Rock's Backpages Rock's Backpages
the online library of pop writing

< back to list of all episodes

Episode 134 : Wayne Robins on Steely Dan + Donald Fagen + Denny Dias

22 August 2022

In this episode we invite former Creem editor and Newsday critic Wayne Robins to reminisce about his journalistic journey from the Berkeley Barb to NYU's graduate school of journalism — and to hold forth on his (and our) beloved Steely Dan.

Wayne recalls the suburban East Coast childhood he had in common with the Dan's Donald Fagen — and the music that set them both free from it. Jumping forward to 1969, he describes the Rolling Stones show he saw in Oakland a month before Altamont. He also paints a vivid and amusing picture of Bard College, the upstate New York institution he attended at the same time as Fagen and Dan co-founder Walter Becker. Clips from RBP audio interviews with the duo and original Dan member Denny Dias accompany an in-depth discussion of every rock egghead's favourite group, not to mention Fagen's 40-year-old solo album The Nightfly.

The episode concludes with a swift survey of recent additions to the RBP library, including pieces about Juliette Gréco (1961), James Booker (1976), Mark E. Smith (1990), Limp Bizkit (2000), Soul Train's Don Cornelius (2012), Rolling Stone's Jann Wenner (2017)… and the "atomic" Count Basie (2020).

Watch a video clip from this recording

Many thanks to special guest Wayne Robins. Sign up for his newsletter Critical Conditions at waynerobins49.substack.com.