Oct 12, 2018

Oct 28, 2018

31 comments

Edited: Nov 20, 2018

Attendees in person or in spirit -- Our first follow-up page is at walterbeckerway.com Let's hear...

 

 

 

Got a Dollar?

Hello D.

 

Writing to THANK YOU for the beautiful and greatly needed $1,000 gift you donated to the Jazz Foundation on 10/30/18. We are honored to be the recipients of your t-shirt sale during this important occasion - and the monies raised will directly impact the (more than) 1200 musicians and their families who we currently "serve" in the States, including Puerto Rico.

 

Where would any of us be without music -- and without the extraordinary men and women who have devoted their lives, time and talent to enhancing ours.

 

Obviously I'm speaking to the choir here and just want to send a "personal" note of great appreciation.

 

Wishing you all very best - peace and music, always,

bridget

 

Bridget Sullivan

Director of Development

Jazz Foundation of America

322 West 48th Street

New York, NY 10036

(o): 212.245.3999, ext 18 /(m): 917.716.6608

www.jazzfoundation.org

Oct 25, 2018

I have always loved the design on this T-shirt. I have 2!

Oct 26, 2018

Thanks ☺️ W and I worked hard on this one.

Oct 28, 2018

 

Sorry can't be in NYC today, best wishes to all WB fans.

Oct 28, 2018

Can this be a "Thank you?" thread? I hope it can. Walked back to my midtown hotel from Queens, the proud owner of a new Circus Monkey [sic] t-shirt & a signed glossy, knowing the name of that Maui studio wher--"HYPERBOLIC SOUND"! So thanks to both mods - one for his eloquent speech, which had me laughing and nodding along, & the other, who chose, maybe deliberately, not to speak, maybe believing the generosity of spirit & humor on display throughout the day would say more than she ever could. Thanks to the participants, especially the UK journalist dressed like Screamin' Lord Sutch's older brother, who apparently has more room in his head for WB-themed trivia than all the rest of us together. & to the weather god(s), for those brief flashes of sunlight, for the gentle rustling of still-green leaves overhead. Thanks to everyone involved. Your work is registered and seen.

Nov 9, 2018

@Moderator: D-Mod DB: Just seeing this question now, because after the street party & Nightfly Night I flew to off-grid California for a few weeks with my camera(s), just back on the WWWs now. The short answer to your question is that Queens to Midtown takes about 4.5 hrs by foot, & rather than braving a scary tunnel, one takes a little ferry from western Queens to Manhattan. The other answer is that I haven't heard TIMB yet because as the flash drives were being handed out, I was picking up a signed 8" x 11" glossy - THANKS! It survived my backpacks and several flights, & is going in a "little frame...something cheap" (Bowie) & then up on a wall of prized stuff in my Vancouver bookstore. So, picture Walter frowning gently down above the till from here to eternity...

Nov 11, 2018Edited: Nov 11, 2018

@cjbrayshaw - Vancouver? Bookstore? do tell....or is that "do till?' or is that "from here till eternity?" etc. Seriously, what neighbourhood?

 

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Oct 28, 2018Edited: Oct 28, 2018

 

o goodness. Thank you!

They got to around 50% of their planned program, leaving 50% of some cool giveaways on the table; gold record; Grammy garments (not to be confused with Morman undergarments), carved Polynesian stringed instrument, and so on. Matt should be along presently and may give us his street-level view.

 

And of course, there was the demo of a demo (very rough audio!) of a Circus Money era Becker/Klein track — on a WBW-branded USB flash stick full of Becker music --- called "This Is My Building". No lie.

 

If you have this track, please

keep it under wraps until we post it on this site...soon!

 

In the days and weeks ahead, walterbeckerway.com will house much of the material they didn't get around to -- short video greetings from Walter's daughter Sa, Larry Klein, John Beasley....and maybe we can run that Caption Contest from there!

 

In the meantime, thanks again for the comments; well-deserved appreciation for some very hard workers

 

Oct 28, 2018

Bummed I couldn't be there. NYC is just a little too far away from Kentucky to have made it work this time with the vacation stuff I already had planned for the year. I'm glad to hear the celebration of Walter went well though!

Oct 29, 2018

Enjoyed your speech (saw it online.)

Oct 29, 2018

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU a million times over for the street naming! It was WONDERFUL to be there. The giveaway was fantastic, something to be treasured always. I bought a shirt, and could have kicked myself for not buying a few more (maybe to be used for quilting something one day). The entire ceremony was a great tribute to Walter. He will be missed forever.

Nov 1, 2018Edited: Nov 1, 2018

Hi Barbara - finally! someone on here that was there! I started a "This Is My Building" thread for anyone who had heard it -- it's such a one-off for this site, I for one am etremely interested in how it's received. Glad you enjoyed Sunday :))

Nov 1, 2018

I really wanted to meet you and asked several people if you were there. Was a bit bummed not to find you but respect your privacy.

So... Can we ALL meet at the sign next year and maybe have a block party or whatever??? Any takers?

 

Nov 1, 2018

I was there in my Halloween costume; long-ish grey hair, british accent —I’m the one who won the leather jacket! lol.

 

I love the idea of a repeat event of some sort. What do you think; the First Annual Becker-Fest !?

Nov 1, 2018

Somehow I don't believe your description of yourself, lol! Next you'll be selling me a bridge! But you made me laugh, and I thank you for that!

 

Count me in for the First Annual Becker Fest! Sunday was so much fun. Let's all "Do It Again!"

Nov 2, 2018

I had a lot of fun. I think everyone around me was having fun too. I liked the speakers and the fans I got to talk to. Surprised by how many British fans showed up and by how many fans from a block or two away were there. Thank you to everyone who did this.

Nov 2, 2018

Thanks lizking593, some folks worked pretty hard to bring the whole thing off. And we're going to find ways to give away some of what was left on the table because they ran long, over at walterbeckerway.com. We'll post some videos too from Larry Kelin, Walter's daugter Sa, John Beasley...

 

Glad you enjoyed it

Nov 4, 2018

"Very Special Guitar Pics"?

I know guitar pics are collectables for players — I’ve heard. But c'mon people, explain it to a non-player, and to the partner of a non-collecting player. I watched the video of the crowd ooo-ing and aahhh-ing when Jim Kerr said "..and your prize are some guitar pics”. I figured it must have been facetious, right? And the clip of a guy looking into the little crystalline packet of his prize of a few pics and saying 'wow!"…I replayed it a few times to make sure the crystalline contained pics and not blow.

 

On the very low probability that someone reading this got a guitar pic -- or even just saw one — would you please tell me why in hell it drew apparently nonfacetious oohs and aahs and wows? What do they say: tomorrow’s winning lottery numbers or something?

Nov 4, 2018

My guitar picks just remind me I suck at playing guitar. LOL

Nov 5, 2018

Well, I suppose it's like anything one tends to collect; it brings a certain enjoyment/satisfaction when one finally obtains an elusive item, Walter's pics being one of those. Some guitar players throw 'em out by the handfuls (e.g. Rick Neilson/Cheap Trick) making them less sought after and easier & cheaper to obtain. Others will play with one pic all night and then perhaps place in their own pocket at the end of the evening. I happen to have 2 different promo ones for WB, one that says 'Circus Money', and the other 'Forward the Bass', both acquired from eBay; rarely popping-up and not cheap, even though he never actually played with either one. In general, I guess I've been collecting Steely Dan-related stuff since around 1984, when I was 18, and haven't stopped since. I'll admit, I feel somewhat silly sometimes now as a 52 year-old married man, with 2 kids, a nice home and good job, collecting music memorabilia of an old "rock-n-roll" band, but it does brings me a lot of joy, especially when, as mentioned before, an elusive/rare piece comes my way. My wife and kids think I'm a "nut", but hey... I usually stray-away from purchasing the autographs, as they're so easy to forge; however, I do have a couple of DF-signed pieces that I know are legit, but nothing from our main man, WB. Anyway, probably more than you wanted to know, but pics are cool, take-up little room, and a fun keepsake for guitar players.

Nov 6, 2018

I think that its because guitar picks from better players tend to be personalized, are intimately tied to their art and instrument, and are small enough to be treasured without taking up a lot of space. Drummers and their sticks and guitar players with their picks can do this, where as keyboard players can't. And while I suppose the tenor sax (or bari sax in the case of SD) player could take of their reed and toss it towards the audience, I doubt that a saliva soaked bit of cane would be as affectionately sought after as a nice pick. I remember Q auctioning off one of Fagen's empty coke cans on Ebay a number of years ago, and setlists handed out by the stray guitar tech or roadie after a show are highly prized as well. But sticks and picks are special...you can pick them up and play with them, hoping a little bit of that mojo rubs off on you.

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Nov 17, 2018

Gosh, so sad I missed this. Was there anything else on this thumb drive apart from that one treasure that would make it worth it on its own?

Nov 17, 2018

the tumbdrive had both solo albums in full in mp3 and flac, a small selection of material from this website, and the single "new" cut -- This Is My Building -- which will be posted here soon. So it's more like a (pretty comprehensive) Sampler than a collection of rarities per se. If you wanted to turn a Becker virgin on to WB's work, this thumb drive would certaily get them started. Walt On A Stick, shall we say...

 

Nov 17, 2018

Great idea! Converting the heathens can be a full time job when it comes to making people understand the enormous, equal contribution to SD. It can be exhausting, although with Fagen's unfair head start by being the well-known "voice" of SD, it's really hard for people to see Becker's fingerprints on the fretboard. There are a hand full of Becker solo songs (apart from just "Book of Liars") I always wished Fagen would sing. I'm almost positive is one said, "This is a newly discovered lost SD song!" - "Downtown Canon" (or countless others) would suddenly be come one of that "SD fan's" favorite SD songs.

 

Either way, looking forward to hearing "This Is My Building" when you deem us worthy of hearing it. I'll preface this with admitting you've already spoiled us, but I'm feeling greedy (and always in the need of new, inspiring music - plus I miss Becker) and the slow trickle can be maddening. If you guys ever feel like gracing us with a, perhaps, a thematic or somehow linked grouping of a few songs, I, for one, would not argue with such a concept. Again, total greed. I own that. I have to live with it. My terrible, terrible greed.

 

Regardless, thank you for all you have given us and for keeping the brilliant Becker music alive. It's much appreciated.

Nov 20, 2018

@neplicot the USB drive was from Matt's labor entirely - yes, a great idea, and beautifully done.

New Posts
  • Live now! https://www.julienslive.com/m/view-auctions/catalog/id/326
  • It was inevitable that some of the gear sold at the auction would find its way onto the reseller websites out there. Right now, it looks like there were a couple of lots where the buyer was seeking 1 specific pedal (out of several), and is selling the rest. There is also 1 of the vintage Fender Strats and a Bass Speaker. https://reverb.com/marketplace?query=walter%20becker https://www.gbase.com/gear?q=walter+becker&f=t
  • [ Howard Rodman's remarks made as keynote address on the occasion of the re-naming of the corner of 112th Street and 72nd Drive in Forest Hills, Queens as ‘Walter Becker Way.’ ] In his legendary essay, “Paris, Capital of the 19th Century,” the German-Jewish philosopher Walter Benjamin talked about the ways in which Paris, with its boulevards, its arcades, its poets, was truly the capital of the 19th century. But an equally compelling argument can be made: that Forest Hills, the community that spreads out from the very corner on which we stand now, was indeed the capital of the twentieth. Think about it: how many of the disparate musical and cultural strains that define the second half of the twentieth century had their origins right here. Paul Simon grew up at 137-62 70th Road. Jeffrey Hyman, later Joey Ramone, grew up at 102-10 66th Road, and John Cummings, Tommy Erdelyi, Doug Colvin – later Johnny, Tommy, and Dee Dee Ramone respectively – came up a street or two away. It’s hard to think of Bridge Over Troubled Water and Beat on the Brat [with a Baseball Bat] as coming from the same planet. But in fact: they came from within blocks of each other. The Ramones and Paul Simon were not Forest Hills’s only odd pairings. Leslie West and Pia Zadora. Donna Karan and Thelma Ritter. Wilhelm Reich and Anthony Wiener. But in weighing the contribution of this piece of outer-borough soil to the country, and the larger world, we inevitably find ourselves speaking of Walter Becker. Who when I first knew him, age ten, lived right there. Like many of the friends and comrades with us this morning, we went to PS 196, whose anthem I can still sing, “PS one hundred and ninety six, we raise our voices high…” I wish Walter were here to sing the rest. Though in theory there were no ‘tracks,’ everyone knew that 5-5 and 6-2 were the IGC classes. In theory that stood for Intellectually Gifted Children. In practice: smart-ass wiseacres, using whatever intelligence we could muster in service of mocking the world into which we’d been born, fueled by transistor radios and Mad magazine. And even then, just kids in Miss Bishop’s class, in Miss Cathey’s class, Walter’s lead was the one we followed. In Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth , as deep as they go, cavern after cavern, they again and again come across a scrawl or a sign of Arne Saknussem – the 16th century Icelandic magician who’d always gotten there first. Walter was our Saknussem. There was something older about him, and most certainly wiser. He had his aesthetic down cold, as if received. And was extravagant about letting the rest of us know what to listen to, what to read, what to watch. He gave me my first Borges, my first Nabokov, my first Burroughs. He told me what movies to see. He’d toss music my way — I remember, in particular now, Albert Ayler’s Spiritual Unity . And if I balked, or was unreceptive, he’d say, “You’re going to like this in a year or so, so why don’t you start now and save yourself some time.” While the rest of us were (awkwardly; clumsily) fashioning our personas, his seemed always to have been there. Part Terry Southern, part Lenny Bruce, but always — as was the case with him, and not yet with us — far more than the sum of his influences. We’d drink Romilar, bought over there, and watch re-runs of The Million Dollar Movie , in his apartment right up there. Somehow, the movie was always Panic in the Year Zero . On another night Walter and my mother and me got so stoned that we listened to a record skip-skip-skip for half an hour before we realized it wasn’t intentional. An evening I had forgot entirely about, until Walter chose to recount it, forty-five years later, at a Steely Dan concert during the vamp of Hey Nineteen . At the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. In front of six thousand people. In detail, and with my mother’s name carefully pronounced. (Word travels fast. When I got home that night my fifteen-year-old son had a Cheshire Cat grin. And said, “Dad, is there anything you want to talk about?”) But back to days and nights in vintage Forest Hills. We had our peacoats, our McCreedy & Schreiber boots, we walked like this, we’d take the E train to the Village on Friday nights to hang at the Café au Go-Go. I see a few people out there who will know exactly what I mean. We were, face it, tragically hip bridge-and-tunnel teenyboppers. As John Boylan, one of Walter’s early collaborators would put it, “E train, to Forest Hills. E train, so easy to find. E train, home from the Village, let mother take care of your mind.” But Walter didn’t have a mom to come home to. Perhaps this accounts for why he was getting stoned with mine. Perhaps this accounts for how he was able to run so wild, and so free: with no mother at home, and a father so often away, and a grandmother whose threats terrified no one, Walter could do as he pleased. We’ve long recognized the astonishing, revelatory work that this enabled. But let us take a moment, too, to acknowledge the pain. He taught those of us who knew him, and millions who didn’t, how to become what he and Donald would call “gentlemen losers.” But all of that came at a real cost that neither he nor we would often want to name or to face. Which is why my favorite of Walter’s songs might be This Moody Bastard from 11 Tracks of Whack . These days it's like a tomb/ Amid in the stacks of gloom/ Looking out the window/ In the downstairs room And the time goes by/ And the time goes by/ Sometimes it goes so slowly/ You know a man could cry Till the day goes down/ In deep disgrace/ With empty pockets/ And a dirty face This moody bastard remembers/ You were some kind of friend even then Once in a great while/ He needs one... I think we all of us know what “once in a great while” means. We’re left with memories, to be sure. Glorious memories. And we’re left with the music, which is indelible, music which was never was quite in sync with its time, and because of that will never grow old. Nor will the world he limned: an unparalleled gallery of local losers, smalltime hoods, dive-bar cynics, rooming-house romantics, would-be has-beens; the autodidacts, the isolatoes; the carneys, shills, junkies, dealers, conmen, fugitives – all of them on the run from the one thing they cannot change: who they are. We feel large and uneasy empathy for them, even as we know they’re getting exactly what they deserve. We know them better than they know themselves. And Walter knew them best of all. This would be the place to mention the obvious: that if you’re looking for a top-40 hit, you don’t use as your hook, “Even Cathy Berberian knows there’s one roulade you can’t sing.” Yet Walter and Donald did, anyway, and sold forty million records, anyway. They did it not by reverse-engineering what an audience might like, but by being deeply, obsessively, cannily true to themselves. The success of Steely Dan was because, not in spite of, its celebration of the marginal. With the passage of time one learns to look past Walter’s brilliance, past his astonishing way with words and with music – strike the Mu Major chord! – past the sensibility he helped forge, past the obsessive dedication to getting it right— Past all of these to Walter’s true generosity of spirit. Reaching deep inside himself, taking the joys and pains he found there, and making them our own. As Walter Benjamin put it: “The flâneur stood at the margins of the great city. He sought his asylum in the crowd.” It took Walter Becker – indelibly cool, impossibly droll, triumphantly cryptic, unimaginably hip, with the intelligence to see life as it is, and the heart to set it down in ways that have now circled the globe it took Walter Becker to look out at this suburban landscape of postwar six-story housing, and recognize it for what it was: not a bedroom community, a bridge or a tunnel or an E-train away from Manhattan, but as something grand and glorious in and of itself. Forest Hills. A place he saw as the capital of the 20th century. And then: made it so.