scruffy young … Continue reading Who’s Left?
Back in 1558, Sir Thomas Gresham, who was the financial agent for Queen Elizabeth I, articulated what was to become known as “Gresham’s law.” The law has it that “bad money drives out good.” He was talking about physical currency. One way to think about this is to take a quarter out of your pocket … Continue reading Listening to Gresham’s Law
Western Electric invented the Model 500 telephone. That’s the telephone with a handset cradled on the top of the device and a rotary dial on the front. It is the telephone that is the pre-21st century dictionary image of what a “telephone” would look like. It brought the Model 500 out in 1950. The classic … Continue reading The Model 500 and the Physicality of Music
At about the midway point on his month-long tour, we saw Joe Jackson at the Michigan Theater this past Saturday night. It was probably the fourth time we’ve seen him. Some middle-aged fanboys in the row behind us were trying to top one another with shows they’d seen. One said the last time he saw … Continue reading Joe Jackson in Ann Arbor: Who Said Anything About Love?
Before there was Twitter providing consolidated, concentrated comments, we tried our hand at some haiku—17 syllables, 5/7/5—to make some observations on what was going on. It didn’t go anywhere. So given that everything that’s old is still old but can be tried again, here are three, based on Todd’s interview in Variety, the recurring death … Continue reading It’s Got a Good Beat (17 of them)