I’m up, with my ear to the universe again
listening and waiting for Fagen.
I stare at his latest portrait;
his graying stubble and well worn lines,
the wicked double waves of his protruding lips.

I study the backgrounds of his photographs;
try to make out the titles of the books on his shelves,
the tiny models of buildings, the ornate clock on his desk.
I pore over the precise way he holds his hands,
the curve of his fingers, the reflections in his eyes.

In this light he looks mischievous,
now there he’s more pensive.
Note the crescent slope of his right brow;
what music was he hearing in his head as the shutter closed?
Perhaps he was inventing another character
to fulfill a scene in a song which will eventually
be jammed and embedded in my head -
his #9 footprints pressed in my cement.

Nobody to blame but Fagen.
I’m a dupe for details, layers of lament,
gracious groove, facetious fiction,
and the plaintive, penetrating snarl in his voice;
one moment isolated, then exposed.

Fagen fascination hit me early on
and unlike the sisters of Babylon
I couldn’t shake it, baby, I couldn’t shake it-it-it.
Though we might never be face to face,
I’d settle for just one day in the studio.

I dream of walking on his salient planet.
Gripped in the gravity of his persuasive grooves.
I gaze at his gleaming metaphors,
spellbound by his chordal constellations
and I wonder what worm h*** he'll conquer next.


(C) 2007 Marissa Dodge

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Comment by Bill Barnes on March 11, 2008 at 8:30am
Oops, I misspelled 'hear.' Duhhhhhhhhhhh
Comment by Bill Barnes on March 11, 2008 at 8:29am
Yeah, I hear that- did you hear the story of what he put Larry Carlton through during the Aja sessions? Seems he did about a thousand retakes, making him play the same guitar solo over and over, until every note was exactly what he wanted to here.

This story was brought to my attention back in eary '90, when I was doing a session for a singer in NY, at Don Casale's studio in Westbury. The keyboard player kept stopping me during my solo, asking me to change a note here or there, until I finally lost my temper. He then tried to placate my nerves, relating the story about Carlton's experience with Fagin. I responded by saying, "You know what? You're no Donald Fagin. As for this session, why don't you get on the phone and see if Larry Carlton's available?" End of session. The singer fired both of us. (I later recorded with her on other projects, with no problems.) Again, too much information...
Comment by Marissa Dodge on March 10, 2008 at 5:09pm
Thanks, Bill! I'll be smiling about your comment for a while, I know exactly what you mean. Play in front of him? Never! I think I'd be too freaked to even observe him in the studio, but I'd try to find the composure, and a glass or two of wine ;o) then just be very quiet, haha...
Comment by Bill Barnes on March 10, 2008 at 9:40am
Great poem, by the way!
Comment by Bill Barnes on March 10, 2008 at 9:39am
Two fears I had to conquer in my career, once upon a time-
One: that Donald Fagen would never, ever call me to lay down guitar tracks on one of his tunes.

Two: that Donald Fagen would actually call me to lay down guitar tracks on one of his tunes.

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