In concert

‘Pretzel Logic’ from Steely Dan’s touring Donald Fagen and Walter Becker

 
 
Steely Dan's Donald Fagen (left) and Walter Becker (right).
Steely Dan's Donald Fagen (left) and Walter Becker (right).
Scoop Marketing

A conversation with Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen and Walter Becker is like trying to pin down a buzzing fly using only your pinky.

No easy task. Sardonic, sarcastic and bemused, the jazzy rock pair have been making mincemeat out of interviewers with the same verbal flair with which they laced into cryptic classics like Rikki Don’t Lose That Number, Kid Charlemagne and Deacon Blues in the ’70s.

The two diss Twitter (they don’t Tweet) and wayward politicians (New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner’s Tweets and surname inspires jabs). Given these guys’ snark, these topics could serve as fodder for music on a new album if the two ever get around to making a proper follow-up to 2003’s overlooked Everything Must Go.

“It’s in the air. It really is. We’re just picking it up here and starting the tour, but I can almost, well, I can smell it,” Becker says of new tunes in the pipeline.

Fagen, 65, and Becker, 63, have a new tour to shill — Mood Swings: 8 Miles to Pancake Day Tour. As such, the duo conducted a conference call with game music scribes, including The Miami Herald, to promote a tour that hits Boca Raton’s Mizner Park Amphitheatre on Thursday.

In addition to teasing the idea of a new album, “It’s just a smell now, next thing is then you taste it, then you start to feel it,” Becker says, the two dither on how the tour derived its puzzling Pancake Day Tour handle. Fans will recall this jazz-loving duo once titled an album Pretzel Logic.

Expect the same twisted logic as they make no attempt to unravel the mystery of that title.

Becker: “I’m not in the mood anymore.”

Fagen: “Paxil is kind of an antiquated drug by now, isn’t it?”

Becker: “It probably is.”

Fagen: “What’s that got to do with our tour?”

Becker: “Maybe lithium would be more appropriate.”

Fagen: “In truth, we put up Mood Swings; that was the easy part, and then we were reminiscing about the old television show, Route 66, and we remembered how in those days they used to name TV episodes using every eccentric titles like, Who’s Afraid of the Muffin Man, things like that. So, we decided we were going to have a subtitle for our Mood Swings tour.”

Steely Dan has put out just two studio albums since the duo initially put the act on hiatus after 1980’s showroom-pristine Gaucho. The 2000 effort, Two Against Nature, scored Steely Dan an Album of the Year Grammy over the then-favored Eminem. But Becker and Fagen have toured together often since reconnecting professionally in the mid-’90s. Credit a saner touring environment today.

“The venues and the menus and the hotels and everything has gotten better,” Fagen said. “So, now it’s much more fun to play. I’m glad that we turned into a big-time touring band later in life. It’s almost like we planned it out that way.”

—  HOWARD COHEN

Steely Dan perform at 8 p.m. Thursday at Mizner Park Amphitheatre, Boca Raton. The concert is sold out but tickets, $68.50-$149, are sometimes released as show approaches. Information: www.ticketmaster.com. Follow @HowardCohen on Twitter.

Read more People stories from the Miami Herald

  • As seen on TV

    Maggie Gyllenhaal takes an ‘Honorable’ role in SundanceTV movie

    An eight-hour miniseries premiering Thursday at 10 p.m. on SundanceTV, The Honorable Woman is a virtuoso effort by Hugo Blick, who wrote and directed it.

  • As seen on TV

    Attack of Sharknado 2: Oh yeah, there’s another one

    The idea of making a movie about a tornado that scoops up thousands of sharks and sends them flying through the air to chomp their way through a bevy of people, places and things sounds totally ridiculous. That didn’t stop Syfy from moving ahead with Sharknado, a movie that became a pop culture phenomenon last year. The mania reached such a fevered level that a sequel, Sharknado 2: The Second One, was ordered. It premieres at 9 p.m. Wednesday on Syfy.

  • Killer of Kelsey Grammer’s sister denied parole

    DENVER (AP) – A man who raped and killed Kelsey Grammer’s sister nearly 40 years ago has been denied parole after the actor testified against his release.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category