A special program featuring a special group and dedicated to those living inside and outside simultaneously.
“I’ve never been comfortable as a lead performer, and I never wanted to be a singer, particularly.” – Donald Fagen of Steely Dan
What we have here for all of you today is something special, and in a sense, not entirely legal, either: It is a bootleg of a Steely Dan program from 1974, recorded live at the recording facility the Record Plant in Los Angeles. It is a truncated performance by the band by approximately 15-20 minutes, missing tracks that were part of their setlist at the time such as “My Old School” and Show Biz Kids”. Steely Dan, though largely remembered in the 1970’s as a professional recording unit, did tour the United States three times in two years, promoting their first three album Can’t Buy a Thrill, Countdown to Ecstasy and Pretzel Logic. Principles Donald Fagen and Walter Becker grew tired of the grind of the road, and devoted themselves to being studio musicians until 1993, 19 years after this recording takes place.
Steely Dan, upon close inspection, are less a band and more of a concept; one replete with irony and a worldview that is far from rainbows and sunshine. I chose them for one particular reason to broadcast during Portland Pride weekend 2018: The songs may sound gorgeous and bright, but the lyrics tell of people on the fringes of society, simultaneously living inside and outside of what most would consider a “normal” reality, much like the LGBTQ population did back in 1974 and still does to some extent to this day in an age of fear, hate mongering and corporations using events like Pride to treat people as a commodity and not as a community.
Steely Dan, 1973: (l-r) Jim Hodder, Walter Becker, Denny Dias, Jeff Baxter and Donald Fagan. Courtesy of Michael Ochs Archives. Original photographer unlisted. Image originally from a promotional piece from Kudo III Management and ABC/Dunhill Records.
Much like classic Steely Dan music from decades ago, modern LGBTQ Pride events seems all fun and great on the outside, but underneath lies something far more sinister and ultimately, dark, lurking beneath the veneer. Steely Dan lyrics also, for some odd reason, reference alcoholic beverages often. Drinking and over drinking have been a mainstay at Pride events for decades, regardless of the health concerns associated with this behavior, making this program more topical than you might believe at first.
During their long tenure as Southern California’s premier Rock and Roll station, KMET, who broadcast this recording, recorded hundreds of artists, many of them at pivotal moments in their early careers, such as David Bowie at the Santa Monica Civic in 1972 during his first tour of the United States with the Spiders from Mars, which was eventually released officially several years ago after being heavily bootlegged. KMET unfortunately stopped broadcasting as a Rock station in 1987, unable to compete with their competition, which used things like radio gimmicks, morning shows and monetary contests to win listeners. KMET was the premier free-form Rock and Roll radio station of it’s era, a classic example of what FM music stations could achieve when focused on the fans and the music.
Our tracks this week, presented in a continuous order:
1. Stalling for time/Introduction by Richard Kimble of KMET
3. The Boston Rag
4. Do It Again
5. Any Major Dude
6. King Of The World
7. Rikki Don't Lose That Number
8. Pretzel Logic
9. Your Gold Teeth II (Jam)
10. Reelin' In The Years
11. This All Too Mobile Home
12. Announcer credits and sign off
Donald Fagen – piano, vocals; Walter Becker – bass; Jeff Baxter – guitar; Denny Dias – guitar; Jim Hodder – drums; Jeff Porcaro – drums; Royce Jones – percussion, backing vocals and Michael McDonald – electric piano, backing vocals.
Love to you all.
Ben “Bear” Brown Jr., owner
“Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for 'fair use' for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use."