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Steely Dan
Old 15th July 2005
  #1
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Steely Dan

Wow all the CD's (albums) Steely Dan put out were very well recorded ,starting with Pretzel Logic. thumbsup ..It would be cool to have Gary Katz Or Rodger Nichols as a moderator for a couple weeks --- any Steely fans out there heh
Old 16th July 2005
  #2
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
Having worked with Gary Katz [we co-produced an album... he was the "executive producer" who did all the filler crap... I was the lesser producer who did the radio singles] I can say with a fair bit of authority that Mr. Katz couldn't tell his ass from his elbow... I am quite convinced that his roll with Steely Dan was budget mismanagment and joint roller because he knows less about music than my 11 yr. old daughter.

I'm sure Roger would do it if there were money involved... but I don't really know him that well.
Old 16th July 2005
  #3
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mikey's Avatar
 

well heh hi Fletcher
Well maybe its Rodger we need to talk to .I use to read and try to follow his articles but i wonder how they got that great sound
Old 16th July 2005
  #4
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scotty-o's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikey
I use to read and try to follow his articles but i wonder how they got that great sound
IMHO, a lot of that starts with people like Bernard Purdy and Denny Diaz playing on their records.

-Scotty
Old 16th July 2005
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty-o
IMHO, a lot of that starts with people like Bernard Purdy and Denny Diaz playing on their records.

-Scotty
thumbsup

Right on....

Quote:
I can say with a fair bit of authority that Mr. Katz couldn't tell his ass from his elbow... I am quite convinced that his roll with Steely Dan was budget mismanagment and joint roller because he knows less about music than my 11 yr. old daughter.
I love hearing stuff like that from time to time, makes me feel better about only being a mortal. That I know something more than someone (anyone) involved with Steely Dan makes me feel better about myself....

hepp
Old 16th July 2005
  #6
Gear Nut
 
pitman's Avatar
 

Definition of Anal Retentive=Steely Dan (Fagen & Becker)

Small excerpt from an interview with Roger Nichols. May be of interest.


BS: Was Donald and Walter's contribution equal?
RN: It was always Donald and Walter together. They're both equally talented and it really was a fifty-fifty operation. Either one of them could've done the records alone, but you can tell there is a difference when both of them bounce ideas off each other. They get fine-tuned that much more. Walter's a great guitar player. The only thing is, he takes a long time to do solos, about an hour a bar, so it takes us a day to do an eight-bar solo. When we started using studio musicians, Walter would show 'em what he wanted, so the later guitar parts were very much influenced by him.

BS: How did Fagen and Becker get so much out of jaded session musicians?
RN: It's like the musical Olympics. Here's a musician whose style and capability they know, and they'll push him to ten percent beyond his limits. Just the chords they've written and the things they have in their mind; maybe Larry Carlton's not used to playing these scales over these chords. Another big factor is that we don't care how long it takes. The musicians will say, 'Hey, I'm really sorry it's taking so long. It's a great idea, I'm trying to execute it,' and we say, 'We don't care how long you take.' It's all constructively done, and it just takes a long time to do it. But every time somebody comes out, they say they've never played that well in their lives. And then they always want to come back.

BS: What's the story behind the solo in "Peg," which apparently frustrated an awful lot of guitarists?
RN: There were only eight guitarists who tried that tune, not thirty. It was just that everyone had their own idea of what the solo should be, and it just didn't match up to what Donald and Walter expected of it. Jay Graydon was their last ditch effort -- it became the Jay Graydon solo by default. It came out pretty much the way they had in mind, though. Usually they'd put a band together for the rhythm sections based on the tune and the style of the musicians: 'These three guys will work together on this tune, let's put 'em together and try it.' Sometimes it worked out, sometimes it didn't quite work out, so you'd put together another rhythm date later with a different combination. But it wasn't like there were ten tunes to cut and you tried to cut five different bands on all ten, and then picked the best one. It sort of got blown all out of proportion by the times the rumors started spreading around 'Eighty-five bands tried that tune!'

BS: How were the duties of Gary Katz and yourself divided?
RN: It worked out pretty well. Once in a while I'd have to slam him against the wall, keep him in line. 'I'm not doing that! Kerrump!' But it's just one of those things that clicks. The musicians pretty much know what they want. They're in charge of that, I'm in charge of getting it on tape and making it sound great.

BS: And Gary Katz's specialty?
RN: Hiring and firing musicians. (Roger laughs) No, Gary's good at getting the most out of Donald when he's doing his vocals. The rest of the time it was pretty much Donald and Walter leading the musicians down the right path, and then Gary Katz more or less the executive producer.

BS: As Steely Dan's records grew more mature, the complaint began to be heard that they were too perfect, that the raw edges had been homogenized out. How do you feel about that?
RN: We achieved perfection and abandoned it on the second album all in one evening. I remember mixing "King of the World." Everyone else went home; Gary Katz fell asleep on the floor and Denny Dias and I stayed until seven in the morning, doing it in little sections, getting the balance between all the instruments perfect, then on to the next section, all of it perfect. Then we spliced the 2-track master sections together, which is how we used to mix down before we got the Necam digital mixing system. The next afternoon we came to the studio and played it back; the song started, and then the fade came. We went, 'Wait a minute. Did we leave something out? What's going on here?' And we played it back again and we had to really concentrate to realize the song was going by. You could hear everything, but you couldn't hear anything, like sonic wallpa-per- really strange. We ended up using the mix we'd done ten hours before which had more three-dimensionality to it.

BS: Tell us about Wendel, the drum machine you designed.
RN: We found that there were certain feels that we couldn't get out of real drummers -- they weren't steady enough. So we had to design something that would do it perfectly, but with some human feeling, the right amount of layback. Instead of just one high-hat sound that repeats machine-like over and over, we had sixteen different ones, so it had the inflections. Wendel can play exactly what the drummer plays -- if he plays a little early or a little hard, Wendel plays it a little early or a little hard. Play it once, Wendel memorizes the song, then you play it again and it repeats what it hears.
Old 16th July 2005
  #7
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mikey's Avatar
 

that was cool thanks
Old 16th July 2005
  #8
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Gravity8058's Avatar
 

Steely Dan

The Neve 8058 at our studio, Gravity (in Chicago) was previously at Automated Studios in NYC, where it was used for much of the recording on Gaucho.
Old 19th July 2005
  #9
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Nice one pitman!
Old 19th July 2005
  #10
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I'm sure Rodger can answer all your questions on his very own forum. Seems to be a cool place althougth I havent been there in a bit and he has answered a few posts regarding Steely Dan in detail. Just do a search on his forum and type in 'Steely Dan'.

Also some more info on his website.

There are some interviews etc where he talks about Steely Dan.

Hope that helps. Maybe Jules can get him as a guest Mod. thumbsup

Shane
Old 19th July 2005
  #11
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mikey's Avatar
 

oh very cool what am i doing here heh
Old 19th July 2005
  #12
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mikey's Avatar
 

Old 19th July 2005
  #13
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Mike O's Avatar
 

There is also an archive of a forum RN used to moderate here. . Your should be aware that the last year or so of that forum's life he was not a very active moderator.

I don't recall a tremendous amount of SD trivia but there instances were he helped with specific recording problems (analog/digi sync issues for example) that were helpful. You might of course be able to find a lot of this kind of stuff somewhere else (GS?).

With respect to SD trivia (or any other artist IMO) take what you hear from ANY of the participants / observers with a grain of salt. Faulty memories and personal agendas abound.
Old 19th July 2005
  #14
Jules wuz here
Old 19th July 2005
  #15
Gear Nut
 

What do you guys think about their latest album, Everything Must Go? I love it. The songs are fantastic and the production, in my opinion, sounds better than anything else they've done, which is saying a lot. And supposedly it was recorded live to tape, with Becker playing bass and then overdubbing the guitar solos later. Anybody know any more about this one?
Old 19th July 2005
  #16
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Zeppelin4Life's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher
Having worked with Gary Katz [we co-produced an album... he was the "executive producer" who did all the filler crap... I was the lesser producer who did the radio singles] I can say with a fair bit of authority that Mr. Katz couldn't tell his ass from his elbow... I am quite convinced that his roll with Steely Dan was budget mismanagment and joint roller because he knows less about music than my 11 yr. old daughter.

I'm sure Roger would do it if there were money involved... but I don't really know him that well.

Fletch is he realated to Bob Katz? name sounds farmiliar in audio.

Steely is awesome. I love the work with Steve Gadd, so thats just a double plus.
Old 19th July 2005
  #17
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wallace's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikey
Wow all the CD's (albums) Steely Dan put out were very well recorded ,starting with Pretzel Logic. thumbsup ..It would be cool to have Gary Katz Or Rodger Nichols as a moderator for a couple weeks --- any Steely fans out there heh
I'm a big fan of "Countdown To Ecstacy" though it's got a different sound. Where did you find that article?
Old 19th July 2005
  #18
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mikey's Avatar
 

Location: Waco, TX
Posts: 25 What do you guys think about their latest album, Everything Must Go?

I didn't know about this release i'll pick it up heh




''Steely is awesome. I love the work with Steve Gadd, so thats just a double plus.''

what CD's did he play on
Old 19th July 2005
  #19
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mikey's Avatar
 

''The Caves of Altamira'' WTF
Old 19th July 2005
  #20
Gear Nut
 
pitman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beech
Nice one pitman!
No problem!

Always appreciated the sonics as well as the technical prowess of the musicians on their recordings. Fagen's voice is unique but not really my cup of tea. I like some of their songs but love the few stories or rumors I've heard surrounding their sessions. I'm surprised they didn't invent Pro Tools. BTW that's not a knock against Pro Tools.
Old 6th November 2006
  #21
cc1
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty-o View Post
IMHO, a lot of that starts with people like Bernard Purdy and Denny Diaz playing on their records.

-Scotty
can someone please transcribe the drum fill on home at last -located 3:12 to 3:14 min ?
Old 6th November 2006
  #22
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cc1 View Post
can someone please transcribe the drum fill on home at last -located 3:12 to 3:14 min ?
heh

Kudos especially to Bernard Purdie. Now what's with the Beatles thing, Bernard?
Old 6th November 2006
  #23
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James Lugo's Avatar
 

Home At Last is probably my all time favorite grooves... That's yummy.
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