Eminent Hipsters - Donald Fagen

Eminent Hipsters

By Donald Fagen

  • Release Date: 2013-10-22
  • Genre: Music
Score: 3.5
From 110 Ratings


A witty, candid, sharply written memoir by the cofounder of Steely Dan

In his entertaining debut as an author, Donald Fagen—musician, songwriter, and cofounder of Steely Dan—reveals the cultural figures and currents that shaped his artistic sensibility, as well as offering a look at his college days and a hilarious account of life on the road. Fagen presents the “eminent hipsters” who spoke to him as he was growing up in a bland New Jersey suburb in the early 1960s; his colorful, mind-expanding years at Bard College, where he first met his musical partner Walter Becker; and the agonies and ecstasies of a recent cross-country tour with Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs. Acclaimed for his literate lyrics and complex arrangements as a musician, Fagen here proves himself a sophisticated writer with his own distinctive voice.


  • Can You Hear Me Dr. Whine?

    By GPO196698
    I tried to like this book, because I am a huge Steely Dan fan. But I’ll bet Donald Fagan enjoyed writing this book far more than this “TV baby” enjoyed reading it. Donald Fagan is who Kyle’s cousin Kyle (TV reference DF likely won’t get) grows up to be.
  • Not bad Not great

    By dr.jam 1
    See above
  • Witty, elegant prose sure to enrage TV babies

    By EpiTeleStrat
    I love this guy's writing ever since reading the introduction to the music of Steely Dan song book. His scathing and dad on comments about the soul dead TV baby generations that have permanently had their brains and culture deranged by the idiot box has apparently left many reviewers cold. One has to wonder how in the world types like this ever started listening to Steely Dan in the first place. His descriptions of the mostly geriatric crowds coming to see the Dukes of September on their 2012 tour Will probably make uncomfortable reading for any graying swingers that are still going to concerts.
  • Imminent Hipsters

    By GravityWerx
    Gives new meaning to the word "hip". The "amygdala thing" was worth the price of admission.
  • Eminent Hipsters

    By Hecgu
  • Great Read!

    By kenzoidian
    A glimpse into one of the brightest musical minds of our era. Album after album these guys put out great songs with tight grooves and mind bending lyrics. To this day, Steely Dan remains a mystery, as it should be. This book isn't always pretty, but it is witty and honest......Thank you Mr. Fagen, for your music and for this excellent read.
  • Curiously, a Donald Fagan bio with nary a mention of Steely Dan

    By One Suitcase
    A curious blend of reminiscences and musings (on NYC jazz clubs, late night DJs and sci-fi lit among other topics), and fragments from Fagan’s diary from his summer 2012 tour with the Dukes of September (that included Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald). Disappointingly, Steely Dan and its music are almost a no-show in Eminent Hipsters.
  • Honest & Funny But Not What the Title Suggests

    By Spitting Lama
    This was given to me as a gift. But most friends of mine know that I would have bought it anyway without a second look. Contemporary music biography is a favorite genre and Fagen is on my short list of musicians that have had an influence on my own musical world. Donald Fagen is, to me, what Van Heusen, Kern, or Young was to a previous generation of musicians. The American Songbook continues to evolve and find an audience thanks to artists like Mr. Fagen. On every level, Fagan is the complete package - lyricist, songwriter, musician, arranger, producer, etc… The first portion of the book mainly deals with the musical and cultural influences that were central in Fagen's own life as an artist and a human being. If you know nothing about jazz history or have no interest in popular culture circa 1957-1967 then you may find yourself bored. But you may take interest in the second part of the book - a tour diary for the Dukes of September circa 2012. As a reward for all the hard work of being a standard bearer he submits to the crappy existence of living life on a tour bus. It doesn't even take imagination to understand how tiring that life could be. As an antidote to the dreariness, Fagen eviscerates the tour bus life with his legendary wit in a personal road journal. And we get a chance to look over his shoulder. But there is a huge gap in this book. And those that did not investigate beyond the title before purchasing may be taken aback by what is NOT in the book. "Eminent Hipsters" (plural) suggests Fagen and Becker - the principal duo behind Steely Dan. For me, it comes off as a bit of false advertising. Steely Dan is not at all central to this book. A better title would have been the singular, "Eminent Hipster". Fagen puts out 120% on the stage. He is a joy to watch. His contribution to contemporary music goes well beyond Reelin' and Rikki. He has (oh God this is hard to say) "matured gracefully" as an artist. Fagen likes to grouse about what he perceives to be inane and banal in popular culture. If his own fans are the target then so much the better. (Were all in the big auditorium singing "Got the Steely Dan tee shirt…" together.) I think his opinions regarding synthesizers, TV and internet, and tuning make my own eyes roll on occasion. But I will always be interested in what Donald has to say. And I submit that I am far more partial to this book than the average DanFan.
  • Eminent hipsters

    By Niteflies
    Was wanting to read a book about the Steely Dan years, but was highly disappointed. There is almost nothing here about SD.
  • Megalomaniacal dick, indeed.

    By kzd22
    For those hoping for the brilliance of SD lyrics extended in book form, save your dough. If, alternatively, you're interested in a slim volume with nonstop whining about staying at the Four Seasons, not having a private jet, and having to perform for ugly old fans- this is the book for you!