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Donald Fagen is Keeping His Sense of Humor in Isolation


As the world fights a pandemic, we’ve been reaching out to some of our favorite artists to get their takes on these unprecedented times. Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen responded to a few quarantine questions via email (printed exactly as-is, per his request) in his characteristically sardonic manner, saluting his heroes Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, and nodding to the incredibly dangerous presidential suggestion that injecting disinfectants like bleach or isopropyl alcohol into the human body could somehow help fight COVID-19.

In the three years since the death of Steely Dan co-founder Walter Becker, Fagen has continued to tour regularly with the group. Last year, the band staged residencies in several cities where they played a different classic album in full each night. As of now, Steely Dan is set to embark on a 23-date North American tour with Steve Winwood this summer, though that run could still be postponed or canceled in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

What are you doing with your unexpected time at home?
I’m hangin’ tight in the Apple, baby, gargling Clorox under a sunlamp.

What music do you turn to in times of crisis for solace and comfort and why?
Bird and Diz, son, because the rebop is so mega-sweet and I don’t want to be no L-7.

Anything else you want to say to your fans right now?
Yow! It’s the Nightfly here with a shout-out to all the finger-poppin’ cats and kittys! What can I say? The Prez has a loose wig and it’s tragic. So dig the docs and hunker down in your hidey-holes until they say it’s cool to hit the downbeat. Check out some sounds! Stretch out your frame, and like that. Later, gate, ‘cause I gotta go!

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