Eminent Hipsters

Eminent Hipsters

Book - 2013
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A witty, revealing, sharply written work of memoir and criticism by the cofounder of Steely Dan

Musician and songwriter Donald Fagen presents a group of vivid set pieces in his entertaining debut as an author, from portraits of the cultural figures and currents that shaped him as a youth to an account of his college days and of life on the road.

Fagen begins by introducing the "eminent hipsters" that spoke to him as he was growing up in a bland New Jersey suburb in the early 1960s, among them Jean Shepherd, whose manic nightly broadcasts out of WOR-Radio "enthralled a generation of alienated young people"; Henry Mancini, whose swank, noirish soundtracks left their mark on him; and Mort Fega, the laid-back, knowledgeable all-night jazz man at WEVD who was like "the cool uncle you always wished you had." He writes of how, coming of age during the paranoid Cold War era, one of his primary doors of escape became reading science fiction, and of his invigorating trips into New York City to hear jazz. "Class of '69" recounts Fagen's colorful, mind-expanding years at Bard College, the progressive school north of New York City, where he first met his future musical partner Walter Becker. "With the Dukes of September" offers a cranky, hilarious account of the ups and downs of a recent cross-country tour Fagen made with Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald, performing a program of old R&B and soul tunes as well as some of their own hits.

Acclaimed for the elaborate arrangements and jazz harmonies of his songs, Fagen proves himself a sophisticated writer with a very distinctive voice in this engaging book.
Publisher: New York : Viking Penguin, 2013.
ISBN: 9780670025510
Characteristics: xi, 159 p. ;,22 cm


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Nov 24, 2015

If you like Steely Dan this will not be surprising for you.
Fagen's memoir is a fun read. He is a whiny, opinionated, curmudgeon, but is also quite witty. If you are a fan it will be a pleasant read, if not you will most likely find it a self indulgent excercise in self promotion.
I'm a fan so I enjoyed it.

Aug 28, 2015

If you like Donald Fagen's work, you'll enjoy this insight. He talks about his influences growing up and also includes a journal from the 2012 "Dukes of September" tour.

tailwagger Feb 17, 2014

For die-hard fans only. Some of the early chapters are interesting in terms of their relevance to his later musical compositions with Steely Dan and as a solo artist. But the tour journal is extremely self-indulgent, whiny and boring. Painful reading at best. And if you don't like it, it's a very, very thin book. Kinda wonder why they bothered publishing it.

ChristchurchLib Jan 22, 2014

"A work of memoir and criticism by the co-founder of Steely Dan explores the cultural figures who shaped his youth in 1960s suburban New Jersey, his progressive education at Bard College, and the ups and downs of his cross-country tour with Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald." Biography and Memoir January 2014 newsletter http://www.libraryaware.com/996/NewsletterIssues/ViewIssue/f258d59c-5047-4e99-84b0-f4d1d04ff18e?postId=84e6a621-a5ec-40c1-a752-d42f6fa838f2

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