Last week, Donald Fagen filed a lawsuit against the estate of his late bandmate Walter Becker, who died earlier this year, over the rights to continue to use the name Steely Dan for performances. Fagen also filed a suit against Steely Dan’s management firm, alleging that the firm has been withholding records from him.Today, a representative of Walter Becker’s estate provides a statement regarding Donald Fagen’s lawsuit, expressing their disappointment. Read the full statement below.“We were disappointed to learn that Donald Fagen commenced a lawsuit against (the estate of) Walter Becker, his partner of 50 years, on the eve of Thanksgiving. We believe the agreement to which Mr. Fagen refers in his suit — drafted 45 years ago— was not in effect at the time of Walter’s death.Mr. Fagen’s lawsuit, riddled with half-truths and omissions, misleadingly fails to state that the day after Walter died, Mr. Fagen had his lawyer send a demand letter to Walter’s estate, thus beginning a legal campaign against Walter’s family immediately after his death. The misrepresentation that his widow, Ms. Cioffi initiated any litigious action is simply untrue. In our view, Mr. Fagen is unfairly trying to deprive Walter’s family of the fruits of their joint labors.Since Walter’s passing, we have endeavored to achieve a compromise with Mr. Fagen. We were close to a resolution with his longtime counsel who he suddenly fired. We then negotiated in good faith with replacement counsel who Mr. Fagen also fired. Mr. Fagen’s third and current lawyer did not even attempt to contact us prior to filing a lawsuit.While we regret Mr. Fagen’s latest actions, we will vigorously defend against his unwarranted and frivolous case.”As The Hollywood Reporter previously outlined of Fagen’s actions,“At the center of the lawsuit is a 1972 Buy/Sell Agreement signed by the original bandmembers when Steely Dan was incorporated. According to the complaint, which was filed Tuesday in L.A. County Superior Court, the contract provides that whenever a member of the group quits or dies Steely Dan purchases all of that members shares in the group.By the 2010s, Fagen and Becker were the only remaining shareholders and signatories to the Buy/Sell Agreement,” writes attorney Louis “Skip” Miller in the complaint. ‘Four days after Becker’s death, on September 7, 2017, the Becker Defendants sent Fagen a letter stating that ‘We wanted to put you on notice that the Buy/Sell Agreement dated as of October 31, 1972 is of no force or effect.’”The letter sent to Fagen by Becker’s estate also asked that Becker’s widow receive 50% ownership of and become an officer of Steely Dan. Fagen has claimed that the Becker estate currently has control of Steely Dan’s official website, with the estate of the late Steely Dan guitarist refusing to give him access or any control of the site. Fagen is seeking a million dollars in damages and hoping that the court will arrive at the decision that Fagen, following Becker’s passing, is the sole owner of the Steely Dan name.
On May 30th, Trombone Shorty performed at the 16th annual Sesame Workshop gala in New York City. The event, which benefits the nonprofit organization behind the beloved children’s program Sesame Street, was a high-profile affair, hosted by TV personality and host Katie Couric and, of course, a bunch of muppets including Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, and many others. In addition to honors given out across the night, the gala primarily celebrated the launch of Sesame Workshop’s newly established Joan Ganz Cooney Fund for Vulnerable Children.However, given that this is a music site, most importantly, the gala gave us a series of amazing photos of Trombone Shorty partying with a bunch of muppets, including Elmo, Count von Count, and Zoe. Furthermore, to commemorate the famed New Orleans-bred musician and bandleader’s musical contributions to the evening, Sesame Street crafted a custom Trombone Shorty muppet. You can check out Trombone Shorty’s Twitter post about his muppet doppelgänger below, plus check out more pictures of Trombone Shorty, Katie Couric, and other muppets at the gala here. The Trombone Shorty muppet is the second TV-stylized version of the Orleans Avenue bandleader we’ve seen this year. In March, a cartoon version of him appeared on The Simpsons during a special episode about New Orleans.