With a new solo studio album and a successful tour alongside the Dukes of September under Donald Fagen’s belt for this year, thoughts inevitably turn toward a hoped-for reunion with Steely Dan. He’s not ready to commit just yet.
Fagen, speaking with WAMC: Northeast Public Radio, says plans to reform with Walter Becker haven’t been firmed up just yet.
Sunken Condos, Fagen’s fourth album away from Steely Dan, was released in October. Beginning last summer, he also participated in a well-received rock-and-soul revue tour dubbed the Dukes of September with Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald.
Quite frankly, Fagen sounds like he’s ready for some down time.
“I don’t think that far ahead,” Fagen admits. “I’m still like a hippie from the 1960s, basically. I think, probably this summer, my partner and I will go out again as Steely Dan, but you know, I just got back from Japan, so I just have to kind of settle into it and decide what I am going to do next.”
After a lengthy period apart, the new-millenium edition of Steely Dan has been a touring machine. Over the 18 years since their 1994 reunion tour, Steely Dan toured in 1996, 2000, 2003, every year between 2006-09 and in 2011, according to the band’s web site. Remember that this is a group that played regular concerts from 1972-74, but beginning in 1975 stuck strictly to the studio all the way through their eventual split at the turn of the 1980s.
Fagen says he and Becker have taken to rejiggering signature songs like “Reeling in the Years,” to keep things interesting.
“You know, what we do is, we have several arrangements of ‘Reeling in the Years,’” Fagen tells WAMC. “There’s kind of a jazzy arrangement. We try to juice it up and make it interesting for the band to play. Lately, we’ve been doing something close to the original arrangement, and the band loves to play it and the audience likes it, too. But we’ll eventually come up with some other way of doing it eventually.”