When musicians who have sold tens of millions of records and created at least a dozen staples of classic rock radio team up for a tour, it usually means one thing: They’re trying to cash in by playing their greatest hits yet again.
As the Dukes of September, Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen, The Doobie Brothers’ Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs, are taking a different approach. Instead of focusing on their own catalogs, they’re mostly playing music they grew up loving. We talked with McDonald.
Help Me, Rhonda
The Beach Boys
“Beach Boys songs are great. They have a uniqueness in that they’re a quirky rock and roll band meets barbershop quartet. In its own way, it’s a sophisticated form of pop music.”
The Shape I’m In
“The Band was steeped in blues and country and ragtime, but it came out as something new and different. I used to play this song with a band I’d throw together in the little town in Tennessee I was living in. We’d play school fundraisers.”
“This one was Donald’s idea. It was a surprise to me. I never followed the Dead that much, but they made a huge mark, not only with their music ... but their whole approach.”
“It’s just a crowd pleaser. It’s one of those great old-time encore songs. We wanted to make sure we tipped a hat to the O’Jays and all those great [Philly] soul groups.”
“It has a ferocious groove and is representative of the R&B and blues scene in San Francisco in the ’60s.”