#7Songs – Number Two

by John on February 1, 2016

I like Steely Dan for all the wrong reasons.

That’s what my wife Karen will say, she’s sick of hearing me play their songs, and my good friend Raul openly criticizes me for liking their music, but I really don’t give a ****.

My love for Steely Dan was cemented during a trip to North Carolina in the late 80’s. I was visiting Wake Forest University with one of my mentors, suffering from that form of teenage angst/ennui. We were visiting the campus, going to the homecoming game (which the Demon Deacons won), toilet papering the quad (I may or may not have “liberated” a roll of TP from the administration building), and roaming the halls. I thought the whole experience was cool but because I was suffering from the aforementioned angst/ennui, I didn’t want to let on to how life changing the experience truly was.

Enough of the backstory, here’s the deets:

The Song: Deacon Blues

Why this one: I would hear this song playing on Zeta 4, the rock radio station here in Miami. I would fall asleep with my Walkman, listening to the overnight DJ’s play this and it was awesome. Here was rock, jazz, and cryptic lyrics all rolled into something I didn’t understand but it was still freaking cool.

Where it takes me: I’m catapulted right back to sophomore year. My personal life was a mess, school was a mess, hell, I was one big mess. When Fagan sings “I cried when I wrote this song” it struck a chord that hasn’t left me some 28 years later. In fact, I wrote a variation of that line (I cried when I heard this news) in a card for one of my classmates in study hall. His father had passed and I was responsible for getting a card that we all signed. I remember our study hall “teacher”, a football coach take the card to sign his name and noticed when he took a look at what we all wrote and ever so slightly smile.

Parting Shots: This is a melancholy romp through the minor keys. You can’t help but wonder if the story is really about a football team and their losing streak or if it’s about a drug addled jazz session musician contemplating ending it all. That’s the beauty of the song and the group. Sometimes you just don’t know, so you keep on keeping on.

So in this time of the expanding man, I’m going to keep on keeping on.

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