Steely Dan Fans Are Assholes

Comments (63)


Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 9:10 AM

Page 2 of 2

There I go again. Oh, and in case you didn't get it from the title of this post, Danfans are, by and large, insufferable pricks. But it shouldn't be surprising that Steely Dan have the world's most arrogant, elitist assholes for a fan base. New York beatniks who moved to Los Angeles, the Dan hated hippies and loved cocaine, dark sarcasm and subtle wordplay.

Their sound mashes up every bit and bob of black music to come down the pike since rhythm and blues, including jazz, funk and even reggae. Whereas other bands prided themselves on energy and excitement, the Dan were all about musicianship -- and not just musicianship, studio perfectionism. In the 1970s the group, who never liked performing live, abandoned the live show altogether. Some acts are all about giving the fans what they want. Steely Dan couldn't give a shit.

The band eventually started playing again. In the meantime, however, a dense network of rabid fans formed. Dandom provides Internet forums for lyrical analysis and general fanboy banter. In 2001, the site handed out awards (called, what else?, "Dannys") for categories such as "Danfest Attendee Who Best Embodied a Steely Dan Character or Album Cover" and "Most Inclement Weather at a Danfest." The site also acts as a planning forum for Danfests, a place for Danfans to get together and revel in smug college-educated self-satisfaction.

So yes, despite protests to the contrary, Danfans are following in the footsteps of their rock heroes. It's just that the essence of the Dan isn't a ripped t-shirt or a haircut, it's self-conscious, middle-class hipsterism of the pre-emo type. It's an alcoholic saxophone player sleeping off a coke hangover in the trunk of his Cadillac, dreaming about what it would be like if he'd made it. I should know. I'm Danfan number one.

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