Donald Fagen Quotes

Musician and songwriter Donald Fagen, best known as the co-founder (along with partner Walter Becker) and lead singer of the rock band Steely Dan.

“My style is a little quirky. I can’t play as fast as most professional jazz players.” – Donald Fagen

“I took some lessons as a kid but trained myself by ear. I did it the way jazz musicians used to learn years ago, which is to play records and slow them down to figure out the notes. At first I tried to imitate Red Garland, who was my favorite jazz pianist.” – Donald Fagen

“I’ve never done it before. I might do a few Steely Dan things that I particularly like, but it’ll mainly be my stuff.” – Donald Fagen

“My writing is really intuitive. As a kid, I went to school in New Jersey and hung out in New York, so the way kids used to talk got into our earlier songs.” – Donald Fagen

“Popularity has everything to do with business and nothing to do with music.” – Donald Fagen

“As jazz fans, it was amusing for us to play jazz harmonies on these big, ugly electric guitars.” – Donald Fagen

“When you get a groove going, time flies.” – Donald Fagen

“I’ve never been comfortable as a lead performer, and I never wanted to be a singer, particularly.” – Donald Fagen

“I had trouble distinguishing art from life. I don’t now, and I feel much better!” – Donald Fagen

“Randy Newman seemed like an even worse singer than me. I liked Ray Charles, Levi Stubbs, Jack Jones, Joe Tex, Wilson Pickett.” – Donald Fagen

“Anthemic rock music is inherently fascist – anything intended to move huge masses of people is politically offensive to me.” – Donald Fagen

“I like it when songs develop in some way. Four minutes usually isn’t enough time for something to develop musically.” – Donald Fagen

“It’s great to know that our old stuff still sounds good to our fans, just as it’s wonderful to think that we’ve turned a few people on to jazz over the years.” – Donald Fagen

“I’m starting to get older, and began to think about mortality a little more. My mother died in 2003 and that was a big shock. When your parents start to die off, that’s going to be a revelation. So for me, this album – although it might sound quite cheery – is really talking about death.” – Donald Fagen

“I have a critical nature, in the sense that when I look at something I often look for the flaws.” – Donald Fagen

“People are usually afraid to say what’s on their mind.” – Donald Fagen

“What do you do with what you’re given, and how do you transform it into something worthwhile?” – Donald Fagen

“We’re not getting any younger.” – Donald Fagen

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