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Donald Fagen
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Donald Fagen Biography

Donald Fagen's Morph The Cat is just your average soulful and sexy masterpiece about love, death and homeland defense. "There's nothing sexier than the Apocalypse," Fagen explains helpfully. "I suppose you could call this album Apocalypse Wow."

The darkly beautiful third solo effort from Fagen - the longtime co-leader of Steely Dan - follows 1981's classic The Nightfly and 1993's acclaimed Kamakiriad, and represents the latest installment in what now appears to be a powerful and at times deeply personal trilogy. "The Nightfly is sort of looking from the standpoint of youth, "Fagen explains. "Kamakiriad would be more about midlife. This new one is about endings really. So in a way this really has become a sort of trilogy. In fact, there are plans to put all three albums out in a box where they belong."

Along with his recording and touring with the reconstituted Steely Dan over the past decade, the inspired Morph The Cat offers the latest evidence that Fagen - whose long bout with writer's block ate up much of the Eighties - has become some sort of late-blooming workhorse. How does Fagen explain his productivity of late? "I don't know - marriage?" offers Fagen who married singer-songwriter Libby Titus in 1993. "Marriage is good, but I think I've actually been fairly consistent except for that spell in the Eighties. Other than that time, I've either been recording or touring pretty solidly. And I'm always writing - I have a lot of cassettes in a box with ideas."

Musically, Morph The Cat blends jazz, soul and other musical influences - not unlike Brother Ray once did - with extended grooves and ever changing textures and a sort of musical ambition rarely heard anymore - think Aja set in current day Manhattan. "I like it when songs develop in some way and four minutes isn't usually enough time for something to develop musically usually," says Fagen. "I'm still kind of plugged into the Duke Ellington model - something akin to classical music - where you start with something; you develop it a little bit and stick with it. And when you get a groove going, time flies."

Fagen says he has no concern about releasing Morph The Cat at a time when the music industry and the market seem as uncertain as the world itself. "I operate under Seventies rules no matter what time it is," Fagen explains. "It's a contract I have with my mind. I just keep forging on no matter what and reality doesn't have much to do with it."


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