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Rock Report: Donald Fagen of Steely Dan Does Not Fear the Election

Donald Fagen
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Grizzled rock veteran Donald Fagen, lead singer of Steely Dan, has seen it all in his long career. In fact, he’s seen so much that he’s not particularly worried about the upcoming presidential election. In a new interview, he explains his reasons why.

“I lived through a Nixon presidency and a Reagan presidency and George Bush I and George Bush II, so I’m not fearful,” he told Complex Music. “I’ll tell you one thing, though: In the ’60s, when I was going to school, I wasn’t very political. I figured that the kind of sexually-repressed, uptight, fundamentalist-types would die off, because they were old people. Soon they would die off, they would be gone, and the younger generation could enjoy their utopia. But as it turns out, they kept reproducing, and those same guys with those terrible haircuts are there every year, and now they’re younger than I am. I can’t figure it out.”

Fagen, who is doing press for his new album, ‘Sunken Condos,’ says that not even living in post-9/11 New York can compare with what it was like growing up at the height of the Cold War, the period that was reflected in his solo debut, 1982’s ‘The Nightfly.’

“[T]he ’60s are the most paranoid decade in my memory,” he continued. “For me, the paranoia then dwarfs now. Growing up with the daily threat of nuclear catastrophe — it was hammered into children every day. That was the worst…There’s nothing like your father building a fallout shelter in the backyard. Or a special radio station to tune into — all radios had this little triangle on the dial — that you would tune to when the bombs started falling. It was treated like a sure thing.”

Next: Read Our 'Sunken Condos' Review

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