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Tim Steil Takes The Musical Challenge: Steely Dan’s “Aja”

Well this should come as no surprise to anyone who has known me longer than five minutes.

A life changing album for me. I had been a huge fan since Can’t Buy a Thrill. The first conga notes on Do It Again spazzed me the fuck out, and I was hooked from then on out.

When Peg came out, it just enthralled me. The Maj2 chords, and that guitar solo that haunts me to this day. I have bought the sheet music and written every single note underneath. I have sat and studied Jay Graydon explain exactly how he played it, and the end when he says…

“Yeah I was kinda wingin it.” I wanted to Homer strangle the mother fuck.

But there was one song, that just knocked me on my ass. I thought, well, this is respectable. And why the hell is Fagen writing about my life in its current formation.

Yeah it spoke to me, and have had more than one cherished and respected friend call me “Yo Deacon!”

I’m not proud to say it, but there are probably a thousand nights where I could have died behind the wheel. I always tried to take the gravel back to town if I knew I was tuned up. These days, I opt for the bus.

Sometimes, someone writes your destiny right on a wall, and you’re too dumb to hear it.

My father in law had an old, very old sax, and when I saw it in the basement, I silently thought, I should learn to play it.

Alas, he took it with him.


Fagen you bastard. Cross that fine line indeed. I’m gone man.

p.s Just to all you folks who swore I died after my plane got shot down off the coast of Lebanon in 84? Not so much.


  1. Ray Wilson on February 28, 2022 at 12:33 pm

    People who are actually Steely Dan fans do not assume Donald is the leader/primary creative force of the band. At least prior to Walter’s departure from the planet.

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