Six Degrees Of Jeff “Skunk” Baxter

I think Steely Dan has gotten more press for their cheeky letter to Luke Wilson than they did for Two Against Nature. I saw it last week while Stereogum was down, and figured I missed my window to blog about it. But you know what? I’m opening a new window. ‘Cause I love me some Steely Dan. And they’re touring this summer with Michael McDonald.

First, in case you don’t want to read Don and Walt’s ten paragraph manifesto, the gist is that they claim Luke’s brother Owen’s new movie rips off the Dan’s six-year-old incest ditty “Cousin Dupree.” Why didn’t they address Owen directly? Beats me. Why’d they name their band after a dildo?

Here’s an excerpt:

“What we suspect may have happened is this: some hack writer or producer or whatever they call themselves in Malibu or Los Feliz apparently heard our Grammy winning song “Couspin Dupree” on the radio and thought, hey, man, this is a cool idea for a character in a movie or something. … When it came time to change the character’s name or whatever so people wouldn’t know what a rip the whole thing was, THEY DIDN’T EVEN BOTHER TO THINK UP A NEW FUCKING NAME FOR THE GUY!”

Shrewd publicity stunt. Or whatever.

Even shrewder? Becker and Fagen are crossing the country with former Dan sideman Michael McDonald. The ex-Doobie Bro is actually enjoying a pop culture comeback…

  • American Idol: Taylor Hicks, who looks like Michael McDonald, performs “Takin’ It To the Streets,” makes it the b-side to “Do I Make You Proud,” the 111th wussiest song of all time.
  • 40 Year-Old Virgin: Michael McDonald DVD loops endlessly on the showroom floor.
  • The Simpsons #1721 (“The Monkey Suit”): Flanders is shocked by an evolution exhibit at the Springfield museum. The Myth Of Creation area has “What A Fool Believes” as its soundtrack. Watch it here (MOV). Best line … TODD: “Daddy, was mommy a monkey? I can’t remember.”
  • Bootleg: DJ Earworm mashes the Doobies with Kelly Clarkson and Paula Abdul (MP3)
  • Viral Video: iFilm spotlights a Michael McDonald spoof starring Josh Fadem.
  • VH1’s I Love The ’70s: Volume 2 – 1976. The regular talking heads dole out equal praise and mockery of Michael McDonald’s blue-eyed soul.
  • Yacht Rock: Almost every episode.

    So good job Steely Dan! You’ve landed the hot ticket tour of the summer. For these “Steelyard Sugartooth McDan” shows, McDonald does an hour of his hits before joining SD on a bunch of tunes.

    Here’s the setlist from Saturday’s concert at the Aladdin Theater in Las Vegas. Asterisk means w/ Michael McDonald.

    - Bodhisattva
    – Time Out of Mind
    – Aja
    – I’ve Got The News
    – Hey 19
    – Cousin Dupree
    – Josie
    – Green Earrings
    – Black Friday
    – Dirty Work
    – Showbiz Kids
    – Do it Again*
    – Peg*
    – Don?t Take Me Alive*
    – Kid Charlemagne*

    ENCORE
    – My Old School*
    – FM*

    Three takes on the greatest Michael McDonald song of all time. Actually co-written by … Kenny Loggins!

  • The Doobie Brothers – “What A Fool Believes” (MP3)
  • Aretha Franklin – “What A Fool Believes” (MP3)
  • Self – “What A Fool Believes” (MP3)

    Finally, Dan fans will love this: The Making of “Peg.”

    UPDATE: Owen Wilson claims innocence, begins work on Hey 19.