A few months ago, I finally sent a fan letter to Steely Dan. I haven’t received a response, nor do I expect to, but that’s not what the letter was about.
It was about actually doing things that you have the impulse to do, and following through. It’s a new path I’m trying to accomplish, since so many things have been on the back burner for years, I’m actually attempting to clear some of those projects out and make them a reality. Since the volume can be a little overwhelming at times, I’m going to start small.
Some background – on a trip out to LA, my wife and I visited with Scott and Al and Scott from the band ‘Pop Machine‘. We hit the recording studio and the local hangouts and one of the conversations we had was about Steely Dan. I somehow got a copy of some sheet music for Aja, and in the forward, it mentioned how Steely Dan got their classic ‘sound’. They decided to write their songs in only one key, and an odd one at that. Dm7.
If you ever pull up a guitar and try that scale, you can see it’s melodic, but it’s a different progression that you’re used to – and has a unique sound you can’t quite place, but you know it when you hear it. That’s how you can tell a Becker/Fagan song, even if they’re solo or together.
So – I bring up that fact, and it gets Al’s mind thinking. What’s the one song that Steely Dan would never do, and then arrange the song as if they had written it. He settled on ‘Louie, Louie’.
Al took the riff from ‘Do it again’, and tweaked it with an island flair. Then they put the tune on one of their compilation cassettes sent out to friends of Pop Machine, and it sat in an archive for 16 years.
Fast Forward to 2008 – I connected with Al after a decade or so of occasional e-mails this spring, and stumbled upon his archive music project ‘The 365 Music Project‘ – quite the accomplishment. I came across the song, and always wondered how the guys from Steely Dan would react when they heard it, but forgot about it. So I decided to try and find out.
Using our pal the internet, I tracked down their web site, and I think I’ve send them this letter. I have no idea if they’ve actually read it, but it’d be cool to find out the rest of the story….
From: Tom Giarrosso
Sent: Jun 26, 2008 7:27 AM
Subject: Interesting SD cover of Louie Louie you should get a laugh out of…
I’m friends with a band called Pop Machine – it’s a group from
our old Syracuse University days 25 years ago… one of the member,
Allan Morgan, decided to do an experiment, and ended up posting his
old version of a SD inspired Louie Louie. Here’s the link to his ‘Song
a day for 365 days’ experiment. It’s worth a chuckle. It’ one of those
things that I always thought it might be cool for SD to actually hear
it and see if they were slightly amused at a fan tribute.
My favorite of their few cover songs in they’re interpretation of
Boyce-Hart’s ‘(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone’. I’d add the url link,
but some of the filters kick out mail with more than one link.
Thanks for the great music, and sorry I missed you in Boston this
tour. Life gets in the way sometimes….
I’ll post any updates if The Dan responds – or if someone has a more direct e-mail to get this message to them – I’m not positive their webmaster forwards them their mail.