Surf And/Or Die

“It was something that actually happened in Hawaii where I lived. Based on a true story. I think actually what happened was that I started writing a little poem about the fact that this guy left a phone message for me that I didn’t pick up until after he was dead. And I had this other piece of music, and I just kind of welded them together.”Walter Becker (845)

Cousin Dupree

“It’s in the folk humour tradition involving a rural, inbred family, although I think it’s unfair to think of it as something exclusively southern or redneck, because there are Cousin Duprees in all kinds of families. A psychiatrist told me, off the record, that the incidence of incest among his Puerto Rican patients was astounding – something like 80 per cent. Of course, the patients who attend already makes it a very specialized slice of the general population.”Walter Becker/Donald Fagen (846)

The Last Mall

Becker: When my kids got to a certain age they wanted to go to the mall every day. And I realized that malls were their cities. They were certainly emblematic of the swapping of these fake mercantile villages for real organic communities. Fagen: Without getting into what happened to America after World War II, I lived in New Jersey, one of the first states to really start that kind of development – cars and malls. I was conscious, as I grew older, of the way my mother dressed and looked, and how her whole image became more and more plasticized as the ’50s wore on – the way her hair looked, and the change from cotton into various polymers. The way she stopped cooking and started buying frozen dinners. My parents essentially bought the whole trip.”Walter Becker/Donald Fagen (847)

Everything Must Go

“Originally the phrase ‘Everything Must Go’ was associated with stores that were not in fact going out of business but were permanently pretending to go out of business as a come-on. So on one level the song is about the simulated death-throes that are so attractive to the feeding fish. And at the same time, when we were writing about this, the economy was going into a down-cycle again and people were telling themselves various stories about what it meant that their businesses were going belly-up. Was it liberating? Was it the end? Was it the beginning? And all this is in the context of 9/11, when Bush kept telling the American people, ‘Just keep shopping! Whatever you do, don’t stop shopping!’ It had that sort of Fall of the Roman Empire feel to it. And then adding nuclear power to the whole mess gives it a real finality – some real commercial impact.”Walter Becker/Donald Fagen (847)


“It is not about George W. Bush. Somebody else asked us that. But no, we didn’t think of it. We were just thinking of the Western deity – Mr. Big.”Walter Becker/Donald Fagen (847)

Green Book

“Well, we imagine a pornography beyond online pornography. A pornography involving some sort of magical remote viewing, that flirts somewhere on the borderline between jealousy and intense arousal. With things like virtual sex, you get this sense that reality itself has become kind of fugitive. Which is part of what’s created the problem we have now, because commercial reality is really a kind of virtual reality.”Walter Becker/Donald Fagen (847)

Blues Beach

Becker: I think that particular song to me, rather than being about a possible future, was more of a world of imagination and constructs. Fagen: To me it had a lot more in common with ‘Deacon Blues’ and the idea of a sort of bohemian utopia. In ‘Blues Beach’, the guy definitely has mixed feelings about the place once he gets there – hence the line “the long sad Sunday of the early resigned”.”Walter Becker/Donald Fagen (848)


Fagen: I have step kids but Walter has had experience parenting teenagers, he contributed his knowledge of teenage mores. Becker: I think what television and video games do is reminiscent of drug addiction. There’s a measure of reinforcement and a behavioral loop. Even from a metabolic point of view, a person sitting on a couch watching television burns fewer calories than a person sitting on a couch. Though far be it from me to preach.”Walter Becker/Donald Fagen (849)