PLEDGE NOW
Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen And ‘Eminent Hipsters’

Steely Dan frontman Donald Fagen talks “eminent hipsters” and the cultural outliers that shaped his sound. He joins us.

Rock icon Donald Fagen looks back on a lengthy and ongoing career in his new memoir 'Eminent Hipsters.' He co-founded the classic rock group Steely Dan with Walter Becker in 1972. (Penguin Books USA)

Rock icon Donald Fagen looks back on a lengthy and ongoing career in his new memoir ‘Eminent Hipsters.’ He co-founded the classic rock group Steely Dan with Walter Becker in 1972. (Penguin Books USA)

If you want to know what aging rock stars are thinking on stage when they’re still touring at 65, be careful about asking Steely Dan frontman Donald Fagen.  He hates an awful lot of it.  Feels like a performing monkey, he writes.  Daydreams about a fire in the hall.  Sees a crowd so old he wants to call out bingo numbers.  Yikes!  Steely Dan was giant in the 1970s.  Jazz-pop with a lineage of inspiration that Fagen lays out in a new memoir.  The “eminent hipsters,” he writes, that lit up his world.  Earl Hines, Charles Mingus, more.  Up next On Point:  Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen on the life, and “eminent hipsters.”

– Tom Ashbrook

Guest

Donald Fagen, Rock And Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Multiple Grammy Award-winning musician, songwriter, and, essayist. Co-founder and lead singer of the band Steely Dan. Author of “Eminent Hipsters.” (@SteelyDanSays)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Telegraph: “Eminent Hipsters” by Donald Fagen, review — “As you can tell from this, the 65-year-old American, a proud snark in his youth, has matured into a rabidly grumpy old man. But thankfully age has not stripped him of his keen wit and nose for elegant prose. Rock stars are not necessarily sensitive wordsmiths or deep self-analysts by nature – their life stories, documenting a rake’s progress through narcotics and women, tend to be tossed off as record sales dwindle. In his usual contrary fashion, Fagen has decided instead to create a collage of writing made up of critical essays (some previously published) on the cultural heroes or ‘eminent hipsters’ of his youth, combined with his recent tour diary.”

Grantland: Donald Fagen Exposes Unbridled Contempt for Fans in “Eminent Hipsters” – “He’s smart, he’s witty, he has impeccable taste in pretty much everything, he’s extremely cranky, he seems a little lonely in the world, and he’s likely far more vulnerable than he lets on. You’ll learn as much about him as you will from listening to his records. But the nectar of hatred served up by Eminent Hipsters is too sweet not to taste.”

Slate: Reelin’ In the Years – “Perhaps it’s always a mixed bag when we access the inner thoughts of our childhood idols. We don’t want them humanized. Don’t really want to know about their quotidian concerns, their insecurities. ‘Gods do not answer letters,’ John Updike wrote of baseball deity Ted Williams, who refused to acknowledge even the applause of his own fans. Yes, contemporary pop celebrities take to Twitter each time they buy a new pair of sneakers. But ‘twas not ever thus. Twentieth century rock gods, in particular, ascended to pop-culture Olympus on the wings of their unreachable, unknowable cool.”

Read An Excerpt From “Eminent Hipsters” by Donald Fagen

Playlist

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 6, 2015
An armed police officer stands guard on a road near the Curtis Culwell Center where a provocative contest for cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad was held Sunday, May 3, 2015, in Garland, Texas. The contest was put on lockdown Sunday night and attendees were being evacuated after authorities reported a shooting outside the building. (AP)

An art show featuring cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. Two would-be killers gunned down. Free speech – hate speech – where’s the line?

May 6, 2015
Students at Reed College in Portland, Ore. burn their senior thesis in the college's annual Renn Fayre, shown here in May 2014. (Reed College)

It’s that time of year – when tired college seniors across the country turn in their theses. We’ve got a great group sharing their labors of love.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 5, 2015
One of the main characters in Anthony Doerr's "All the Light We Cannot See" spends part of her childhood in the Paris Museum of Natural History (WikiCommons)

Anthony Doerr just won the Pulitzer Prize for his bestselling book “All the Light We Cannot See.” He joins us.

 
May 5, 2015
raqi security forces and allied Shiite militiamen prepare to attack Islamic State extremists in Tikrit, 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, March 31, 2015.  (AP)

Fresh upheaval in Iraq. Millions now displaced. Warnings of crisis and worse to come.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
On Pointers Share Their College Senior Thesis Topics
Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A collection of On Point staffers share their own memories of college thesis research and writing from back when it mattered to them.

More »
1 Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: May 01, 2015
Friday, May 1, 2015

What happens when we change show topics last minute, and also what happens when a New York Times headline seems to accuse Kristie Alley of being responsible for the infamous George Washington Bridge lane closures.

More »
4 Comments
 
How To Help The Survivors Of Nepal’s Devastating Earthquake
Friday, May 1, 2015

Where and how to contribute aid to the relief effort in Nepal.

More »
5 Comments