Sunday, September 3, 2017


So another good one’s gone – Walter Becker (1940- 2017).

He was one of those characters whose music I loved and about whose private life I knew exceptionally little.

I suppose I was vaguely aware that he’d had problems with addiction and I knew he’d lived in Hawaii – what I didn’t know till I read the obits and the appreciations was that he moved there to quit his addictions and become an avocado farmer.  As detox programs go it’s a very novel one.

Beyond that I can’t find anything about his food habits or preferences – I’d guess that being an avocado farmer would pretty much make you hate avocados.

Of course there are of plenty of boozy references in the Steely Dan canon, from scotch whisky to retsina, from pina coladas to Kirschwasser.   Food makes fewer and less memorable appearances – a mention of salad in “Only a Fool Would Say That” – a reference to Mr Chow’s Szechuan dumplings in “Glamor Professions” and there’s Pretzel Logic, naturally.

But while on the search I did find a quotation from Donald Fagen about why he liked going out on the road with a band of young musicans:  "It's great hanging around with twentysomethings, they know all the good places to eat in town. I've been eating a lot of exotic food -- for me, at least. I'm more of, like, a grilled cheese guy."

Seems surprising.  If I’d ever given it any thought I’d have had Becker down as the grilled cheese guy, but like I say, I knew next to nothing of his private life.

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