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(Variety)   Donald Fagen is now reelin' in the lawsuits against Walter Becker's estate   ( variety.com) divider line
    More: Followup, Steely Dan, Walter Becker, Two Against Nature, buy/sell agreement, Bard College, 11 Tracks of Whack, Kamakiriad, Jay and the Americans  
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3183 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 23 Nov 2017 at 6:20 PM (8 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



41 Comments     (+0 »)
 
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2017-11-23 06:06:28 PM  
Still wish I'd been able to see them live.

Cousin Dupree steely dan
Youtube UxknEhmqObY
 
2017-11-23 06:35:30 PM  
i0.kym-cdn.comView Full Size
 
2017-11-23 06:39:57 PM  
So the wife of Walter Becker is attempting to overturn an agreement regarding ownership of Steely Dan that had been scrupulously adhered to by all members of the band since 1972... until she realized that the sole surviving member of Steely Dan fully intended to ensure that that agreement remained in effect. Good luck with *that*, Mrs. Becker. If Walter Becker had intended for you to get control of his share of Steely Dan, he would have done so *before* his death, by re-negotiating the 1972 agreement.
 
2017-11-23 06:53:13 PM  

ClavellBCMI: So the wife of Walter Becker is attempting to overturn an agreement regarding ownership of Steely Dan that had been scrupulously adhered to by all members of the band since 1972... until she realized that the sole surviving member of Steely Dan fully intended to ensure that that agreement remained in effect. Good luck with *that*, Mrs. Becker. If Walter Becker had intended for you to get control of his share of Steely Dan, he would have done so *before* his death, by re-negotiating the 1972 agreement.


Turn the lights off

No foolin' it's a farked up world, good luck my little junkie girl.
 
2017-11-23 07:00:28 PM  
The Widow Becker thinks Don is crazy, but he's just growing old.
 
2017-11-23 07:00:50 PM  
Thanks, Yoko
 
2017-11-23 07:02:00 PM  
She might be entitled to some royalties but other than that....no.
 
2017-11-23 07:03:05 PM  
Well, I did not think the girl
Could be so cruel
 
2017-11-23 07:30:39 PM  

The English Major: Still wish I'd been able to see them live.

[Youtube UxknEhmqObY image 480x360][Youtube-video https://www.youtube.com/embed/UxknEhmq​ObY]


I saw them twice, both times I would say they were quite polished.  The sound was incredible.
 
2017-11-23 07:34:28 PM  
Tell you what Mrs. Becker, let's have a musical throw down between you and Don, and whoever a panel of neutral judges decides better upholds the bands legacy for high musical standards gets to control Steely Dan.

She may, of course, still reel in those sweet royalties. And this way, she'll probably get more.
 
2017-11-23 07:53:42 PM  

LewDux: [i0.kym-cdn.com image 600x470]


You have to be well read in order to get this
 
2017-11-23 08:01:21 PM  

wildcardjack: LewDux: [i0.kym-cdn.com image 600x470]

You have to be well read in order to get this


Or read one of many "weird stories behind band names" threads
 
2017-11-23 08:02:59 PM  

The English Major: Still wish I'd been able to see them live.

[YouTube video: Cousin Dupree steely dan]


Saw them at the Venetian in April. 5th row,  center.. quality
 
2017-11-23 08:04:07 PM  
What a crappy way for the Steely Dan story to end.  While I don't think Becker's widow has a case, it sucks that Fagan is performing as Steely Dan.  His name is known enough to pull off a "Donald Fagan performs the songs of Steely Dan" tour.

Also, on a somewhat unrelated note, go listen to the opening beats of "Janie Runaway" and picture a woman with huge boobs getting off a bus.  The bassline perfectly mimics the bouncing.  It is awesome.

And one more thing.... After Rush, is there a more polarizing band in all of rock?  People either "get" Steely Dan or they don't.  It's either love or hate, there is very little middle ground.
 
2017-11-23 08:20:22 PM  

Recoil Therapy: She might be entitled to some royalties but other than that....no.


Pretty much this. I really hope this doesn't go to shiat like the Frank Zappa estate to the point where Donald has to tour under the name "Donald Fagen plays whatever the fark he likes" while a group of pretenders (not members of the Pretenders) plays under the name of Steely Dan.
 
2017-11-23 08:27:19 PM  
...This is NOT going to end well.  Becker and Fagen may well have walked like Gods among us, but they were both a couple of prickly bastards.

/Wondering if this isn't the opening move by the Widow Becker to just get a bigger chunk of change, rather than actually take over the band
//"The Widow Becker" would probably have been a pretty good title for a Dan song
///Steely slashies
 
2017-11-23 08:32:01 PM  

Ebenator: What a crappy way for the Steely Dan story to end.  While I don't think Becker's widow has a case, it sucks that Fagan is performing as Steely Dan.  His name is known enough to pull off a "Donald Fagan performs the songs of Steely Dan" tour.


I think, in my mind , is the bigger issue of control. She would have 50% vote for decisions involving the band IP, which gives her effective power to prevent any independent action by Fagan. I wouldn't want some former groupie screwing with my plans.
 
2017-11-23 08:35:07 PM  
It's not like the suit calls for complete disenfranchisement of Becker's heirs - The band buys out his shares at what one would hope is equitable market value.

Bands should be comprised of and led by musicians, not estates and (dis)trusts.

/Support the Others of Intention!
 
2017-11-23 08:40:18 PM  

Ebenator: What a crappy way for the Steely Dan story to end.  While I don't think Becker's widow has a case, it sucks that Fagan is performing as Steely Dan.  His name is known enough to pull off a "Donald Fagan performs the songs of Steely Dan" tour.


Yeah I love Steely Dan, but Donald Fagan isn't Steely Dan. Paul McCartney isn't The Beatles, Paul Simon isn't Simon and Garfunkel.   Still, I would pay good money to see Fagan tour playing those songs, however he brands it.  I saw Pete and Roger playing as The Who last year, and it was a great show
 
2017-11-23 09:41:06 PM  
JJ325: Yeah I love Steely Dan, but Donald Fagan isn't Steely Dan. Paul McCartney isn't The Beatles, Paul Simon isn't Simon and Garfunkel.   Still, I would pay good money to see Fagan tour playing those songs, however he brands it.  I saw Pete and Roger playing as The Who last year, and it was a great show

But, I'd have to say, Brian Wilson without the Beach Boys IS BETTER.
 
2017-11-23 09:55:30 PM  
You never hear public rage like this when musicians are trying to gouge each other out of music estates or royalties, and you don't even hear that much anger when the children of dead musicians are fighting to keep their fair share, but god forbid a widow try to retain her legal share, and then the fury and the hydrochloric acid is rained down on her.

No, she didn't write any of the music, but then neither did Fagen's lawyers.  Somehow a widow can only be a 'gold-digger', but the greedy lawyers and agents aren't vilified.
 
2017-11-23 10:02:17 PM  

The English Major: Still wish I'd been able to see them live.

[Youtube-video https://www.youtube.com/embed/UxknEhmq​ObY]


Saw them in KC a couple of years ago.  It was absolutely fabulous.  I really wished Don would have also done some of his solo stuff (The Nightfly is an undeniable classic), but alas.

And fark this talent-less lady and her coven of jackals.
 
2017-11-23 10:25:49 PM  

Huggermugger: You never hear public rage like this when musicians are trying to gouge each other out of music estates or royalties, and you don't even hear that much anger when the children of dead musicians are fighting to keep their fair share, but god forbid a widow try to retain her legal share, and then the fury and the hydrochloric acid is rained down on her.

No, she didn't write any of the music, but then neither did Fagen's lawyers.  Somehow a widow can only be a 'gold-digger', but the greedy lawyers and agents aren't vilified.


Bro, did you even RTFA?
 
2017-11-23 10:45:14 PM  
Can't we all just smoke some fine Colombian, and
make tonight a wonderful thing?
 
2017-11-23 11:54:25 PM  

jj325: Yeah I love Steely Dan, but Donald Fagan isn't Steely Dan. Paul McCartney isn't The Beatles, Paul Simon isn't Simon and Garfunkel.   Still, I would pay good money to see Fagan tour playing those songs, however he brands it.  I saw Pete and Roger playing as The Who last year, and it was a great show


Here's what happens if she wins:  Fagan goes on tour, but is either prohibited, or has to pay out the ass to the Becker heirs, to play a SD song.  Fagan has enough songs of his own, so that won't happen.

Donald is not SD, but SD is Donald, now that Walter is gone.  This is due to the Truth in Music Advertising Act, which requires any group that wants to use the "Steely Dan" name to have a member of the original group in the act.  That's Donald.

IMHO, this case is a no-brainer.  Fagan gets control.  The real issue will be determining the value of Becker's half.  If his heirs have any smarts, they'll realize that as long as Donald continues to play SD songs, they get paid.

I wonder if any of the studio musicians will try to claim to be a "junior partner" of SD, based on how many albums on which they played.  I suspect not, that they had a standard studio musician contract, but you never know.
 
2017-11-23 11:55:49 PM  
My Morning Jacket.
 
2017-11-24 12:12:53 AM  
When Black Friday comes
going to collect everything I'm owed
and before you know it
I'll be on the road...


Almost prescient.
 
2017-11-24 12:22:09 AM  
Now you swear and kick and beg us
That you're not a gamblin' man
Then you find you're back in Vegas
With a handle in your hand
Your black cards can make you money
So you hide them when you're able
In the land of milk and honey
You must put them on the table
 
2017-11-24 01:13:02 AM  
I'm not going to fault the widow. If she meekly accepts the agreement, she potentially throws away any extra benefits or payment she might have received by fighting the agreement. After all, it could cost Steely Dan(ie Fagen) more to fight this that to settle it. Is he a Sicilian?
 
2017-11-24 04:14:30 AM  

Birnone: I'm not going to fault the widow. If she meekly accepts the agreement, she potentially throws away any extra benefits or payment she might have received by fighting the agreement. After all, it could cost Steely Dan(ie Fagen) more to fight this that to settle it. Is he a Sicilian?


Whaddya mean "meekly accepts the agreement"? From the sound of it, it's a legal contract. Given that the "buyout" terms have been exercised before, she's gonna have a hard time convincing a court that the agreement isn't enforceable.
 
2017-11-24 08:31:17 AM  

indy_kid: jj325: Yeah I love Steely Dan, but Donald Fagan isn't Steely Dan. Paul McCartney isn't The Beatles, Paul Simon isn't Simon and Garfunkel.   Still, I would pay good money to see Fagan tour playing those songs, however he brands it.  I saw Pete and Roger playing as The Who last year, and it was a great show

Here's what happens if she wins:  Fagan goes on tour, but is either prohibited, or has to pay out the ass to the Becker heirs, to play a SD song.  Fagan has enough songs of his own, so that won't happen.

Donald is not SD, but SD is Donald, now that Walter is gone.  This is due to the Truth in Music Advertising Act, which requires any group that wants to use the "Steely Dan" name to have a member of the original group in the act.  That's Donald.

IMHO, this case is a no-brainer.  Fagan gets control.  The real issuepro will be determining the value of Becker's half.  If his heirs have any smarts, they'll realize that as long as Donald continues to play SD songs, they get paid.

I wonder if any of the studio musicians will try to claim to be a "junior partner" of SD, based on how many albums on which they played.  I suspect not, that they had a standard studio musician contract, but you never know.


Michael McDonald and Jeff Baxter might (they have been paid members of the band before), but they probably were cashed out back in the 1970's.
 
2017-11-24 08:40:25 AM  

Any Pie Left: JJ325: Yeah I love Steely Dan, but Donald Fagan isn't Steely Dan. Paul McCartney isn't The Beatles, Paul Simon isn't Simon and Garfunkel.   Still, I would pay good money to see Fagan tour playing those songs, however he brands it.  I saw Pete and Roger playing as The Who last year, and it was a great show

But, I'd have to say, Brian Wilson without the Beach Boys IS BETTER.


That's because most of the Beach Boys studio albums were played by the Wrecking Crew, not the Beach Boys.
 
2017-11-24 10:02:16 AM  

Tyrone Slothrop: Any Pie Left: JJ325: Yeah I love Steely Dan, but Donald Fagan isn't Steely Dan. Paul McCartney isn't The Beatles, Paul Simon isn't Simon and Garfunkel.   Still, I would pay good money to see Fagan tour playing those songs, however he brands it.  I saw Pete and Roger playing as The Who last year, and it was a great show

But, I'd have to say, Brian Wilson without the Beach Boys IS BETTER.

That's because most of the Beach Boys studio albums were played by the Wrecking Crew, not the Beach Boys.


And fark Mike Love.
 
2017-11-24 10:16:15 AM  
I wasn't quite clear, this is just based on control of the band and name right? I assume she would still have rights to any future royalties due to Walter.
 
2017-11-24 10:26:54 AM  
Steely Dan was Donald Fagen and Walter Becker.

Walter Becker is dead.

Steely Dan is now Donald Fagen.

QED
 
2017-11-24 11:01:02 AM  

Huggermugger: You never hear public rage like this when musicians are trying to gouge each other out of music estates or royalties, and you don't even hear that much anger when the children of dead musicians are fighting to keep their fair share, but god forbid a widow try to retain her legal share, and then the fury and the hydrochloric acid is rained down on her.

No, she didn't write any of the music, but then neither did Fagen's lawyers.  Somehow a widow can only be a 'gold-digger', but the greedy lawyers and agents aren't vilified.


This is the purpose of buy/sell agreements.  The parties that made up the company (the band is a company) remain the sole owners of the company.  If one dies, the remainder are still the sole owners- and ownership does not transfer via will or through the standard means if there is no will (there's a process to who gets to own what based on relationship to the deceased person.)

I've had many companies.  With married people.  None of us would want people who had nothing to do with the company, and have no idea what goes on with the company in control of it, even a little.

What the widows and heirs DO get is money.  Hence buy/sell.  Donald has to fork out some sum to Walter's heirs to retain control.

So all is fair.  It is not necessarily fair for heirs to have CONTROL of the company.  But they do get MONEY from the company in exchange.
 
2017-11-24 01:48:00 PM  

downstairs: Huggermugger: You never hear public rage like this when musicians are trying to gouge each other out of music estates or royalties, and you don't even hear that much anger when the children of dead musicians are fighting to keep their fair share, but god forbid a widow try to retain her legal share, and then the fury and the hydrochloric acid is rained down on her.

No, she didn't write any of the music, but then neither did Fagen's lawyers.  Somehow a widow can only be a 'gold-digger', but the greedy lawyers and agents aren't vilified.

This is the purpose of buy/sell agreements.  The parties that made up the company (the band is a company) remain the sole owners of the company.  If one dies, the remainder are still the sole owners- and ownership does not transfer via will or through the standard means if there is no will (there's a process to who gets to own what based on relationship to the deceased person.)

I've had many companies.  With married people.  None of us would want people who had nothing to do with the company, and have no idea what goes on with the company in control of it, even a little.

What the widows and heirs DO get is money.  Hence buy/sell.  Donald has to fork out some sum to Walter's heirs to retain control.

So all is fair.  It is not necessarily fair for heirs to have CONTROL of the company.  But they do get MONEY from the company in exchange.


Yep. Widow Becker wants *continuing* control of 50% of Steely Dan, which ain't gonna happen, no matter *what* her lawyers are telling her. What she *will* get is a buy-out offer, which she either accepts as-is, or tries to invalidate the buy/sell agreement in court (which is a *very* high-risk affair, given the length of time this agreement has been in effect, and that both Becker and Fagen *knew* that Becker was dying and did not re-negotiate the buy/sell agreement to allow Becker's widow to get Becker's 50% of Steely Dan on Becker's death).
 
2017-11-24 02:57:46 PM  

ClavellBCMI: downstairs: Huggermugger: You never hear public rage like this when musicians are trying to gouge each other out of music estates or royalties, and you don't even hear that much anger when the children of dead musicians are fighting to keep their fair share, but god forbid a widow try to retain her legal share, and then the fury and the hydrochloric acid is rained down on her.

No, she didn't write any of the music, but then neither did Fagen's lawyers.  Somehow a widow can only be a 'gold-digger', but the greedy lawyers and agents aren't vilified.

This is the purpose of buy/sell agreements.  The parties that made up the company (the band is a company) remain the sole owners of the company.  If one dies, the remainder are still the sole owners- and ownership does not transfer via will or through the standard means if there is no will (there's a process to who gets to own what based on relationship to the deceased person.)

I've had many companies.  With married people.  None of us would want people who had nothing to do with the company, and have no idea what goes on with the company in control of it, even a little.

What the widows and heirs DO get is money.  Hence buy/sell.  Donald has to fork out some sum to Walter's heirs to retain control.

So all is fair.  It is not necessarily fair for heirs to have CONTROL of the company.  But they do get MONEY from the company in exchange.

Yep. Widow Becker wants *continuing* control of 50% of Steely Dan, which ain't gonna happen, no matter *what* her lawyers are telling her. What she *will* get is a buy-out offer, which she either accepts as-is, or tries to invalidate the buy/sell agreement in court (which is a *very* high-risk affair, given the length of time this agreement has been in effect, and that both Becker and Fagen *knew* that Becker was dying and did not re-negotiate the buy/sell agreement to allow Becker's widow to get Becker's 50% of Steely Dan on Becker's death).


Yep, IANAL, but as far as I know buy/sell agreements are pretty boilerplate and pretty rock-solid.  People don't want their multi-member companies in the hands of (essentially) random people.  I've had many companies, and while I've never dealt with death or divorce... I know that lawyers put these things in place so that the original (surviving) members can continue on as they see fit - which is the right thing.

And the whole concept of someone being "made whole" comes through money sent to the heirs of any deceased members.

It's pretty damn common and makes perfect sense.  Steely Dan is a company.  They do not want new members as part of the decision making of the company just because someone died.  These new members would essentially be random people that had nothing to do with Steely Dan.
 
2017-11-24 05:03:37 PM  

ol' gormsby: Birnone: I'm not going to fault the widow. If she meekly accepts the agreement, she potentially throws away any extra benefits or payment she might have received by fighting the agreement. After all, it could cost Steely Dan(ie Fagen) more to fight this that to settle it. Is he a Sicilian?

Whaddya mean "meekly accepts the agreement"? From the sound of it, it's a legal contract. Given that the "buyout" terms have been exercised before, she's gonna have a hard time convincing a court that the agreement isn't enforceable.


If the court rules the contract stands, then she took a chance and it didn't work out. Why give in without a fight? That's my point. I'm sure she's been advised of legals costs if she loses. So maybe she's pressing ahead as a strategy, a bluff. Make him think this is going to be a long, drawn out fight and maybe he'll break out the checkbook to end it now.
 
2017-11-24 05:14:14 PM  

Birnone: ol' gormsby: Birnone: I'm not going to fault the widow. If she meekly accepts the agreement, she potentially throws away any extra benefits or payment she might have received by fighting the agreement. After all, it could cost Steely Dan(ie Fagen) more to fight this that to settle it. Is he a Sicilian?

Whaddya mean "meekly accepts the agreement"? From the sound of it, it's a legal contract. Given that the "buyout" terms have been exercised before, she's gonna have a hard time convincing a court that the agreement isn't enforceable.

If the court rules the contract stands, then she took a chance and it didn't work out. Why give in without a fight? That's my point. I'm sure she's been advised of legals costs if she loses. So maybe she's pressing ahead as a strategy, a bluff. Make him think this is going to be a long, drawn out fight and maybe he'll break out the checkbook to end it now.


The thing is, she *doesn't* want Fagen to break out the checkbook for a one-time payout. She wants the long-term payout. Which she is not entitled to, legally. Which is why she is trying the whole "the Buy/Sell Agreement of October 31.1972 is no longer in effect" deal. Which stands the usual chances of a wet snowball in the fieriest level of Hell chances of surviving the courts.
 
2017-11-24 09:13:59 PM  

Huggermugger: You never hear public rage like this when musicians are trying to gouge each other out of music estates or royalties, and you don't even hear that much anger when the children of dead musicians are fighting to keep their fair share, but god forbid a widow try to retain her legal share, and then the fury and the hydrochloric acid is rained down on her.

No, she didn't write any of the music, but then neither did Fagen's lawyers.  Somehow a widow can only be a 'gold-digger', but the greedy lawyers and agents aren't vilified.


What was he going for here?
...
The lawsuit is a negotiating tactic straight out of Trump's playbook. File a pointless lawsuit, insist you're going to plow ahead with it, convince you're self you've enhanced your leverage and then get on with the buy out.

The suit doesn't have a chance of succeeding. Becker himself participated multiple times in buy outs. Even if there's a problem with the written agreement, a court is still going to find there was an agreement based on past conduct.

The suit might muck things up for a bit though. And it might be cheaper to pay her to go away then to fight through to its inevitable conclusion.
 
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