Seeing Steely Dan at the Beacon is a long-standing Libby & Matthew tradition. Since 2011, when we bought tickets to Rarities Night and were treated to the only performance EVER of “The Second Arrangement,” we’ve made it a point to meet in the city and see The Dan perform a hometown show.
Our show was “By Request.” We requested “The Second Arrangement,” but I would have been happy with “King of the World.” Matthew bought me a Beacon exclusive tee-shirt to add to my collection.
Our seats were Becker-side, between a man-spreading Steely Dad and a humorless woman who talked about how she hoped they played “Aja” (they always play “Aja”) and then talked about how Rikki Lee Jones helped her get through her first divorce. As the jazz trio started, she talked over that (“Oh, who are they? I didn’t see that that there was going to be jazz. I heard Steely Dan started an hour and a half late the other night, well, you know these union guys….”
I did not get the sense that she was ever going to shut up, so I loudly announced that I needed a drink and Matthew and I relocated to the back of the balcony, where we sat during last October’s “Greatest Hits” night on the Rockabye Gollie Angel tour.
Earlier in the day I mentioned to Matthew that my life goal was to one day buy out all the seats around me and sit alone, reigning over the other concert-goers like the Queen of Steely Dan so that I didn’t have to hear people run their mouth the whole damn time (what kind of a jackhole talks through a whole concert?) I got my wish. Not a single other person sat in our section. Marvelous!
But Don & Walt were running late. The crowd was getting restless. People were yelling, demanding they come out on stage, chanting “Steely Dan! Steely Dan!” One man screamed that he was going to miss his bus. Baby Boomers, stop acting like children.
Binghamton, 2006. I’m 23, living in a fire-trap basement apartment in the ghetto. I’m that kind of art-poverty broke where I live on black coffee and scrambled eggs and dinner is paid on for on a rotating basis between whichever one of us got paid that week. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with my life except that I know I want to write and listen to records. Out of college just over a year, I’m kicking myself for not having spent more time in music classes because I’ve got a subscription to Spin and being a music journalist would have been a kick-ass career.
I started a blog, Kill Your Ipod and reviewed shitty CDs from indie bands that I solicited over email. No one read it except a couple of stalkers. I wasn’t even sure how to write about music. I lacked the technical language; all I had was this intense passion, this gut feeling whenever I listened to Tom Waits or Warren Zevon or the patchwork of mix CDs that stood in for conversation with boys I liked. I hung around the record store and worked at FYE like a model waiting tables, hoping the right person might notice me and ask me to move back to NYC to write for some new music magazine.
I’ve been a disciple of the webseries Yacht Rock for years (thanks to Matthew, of course). It helped re-awaken my love for smooth music, plus it’s funny as hell and I think that JD Ryznar is super-cute. (I think my love of midwestern guys as firmly been established on this blog).
So naturally, when the guys of Yacht Rock got on Twitter to promote the newBeyond Yacht Rock podcast, I stalked them until one fateful day when JD messaged me to tell me that he enjoyed my Record Saturday pick. I seriously fangirled, everybody. Like, embarrassingly so. We got chatting more, and I sent him a copy of The Big Rewind. And when they started The Captain’s Blog, I offered to write for them. He accepted my pitch, and the essay, titled “I F**king Love Steely Dan & You Should Too” was published earlier this week.
It was, to put it mildly, a hit. It’s also the most honest thing I’ve ever written, coming straight from the gut. I really do love Steely Dan that much.
The essay is here. It contains extremely vulgar language and threats of violence, so if you’re my Dad, please don’t read it. You’ve been warned. They are always seeking content, so send them a pitch!
If any writers would like to contribute, email your pitch to yachtrock at yachtrock dot com (new email!) https://t.co/CH7rnj8qwT
During tonight’s Record Saturday live-tweet of The Replacements Let It Be, tweet me a pic (@libbycudmore) of you in your teenage years. Yearbook photos, class trip candids, the more angsty, goofy or dated, the better!
Three winners will receive a hand-picked record from the vaults of Record Saturday. You have until Sunday, Aug. 28 to reply, and make sure to tag your photo #RecordSaturday so that I see it.
I discovered the Tragically Hip in 2005, when I was working at a tiny sandwich shop in Cobleskill. The owner, who’s name I have long forgotten, would put on In Between Evolution. It was magic. It was like love. I asked her to burn me a copy, because I was so poor from the lousy wages she paid that I could barely afford rent on the apartment I shared with my sister, let alone a CD. She obliged, and that album became the soundtrack to one last hometown summer and of the strange year in New York that would eventually inspire The BigRewind.
And last night, my love for The Hip was rekindled as they performed for three hours in their final concert, broadcast live on the CBC. And not final as in “We’ll get back together in five years and tour again and you’ll pay big money to see it, suckers.” Final as in no more, the end, forever, because Gord Downie has terminal brain cancer at age 52.
I haven’t been to SPAC in about 15 years, but I was absolutely not going to miss seeing Steely Dan in my own backyard. My friend Thor was my date, and although the forecast was foreboding, we arrived armed with umbrellas, ponchos and chairs so that we didn’t have to sit on the wet, muddy ground.
My biggest worry with SPAC was that since we had lawn seats, the sound wouldn’t be that good. Those fears were quickly assuaged when Steve Winwood took the stage. He couldn’t sound more clear if I was listening to a CD in my car. Continue reading
While my sisters and peers were in love with Devon Sawa and JTT, I was crushing on Matthew Modine in Cutthroat Island and Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park. While they were listening to Mariah Carey and Blink 182 on Fly 92, I was calling in to B 95.5, the adult contemporary station, in hopes of hearing George Benson’s “Turn Your Love Around.”
When I discovered The Smiths and Siouxsie & The Banshees in high school, then Tom Waits in college, I could finally feel cool. Sure, it was a hipster-goth kind of cool, eschewing the flair-leg jeans and trucker
Bask in my total fucking coolness (or don’t, who cares.)
hats of the early-2000s for Doc Martens and cabby caps. I discovered a lot of incredible music during this time period, aided by some awesome mix CDs from great people.
When I was a teenager, I LOVED buying thrift-store clothes and altering them. (Like everything I did, I did this before it was cool. What can I say? I’m a trend-setter). I was a teen in the age on JNCOs and pointy-toe stiletto boots, and a goth girl, to boot. I had to make due with what I had, but as a result, I had some amazingly cool clothes.
And although my days of wearing cigarette-cut pants trimmed with neon purple boas are over, the ability to tear something down and salvage the good pieces again is really coming in handy on my Work in Progress.
I’ve written almost two full first drafts of a new novel, and both of them are going to be scrapped. The first draft was like a pair of fancy cut-offs: Cut out the pieces with the holes worn through, but embellish what’s left. The second draft, it seems, is going to be more like an old concert shirt, stretched and faded beyond use. Cut out the best part and see if there’s something else you can sew it onto–a tank top, a tote bag, a throw pillow. Make something useful out of scraps.
I got in a Twitter fight the other day with some guy I went to grad school with over who “Rikki” in Steely Dan’s “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” is. Common lore is that it’s a Bard classmate of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, author Rikki Ducornet, who claims to any half-baked rag that will listen that Fagen gave her his phone number at a party one time and, guess what? She lost it! Crazy, huh?
There’s just one problem with her story. Fagen won’t confirm, and at times has flat out denied her account on multiple occasions.
But of course, Grad School Guy insisted that he “believed Rikki” and attempted to repeatedly mansplain Steely Dan to me, a girl who’s first chapter is titled “Brooklyn (Owes the Charmer Under Me).” Not a good idea.
I’ve had more than one person confront me on my deep loathing of Billy Joel since the publication of The Big Rewind and a series of tweets decrying the fact that “Only The Good Die Young” is a serious neg and terrible song in it’s own right. But I value you, dear readers, and so I feel that it’s time to come clean with this black mark on my soul.
You want to know why I hate Billy Joel? Because I used to fucking love Billy Joel.