Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I Should Probably Lighten Up, But....

Donald Fagen & Walter Becker
Ever wondered what a bodhisattva is? Or how to gaslight somebody? Then this site is for you! You're looking at an A-Z glossary of over 100 obscure words, people and places — all taken from the lyrics of Steely Dan songs.

I stumbled onto the Steely Dan Dictionary while looking for some info on their very expensive and extensive upcoming tour. (Strictly for mocking purposes.) Sometimes, these posts just write themselves.

I guess most know this by now--

Steely Dan:A type of (fictional) Japanese dildo. From William Burroughs' infamous 1959 book Naked Lunch. See the following excerpt:
Mary is strapping on a rubber penis. "Steely Dan III from Yokohama," she says, caressing the shaft. Milk spurts across the room. "Be sure that milk is pasteurized. Don't go giving me some kinda awful cow disease like anthrax or glanders or aftosa...."

Still, you do get entries like--

Muswellbrook: A town in New South Wales, Australia. Muswellbrook is approximately 280 kilometres north-west of Sydney and has a population of 15,000. The pronunciation used in the song is in fact wrong — locals don't pronounce the W, so it sounds more like "Musclebrook."


Barrytown: A town in upstate New York, close to Annandale-on-Hudson and Bard College (Becker & Fagen's alma mater). Its biggest claim to fame would be as the headquarters of The Unification Church, a.k.a. "The Moonies", a religious cult who gained notoriety in the 70s from reports of its mass weddings & alleged brainwashing of members. As a fundraising measure, followers would often stand at street corners, carrying small bouquets of flowers for sale (hence the lyric).

There are also entries for Bleecker Street, Black Cow, and Dave Brubeck, though I'm not quite sure why those would be considered obscure.


Anonymous said...

I decided with the fake liner notes to Aja that there's nothing about Steely Dan that is not an in-joke to them. So dictionary references to commonly known stuff (at least to the majority of their fan base) fits.

i agree with you on the ticket prices - I recall a 70's interview with robert klein where they said further tours would be impossible; it was too difficult to work out the schedules and compensation for the studio musos they like to hire. Guess they figured out how to shift that burden.

steves said...

I can see why Steely Dan would be tempted to charge exorbitant ticket fees for this tour: They're strictly aiming for the 50-and-over audience, whom they still view as living in the lap of affluence in Annandale.

Something tells me they may be in for a surprise. Truth be told, I've always liked the Dan, but we're not talking McCartney here.

Noam Sane said...

$250, $100, even $60 a ticket...I can't afford any of them. All the same to me.

I do know that when I play a bar gig, I make the same $100 I made in the 80s. But then, I didn't write "Godwhacker".

soundsource said...

in the words of the beloved Janet Jackson "What have you done for me lately" , actually it's probably Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis but you get the point.

Anonymous said...

Sho' nuff, I wish The Dan were cheaper, but I'm paying it anyway because I love their music. $50 for a lawn seat to their show in Atlanta. But that's OK - it's worth it to me and fortunately I can scrape it up every once in a while.

bglobe313 said...

"Barrytown" is my favorites "obscure" Steely Dan song. Great little arrangement and melody and the words flow along.

If my daughter's college visit trip takes us to Bard (as it may) I will check it out.