Aimee Mann Covers Steely Dan After Getting Dropped From Their Tour

Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for The New Yorker

Aimee Mann Covers Steely Dan After Getting Dropped From Their Tour

Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for The New Yorker

Last month Aimee Mann announced, via a comic strip, that Steely Dan had dropped her as an opener from their tour. “It seems like they thought their audience wouldn’t like a female singer-songwriter?” she speculated in one panel, adding in another, “As it happens, Steely Dan is the one band that I 100% love, with no reservations, so it really sucks.” The next day, Steely Dan leader Donald Fagen said gender was not a factor in the decision: “There was a communication problem on our end. I was misinformed as to how firm the commitment was to any particular opening act. And, although I have the greatest respect for Aimee as a writer and performer, I thought it might not be the best matchup in terms of musical style.” Through a representative, Mann stood by her interpretation of the events.

In the aftermath of the conflict, Mann wrote on Twitter that “All is forgiven if Donald just tells me what Brooklyn is about” — a reference to the Steely Dan song “Brooklyn (Owes The Charmer Under Me).” She soon posted more comics revealing that Fagen had taken her up on the offer and explained the meaning of “Brooklyn.” When pressed to share his explanation, Mann wrote in another comic, “The short answer is it’s about his downstairs neighbor, who was a jackass, like a list of every prize this guy felt entitled to. But the long answer is it came with a description of what his life was like back then, and all I’ll say about that is that at one point, a pet iguana got loose.”

Fast forward to last weekend: Mann’s own sans-Dan tour opened with some shows at New York’s City Winery, where she debuted her cover of “Brooklyn.” The venue also had her paintings of various first ladies and “the 10 worst presidents” on display for sale. The Washington Post published a feature about it all, which explained that Mann had embarked upon the art project as a way to cope with a nervous system disorder that she at one point thought would end her music career. Check out the “Brooklyn” cover below.

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