I’ve always loved Steely Dan’s music. I can see straight linear connections between both theirs and Frank Zappa’s music: the luscious brass sections (in particular with regard to Grande/Petite Wazoo, FZ’s ’88 tour, and so on), the odd chord changes (if, to put it lightly, perhaps more subtle in the case of SD), the obscure, idiosyncratic lyrics, obsessively controlled musical improvisation, above all the superb musicianship. And a sense of humor.
But for some reason Steely Dan gets all the FM airplay, and Zappa close to never got any. Steely Dan throughout their career played “The Trojan Horse” card: faux easy listening with the lyrics acting as a sinister under-the-belt sting — whereas FZ made it his trade to always be up front and confrontational. Opposites. Which funnily enough, they both ended up benefiting from.
Are you guys ‘n gals Steely Dan fans? What are your favorites? If not, what puts you off about their tightly studio-controlled recordings?