Author Archives: Jude Warne

Old Uncle Fuckwad looks back: Donald Fagen pens Eminent Hipsters

“In 1964, long-playing vinyl records sounded great. It was the age of high fidelity, and even your parents were likely to have a good-sounding console or tube components and a nice set of speakers, A&R, KLH, and so on.”

Ah, the good old days! Before eight-tracks, before cassette tapes, before CDs, before Mp3 players, when vinyl was where it was at! We’re obviously all about that here—and apparently Donald Fagen, co-founder and frontman of legendary jazztastic pop-rock group Steely Dan is as well. Some readers might conclude from his new autobiographical book Eminent Hipsters that DF is some kind of cranky old man—or as he puts it, an “Old Uncle Fuckwad.” Rest assured, he is. But he’s great at it.

If you’re familiar with the musical character of Steely Dan and Donald Fagen, you’ll know that there is an intense voice of jazz music that runs throughout their body of work. And if you’re familiar with Fagen’s debut solo effort The Nightfly, you’ll also know how in touch Fagen is with the nostalgia and romance that accompanies the years spanning his teens (cue Mad Men—so does everyone else apparently!)

Eminent Hipsters traces the development and evolution of Fagen’s musical beliefs and persona by uncovering his earliest influences and the artistic experiences that helped to define who he became. Through this, we get an excellent portrait of what life must have been like for a kid in suburban New Jersey during the Cold War era that escorted us into the golden age of rock-pop in the 1960s.

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