Donald Fagen Reveals Steely Dan Partner Walter Becker Was Sick For Years


Steely Dan‘s first tour following the death of Walter Becker continued in Buffalo on Tuesday night. Donald Fagen noted the loss of his partner early in the show and performed Becker’s solo gem “Book Of Liars” as a tribute, complete with a montage of Walter photos. Fagen gave a rare interview to the Orilia Packet and spoke of how sick Walter Becker was before he passed.

“Walter was pretty ill for, maybe, at least five years. He was dealing with some serious health problems, which he was valiantly fighting. But it caught up with him after a while,” Fagen revealed. “He was really hurting the last couple of years — especially the last year — but he soldiered on,” Donald said. “All he wanted to do was play; that was his life. It’s great that he could do it.”

Becker has not been replaced as Steely Dan is moving on with just one guitarist, Jon Herington. Donald Fagen’s piano has been adjusted to a location near center-stage. Fagen has really been feeling the loss on the road, “During the soundcheck, we used consult on the setlist every night. And now, I feel really unprepared. I’m just trying to figure it out myself. I’ll ask some of the other players in the band, but he had a certain way of looking at it that I really miss.”

Donald Fagen also discussed the addition of “Book Of Liars” back to Steely Dan’s sets for the first time since 1995, “[The last] few nights, I’ve been doing that. We show some pictures from Walter’s earlier years. I don’t like to be sentimental about these, but the audience really seems to appreciate it. I think it’s a good thing to do.” He then added, “I think he sang it better than I do, but I give it my best shot.” Head here for the complete interview.

Watch videos from last night’s show in Buffalo captured by The Kamherst:

[Book Of Liars]

[Reelin’ In The Years]

[My Old School]


[Dirty Work]

[Black Friday]

[Rikki Don’t Lose That Number]


[Hey Nineteen]

[New Frontier]

[Black Cow]

[Kid Charlemagne]

Tour Dates for
Steely Dan

  • Feb
  • Feb
  • Feb
  • Feb
  • Feb