More than a thousand guitars, amps, and assorted gear belonging to the late Walter Becker will be auctioned this weekend in Beverly Hills. Here’s the catalogue if you’re, you know, wondering what to get me for Christmas this year.
The thing is, I was always a little embarrassed by my love for Steely Dan. In college, the guys I knew who were into more straight-ahead rock disliked their slick sound; my jazz friends were offended by the band’s commercial success (even though they all thought Toto IV was brilliant); fellow music students didn’t think of their work as anything even approaching serious art.
But I eventually learned to embrace the Dan. And why not? If you can’t appreciate the intricate harmonies, the pristine production, or the stellar musicianship, you ought to at least be able to dig the lyrics: sophisticated, yes, but also subversive, cynical, ironic, and wickedly funny.
So news of the auction makes me a little sad, to be honest. Like I mentioned in the post I wrote on the occasion of Becker’s death back in 2017, these guys were my people—my tribe, as they say now. It’s weird, I know, but I miss the guy.