10 Times Steely Dan Completely Ran Out Of F**ks To Give

The band's sardonic humor match their personal lives and relationship with music establishment.

In their review of the classic 1977 album Aja, Rolling Stone dubbed Steely Dan €œthe perfect musical antiheroes for the Seventies.€ To this day, that remains the best description for one of the most mystifying bands in rock history. Often dismissed as muzak by hipsters and punks, the Dan are actually a pretty badass band. It€™s not just that the music is great €“ Steely Dan embodies an ethos that is sardonic, deadpan and anti-authoritarian. Beneath the jazz chords, harmonies and immaculate professionalism, the songwriting duo of Donald Fagen (keyboards, vocals) and Walter Becker (guitars, bass) are a riddle wrapped in an enigma shrouded by angst. If being cool means staying true to an artistic credo, Steely Dan is it, man. When the pop music mainstream was obsessed with hard rock and disco, Becker and Fagen took their cues from Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington. Naturally, such misfits and iconoclasts have their claims to perverse fame outside the musical realm as well. From the music establishment to their own musical contemporaries, Steely Dan has never much cared what anyone else thought of them. They certainly aren€™t for everybody €“ but they don€™t give a f*ck about anybody else.
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Kyle Schmidlin is a writer and musician living in Austin, TX. He manages the news blog at thirdrailnews.wordpress.com. Follow him at facebook.com/kyleschmidlin or twitter.com/kyleschmidlin1.