Steely Dan co-founder and frontman Donald Fagen has a new musical project this summer.
Fagen is currently heating up stages with a new band of young musicians called The Nightflyers. Donald Fagen and The Nightflyers will bring their tour to The Silver Creek Event Center at Four Winds Casino on Saturday.
The tour began in New York in early August and concludes in mid-September in San Francisco. The name of Fagen's new band is actually a take-off on his 1980s solo album "The Nightfly."
The Nightflyers is composed of musicians Connor Kennedy, Lee Falco, Brendan Morrison and Will Bryant, who all hail from the Ulster County and Hudson Valley area of New York, near where Fagen calls home.
During a recent telephone conference call interview with Fagen and Kennedy, Fagen talked about how he met the band.
"I got to know a lot of the musicians up here, and I think that I first saw these guys over at the annual Bob Dylan's birthday concert. And I remember seeing them do some Dylan material and I was just really impressed with what a great band they were. So when I wanted to speak to them on a different kind of material, some solo material and so on, they were just there. And they're really good," Fagen said.
During the current concert, Donald Fagen and The Nightflyers will be playing a variety of material, including Fagen's solo works, Steely Dan favorites and other tunes.
Nightflyers member Kennedy said he's happy to be involved with this project and admires Fagen's work.
"I've been listening to Donald's music for awhile now. And I guess I am realizing more and more that I've been listening to it a lot longer and a lot more often than I realized, which I guess is a testament to the music being what it is, which is great. I used to see Donald play with Levon Helm as The Ramble in Woodstock and to be playing this music is a great honor," Kennedy said.
Fagen said it's quite interesting touring with a group of musicians from a different generation.
"It's great hanging around with 20 somethings. They know all the good places to eat in town, and I've been eating a lot of exotic foods, for me, at least, things I don't usually do like wraps with a lot of goods, Oriental sauces in it and things like that. It's like the menus say 'Your protein will be such and such' and 'Your carbohydrates will be such and such.' I'm more of a grilled cheese guy," Fagen said, laughing.
The Nightflyers show is sure to include some surprises such as interesting covers they've occasionally put into their shows.
"I love doing covers," Fagen said. "I did some shows recently, maybe a couple of years ago, with the band Dukes of September with Boz Scaggs and Mike McDonald. And that was all about covers, you know, the kind of music that got us into the business - Motown and Beach Boys and whatever. So I really enjoy doing that kind of thing."
Fagen said he still finds it "amazing" how Steely Dan has remained a hit with the public through the years.
"I was amazed that it worked in the '70s. You know we certainly weren't part of the mainstream popular music either or at least (from) the first few albums that developed. I'm still amazed that they set us up on the radio and that we acquired so many fans."
For Fagen, playing live shows keeps him energized about his craft.
"Well, you know, especially when you get older, you don't get that much of an opportunity to have these kinds of peak experiences. But playing every night is fantastic. I think it keeps you young, especially playing with these guys."