May 22, 2018

Paging Audrey (Demo)


Edited: May 22, 2018



If you’re anything like us, you enjoy demos in part because they provide a glimpse of a now-familiar song “in the wild”: hair mussed, buttons missing, mismatched socks. Just the bones the creature will need. The hair, the socks don’t count at all; presentational concerns are still miles away.


So what’s a song minus the presentational concerns? Typically, they’ll be called demos. If the writer has written a successful demo for a particular song — knows what must be included, and knows what must be cut, some writers — Walter among them — believe that they’ve acquired both a map to ad guardian for the soul of their song,


Walter spoke many times in interviews about both the found and the lost of life with your song. You find your song when you decide that *this* demo, as you've crafted it, has the essentials you need to always recognize if you are to remember its soul, and what of yours you gave it. Walter once described good demo like a fire pot. It will carry what’s alive and crucial in your song wherever you may need to go.


Unfortunately, he also said, it’s all to easy — frighteningly easy — to leave the fire pot behind, or let it’s heat go out; to cover up the essence of your song with things — instruments; arrangements; obsessions over bob essentials, infatuations with process and tools, too much self-consciousness about your own performances — until soon you can’t remember why you even wrote this song in the first place. And unless you scrape all the obscuring stuff off, toss it out and go back to I, finishing this song will become nothing but a soulless slog.



The 4 note refrain of “Paging Audrey…” had been around for at least 10 years. During that time, several women, most pets, one car, and even pasta, for a while, were paged. Ha ha, then, woah! one day, there was a song….with a tale more personal and absorbent of sorrow than i’ve ever seen him tell.


I find Walter’s singing here to be frankly devastating; so open, no ego, utterly unconcerned with public presentation, but palpably attuned to the emotion —the demo’s and his own —as it moved and rolled in every moment, I almost feel I’m eavesdropping into a very private moment; the first communion, at last, between a soulful singer and the essential soul of his partner, the song.




Walter Becker / Larry Klein

© Zeon Music

© Strange Cargo/Downtown Music 2008


In the littlest hours ‘tween the dusk and dawn

While the nightlight glows with the music on

You could climb so high in the dreamtime sky

And go anywhere


In that sometime place ever lost somehow

In the here and gone or the there and now

Did it all go bust — crumble down in dust

Or just slip away


Paging Audrey

Any random star

Lost and lonely

Somewhere very far

Paging Audrey

Come in from the cold


In that far-off room drenched in desert sun

Evil words were spoke — dirty deeds were done

Could we sail back there snatch them from the air

I dare anyone


Can we stand right here, call them back and say

Those were never meant to be heard that way

Let the heavens crack — let the day go black

I’d give anything


Paging Audrey

Somewhere very near

Safe and silent

There you are my dear

Paging Audrey

Anybody home


In a distant room certain things were said

As the loved one lies on the love-torn bed

And the night rolls on and by light of dawn

You’re not anywhere


Paging Audrey

This is who we are

Do remember

On any random star

Paging Audrey

Come in strong and pure

May 22, 2018

It's like a glimpse behind the this.

May 22, 2018

Fantastic. Emotionally crushing. Nuff said

May 22, 2018

Thank you. So beautiful and raw.

May 22, 2018

Love it! Thank you

May 22, 2018

Sublime. Heartfelt. Pure Becker. Miss you.

May 22, 2018

Fantastic! Thanks so much for this...

May 22, 2018

I bet a demo of Upside Looking Down would have a similar effect on me!

May 24, 2018

I was recently thinking about which CM song I could even say is my favorite, if I absolutely HAD to, I settled on Paging Audrey! Bout a week ago! Ugh, killing it here!!

May 24, 2018

TBD, I totally agree...followed by 'Upside Looking Down'.

May 24, 2018

'This Moody Bastard' is my fav from 11TOW.

May 24, 2018

@hourstuff, see now you're tumbling down a list that I find nearly impossible to put in a column :-). I guess they go across in a row!

May 24, 2018

I love this so much. Thanks for sharing it with the world of WB!

I sat at my piano last night playing this song, and it's just...indescribably good.


Upside Looking Down into Paging Audrey might be the best back to back songs combo in SD/DF/WB catalog. Just so amazing. But this song. The way that the bass part mirrors the vocal...just so much. And I think this song is the best argument for a Circus Money, or even a Walter Becker, Songbook. Who wouldn't want to play this?

Matt: if not the overall best back-to-back, at least the most emotionally wrenching or heartbreaking. Bring on the Upside Looking Down demo!

@Tony Favia If this back to back is rivaled, it is only by Aja -> Deacon Blues. But I'm giving this set the edge because Circus Money is so much more generous in it's total number of songs, and it seems therefore less likely that two back-to-back should be so damn fine.

@Matthew Kerns I'd also go with Bodhisattva/Razor Boy, Black Cow/Aja and New Frontier/Nightfly. I'd put all of those right up there in the same category with ULD/PA

Feb 16

This is my very, very, very favorite song on the album....

New Posts
  • (Surprise Piano Version) This extremely early rundown of Book of Liars by The 11TOW band [Adam Rogers (Guitar): Fima Ephron (Bass): Ben Perowsky (Drums): John Beasley (Keyboards): Dean Parks (Guitar)] is interesting on several counts, not the least of which is the peek it affords into the studio process . Walter enjoyed almost everything the band played as it emerged from their interaction, rather then from any strong a priori “instruction” he offered. The rule seemed to be: Let’s just play it. See what we see. It’s interesting, for example, to hear one of the first rundowns of this tune took on a sort of calypso vibe. Yet all the tracks invariably developed, changed —through a combination of the creativity and explorations of the musicians playing together, and the small, subtle shaping that Walter would occasionally offer. It’s probably too obvious to observe that the feel of the final versions as we all know them from Whack and Alive in America traveled quite a distance from this earliest rundown. The 11TOW recorded version of this song has also long inspired speculation a’plenty about that rather unique keyboard solo. Here, on one of the earliest rundowns — and with only the above musicians in the room — we hear what might be its etiology. The quasi-comic conducting Walter would often exercise is in evidence here — “big piano passage”….then “Piano solo. Surprise piano solo!” (sandwiching an expression of juvenile gun-lust). A playful response follows, and that we hear a “yeah” during the staccato playing leads one to suspect the die on this one was cast early on; there was just something about that general vibe of this early keyboard part that he wanted preserved in the recorded version. We'll leave it to the listener to hypothesize who did or did not play the recorded solo or, at the very least, from whence its inspiration sprang. We see it springing right here. Then there’s “Fima’s got it” as a few players seem to momentarily lose their bearings in the unfamiliar chart….and of course the wonderful end-talk about different ideas for “the bridgy kinda thing”….and, well, from 5:14 out…that’s our Walter all over, isn’t it? Hope you enjoy. D-Mod P.S. Speaking of Book of Liars: Don Breithaupt's band Monkey House released a new album TODAY with their own cover of Becker's Book of Liars! You may know Don from previous Monkey House albums or from his insightful look at Steely Dan's Aja album for the 33-1/3 series. "As a lifelong Steely Dan fan, Walter's death hit me hard," said Don. "I thought it'd be a nice gesture to do one of his." The new album, " Friday ," also features the talents of Steely Dan musicians Michael Leonhart and Drew Zingg. It's a damn fine album, and it looks like listeners agree—" Friday " is currently sitting at the #1 spot on iTunes' Jazz charts. Congrats to Don and Monkey House! - Matt
  • 1997 He Wants You (Out) words & music Walter Becker (1997) © Zeon Music LLC 2018 Well we all ride together in this world Fall together where we stand And we all got one slim chance to be heard It's all written in the plan This is all I ask of you Tell me sweetness tell me true From that very first soul kiss You knew it would be like this We all ride together in this world Well didn't we just girl He reads you — he reads you loud and clear He wants you — he wants you out of here He needs you — you and what army dear He wants you — he wants you out of here Well we all need protection from the pain For protection we will pay And we all seek the shelter from the rain Here comes that rainy day It won't make it real again Not all the horses all the men It won't do you any good Not all the pills in Hollywood We all need protection now and then Here it is again He loves you —he loves your story dear He wants you — he wants you out of here He sees you — he sees you disappear He wants you — he wants you out of here Well we all ride together in this world Wait forever on the curb And we all ask for much more than we need And we get what we deserve He hears you — he's seeming not to hear He wants you — he wants you out of here He's got you — he's had you up to here He wants you — he wants you out of here He needs you — you and what army dear He wants you — he wants you out of here He reads you — he reads you loud and clear He wants you — he wants you out of here Another one of Becker's infamous "Love Songs"! Anyone woman at all familiar with his Whack work and demos would think long and hard before sweetly trilling "write me a love song, dahling!" -- knowing she was as likely to get one of these than an Almost Gothic  or a  Paging Audrey . That musical bouquet of his was always as likely to conceal a shiv than sweet-nothings. This tune was one of three demos Walter sent me on a DAT in late 1997  (ever-thoughtful, he bundled it with a portable "Walkman"-type DAT player. Sort of like Voyager. I was impressed). I asked him: "so these are rejects from Whack ?" to which he replied nah,  just a few things he'd been working on lately. By this time he was  deep into writing for Two Against Nature  with Fagen, so it took me a couple of beats to realize that after his Whack  work, he and his Opcode had apparently just kept on trucking along.  He must have liked this one, must have been keeping it on his "potentially active" list, since he was still occasionally listening to it few years later... he was one afternoon in late '99 .... PS: His vocals on these three '97 demos were uncommonly lackluster, to put it kindly.  One of them, in fact -- a tune called The Love You Ax -- will remain forever sealed, falling into the rare category of the demo vocal  he would never allow out of the box. It's a nice tune though; perhaps one day 'll post an instrumental of its solo and outro, for a sense of its feel. I just have to guess first  if that would make more of you pissed or pleased.