Wednesday, September 20, 2017

One more thing about Walter Becker...

I'm afraid I've made him out to be the Godfather of Shoegaze, when nothing could be further from the truth. Dude was funny, for real -- often (nearly always?) about matter that, when discussed soberly, induces squirms of discomfort among both the hip and the square.

"You're going to like this [music] in a year or so, so why don't you start now and save yourself some time?" -- Becker's college attitude toward the reluctant hep-cat. And if "Comedy is tragedy plus time"* Becker's (and Fagen's) impulse was to get the laughs in as early as possible.

Similarly, his musicianship -- Becker had his own guitar sound, and it suited his character. clean, precise, funny.

Yep: funny.

My friend says the first time he put Two Against Nature into the family CD player and gave it a spin, his six-year-old daughter burst out laughing when Becker ripped the guitar solo on "Gaslighting Abbie."**

Me too, kid.

*"Tragedy plus Time equals Comedy" -- Steve Allen, in 1957, apparently.

**"Gaslighting" -- in his reluctant pan of the albumNick Hornby rather grumpily cited this [to him, at that time] baffling, opaque term as an example of Fagen and Becker's gleeful willingness to court listener alienation. Who knew it would become a contemporary vernacular mainstay? Here is just the most current example.

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