R.I.P. Walter Becker from Steely Dan

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(Photograph: Getty Pictures, Santiago Felipe)

As confirmed in a publish on his official web site, founding Steely Dan guitarist Walter Becker has died. Earlier this yr, Becker underwent a process of some type of that left him unable to tour with Steely Dan bandmate Donald Fagen—as famous in a Billboard interview—however since no trigger or different particulars about his loss of life have been launched, it’s unclear if this operation contributed not directly. Becker was 67.

Born in New York in 1950, Becker discovered methods to play blues guitar at a younger age, and he met Fagen whereas they had been each in school. Becker didn’t keep and end his diploma, although, selecting as a substitute to maneuver to Brooklyn with Fagen and grow to be a songwriting duo. In 1971, they moved to California and fashioned Steely Dan—with the title coming from William S. Burroughs’ Bare Lunch. In 1972, the band launched its debut album, Can’t Purchase A Thrill, and over the course of that decade Fagen and Becker went on to launch 5 extra albums, together with the critically acclaimed Aja in 1977.

Just a few years earlier than the discharge of Aja, Steely Dan stopped touring and have become a studio-only band. Becker struggled with drug habit whereas recording the band’s 1980 album Gaucho, and in 1981 he and Fagen broke up their partnership. Becker stopped doing medicine after that and started working as a file producer, often working with Fagen on a few of his solo work, however the two of them didn’t correctly reunite till they began touring once more in 1993. They recorded a brand new album in 2000, the Grammy-winning Two Towards Nature, after which a follow-up in 2003.

Fagen has written a tribute to his longtime pal and collaborator, which you’ll be able to learn in full beneath (through Rolling Stone):

Walter Becker was my pal, my writing associate, and my bandmate since we met as college students at Bard Faculty in 1967. We began writing nutty little tunes on an upright piano in a small sitting room within the foyer of Ward Manor, a mouldering previous mansion on the Hudson River that the school used as a dorm.

We favored loads of the identical issues: jazz (from the twenties by means of the mid-sixties), W.C. Fields, the Marx Brothers, science fiction, Nabokov, Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Berger, and Robert Altman movies come to thoughts. Additionally soul music and Chicago blues.

Walter had a really tough childhood—I’ll spare you the small print. Fortunately, he was sensible as a whip, a wonderful guitarist and an important songwriter. He was cynical about human nature, together with his personal, and hysterically humorous. Like loads of youngsters from fractured households, he had the knack of artistic mimicry, studying folks’s hidden psychology and reworking what he noticed into bubbly, incisive artwork. He used to write down letters (by no means meant to be despatched) in my spouse Libby’s singular voice that made the three of us collapse with laughter.

His habits bought one of the best of him by the top of the seventies, and we misplaced contact for some time. Within the eighties, once I was placing collectively the NY Rock and Soul Assessment with Libby, we connected once more, revived the Steely Dan idea and developed one other terrific band.

I intend to maintain the music we created collectively alive so long as I can with the Steely Dan band.

Donald Fagen

September three 2017

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