Donald Fagan Wanted Michael McDonald To Front Steely Dan
Friday, June 14, 2013
Donald Fagan Wanted Michael McDonald To Front Steely Dan
Steely Dan's Donald Fagen has always been one of rock's most reluctant frontmen. In fact, he revealed to us that during the sessions for 1975's Katy Lied, Fagen actually wanted then-session singer -- and soon-to-be Doobie Brother Michael McDonald to take over lead vocal duties for the band. McDonald, who was a keyboardist and vocalist in Steely Dan's last touring band before quitting the road, went on to perform on 1976's The Royal Scam, 1977's Aja, and 1980's Gaucho.
Fagen admitted that he was pushing for McDonald to front the band as soon as he heard him sing: "Actually, when I heard him, I said. . . y'know, 'cause I had never planned to be singer, that kind of happened by accident. My first thought was, 'Hey, let's make him the lead singer. 'Cause, 'y'know, we'd only done a couple of albums and I figured, 'Hey, why not change mid-stream.' But, I was voted down. They didn't think it was a good I dead to mix. . . I could play instead of a big front man, which I'm still, y'know, I'm still dealing with."
Walter Becker says that he and Donald Fagen making the executive decision to use only studio players on their last few albums made a world of difference in the sound of their work: "Y'know, we had decided maybe an album before The Royal Scam, we had decided to change the format by which we were recording to a completely open format where it would be whatever musicians we wanted to use -- which I think was very productive and beneficial for us and just sort of satisfying to play with all of these great players that we admired at the time." 
Steely Dan tour dates (subject to change):
July 19 - Atlantic City, NJ - Ovation Hall 
July 20 - Canandaigua, NY - Constellation Brands - Marvin Sands PAC (CMAC) 
July 21 - Toronto, ON - Molson Canadian Amphitheatre 
July 23 - Cleveland, OH - Jacobs Pavilion At Nautica 
July 24 - Kettering, OH - Fraze Pavilion For The Performing Arts 
July 26 - Louisville, KY - The Louisville Palace Theatre 
July 27 - Detroit, MI - Fox Theatre 
July 28 - Milwaukee, WI - Riverside Theatre 
July 30 - Fort Wayne, IN - Embassy Theatre 
August 1, 2 - Highland Park, IL - Ravinia Festival At Ravinia Park 
August 2 - Indianapolis, IN - Murat Theatre 
August 5 - St. Louis, MO - Peabody Opera House 
August 6 - Omaha, NE - Orpheum Theater 
August 8 - Morrison, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheatre 
August 10 - Salt Lake City, UT - Red Butte Garden 
August 11 - Boise, ID - Idaho Botanical Garden 
August 13 - Troutdale, OR - McMenamins Edgefield Amphitheater 
August 15 - Redmond, WA - King County's Marymoor Park 
August 17 - San Francisco, CA - America's Cup Pavilion 
August 18 - Reno, NV - Reno Events Center 
August 20 - Santa Barbara, CA Santa Barbara Bowl 
August 21 - San Diego, CA - Humphrey's Concerts By The Bay 
August 23 - Las Vegas, NV - Pearl Concert Theater 
August 24, 25 - Los Angeles, CA - Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE 
August 28 - Austin, TX - Bass Concert Hall 
August 30 - The Woodlands, TX - The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion 
August 31 - Grand Prairie, TX - Verizon Theatre At Grand Prairie 
September 3 - Kansas City, MO - The Midland By AMC 
September 4 - Tulsa, OK - Brady Theater 
September 6 - Memphis, TN - Mud Island Amphitheatre 
September 7 - Alpharetta, GA - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre 
At Encore Park 
September 8 - Saint Augustine, FL - St. Augustine Amphitheatre 
September 11 - Orlando, FL - Hard Rock Cafe / Hard Rock Live 
September 12 - Boca Raton, FL - Mizner Park Amphitheatre 
September 14 - Clearwater, FL - Ruth Eckerd Hall 
September 15 - North Charleston, SC - North Charleston Performing Arts Center 
September 17 - Charlotte, NC - Time Warner Cable Uptown Amphitheatre 
September 18 - Raleigh, NC - Red Hat Amphitheatre 
September 20 - Bristow, VA - Jiffy Lube Live 
September 21 - Philadelphia, PA - Mann Center for Performing Arts 
September 24, 25 - Boston, MA - Wang Theatre at Citi Performing Arts Center 
September 27 - Bethlehem, PA - Sands Bethlehem Event Center 
September 28 - Mashantucket, CT - MGM Grand At Foxwoods

Photo Courtesy of Danny Clinch
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