Mark Roadnight is looking forward to a happy return to the Festival of Chichester with his band Simply Dan.
On Saturday, June 15 at 8pm they will bring the music of Steely Dan to The Chichester Inn, 38 West Street, Chichester.
They are offering the chance to experience Steely Dan’s seminal album AJA live plus their back catalogue of hits. Support comes from Ruby & The Acoustic Stone.
“The band has been going about three years,” Mark said. “The band built up out of London session musicians and touring musicians that have played with lots of well-known people.
“We decided to put together a Steely Dan band. We started three years ago and it has gone from strength to strength.
“We started off playing local pubs and now we are playing 300-seater theatres.
“We did the Chichester Inn last year and it sold out so we said that we would come back.
“Steely Dan is like a cross-over band between jazz and rock.
“ They were like the original fusion band. I loved the songs, and I just loved the fact that they were so difficult to play. Their songs were always very clever melodically and lyrically. Very few people do them because they are so hard.”
Steely Dan were founded in 1972 by core members Walter Becker (guitars, bass, backing vocals) and Donald Fagen (keyboards, lead vocals)
“There were two of them in the studio and they had the pick of all the musicians really.
“They were in the studio, and every single famous musician would want to be on one of their albums, so they would be queuing up, laying their part down and Steely Dan would just pick from that.
“They were picking from the best musicians in the world. It would just be Next! Next! Next! As all the musicians queued up – and then the band would choose. They were known as the musicians’ band. Every serious musician would be wanting to work with them.
“They sold out the O2 and they did an arena tour. They didn’t tour for something like 20 odd years.
“They have only really been touring again in the last ten years. They are an arena-sized band. They live in New York. They are native New Yorkers, though there is only one of the originals left now.”
Walter Becker died on September 3 2017, aged 67.
“So that’s another reason why we do this: they don’t tour so much. People that love Steely Dan don’t get the chance so much to see them very often.
“When I was a kid, my parents used to play their records. I was six or seven when I first heard them, and I just loved them. It’s hard to say exactly why.
“They were very quirky. I grew up in the 1970s and it was a lot more laidback. Steely Dan were a bit more interesting sonically and musically, and I just really enjoyed listening to them.
“My parents were massive Beatles and Rolling Stones fans. They just had really good taste in music, and I think I just followed!
“I have seen Steely Dan twice. The first time was at Hammersmith about 15 years ago and then last year. Seeing them was on my bucket list. I never thought I would get the chance to see them. It was my pinnacle.
“They are very sardonic. They have got the old-school New York attitude and not really seeming to give a damn. They are quite arrogant and aloof on stage.
“I would not say it was their personality that makes them the best, but their music is absolutely fantastic.
“The second time I saw them was last year at the O2, and they were really slick, but it was a bigger venue, and I think you lose a little bit when you are in the bigger venues. But I still thought they were absolutely fantastic.”
Tickets from The Novium at £18 in advance, £22 on the door.