Donald Fagen, second from right, with the Nightflyers.

For his current tour, Donald Fagen has surrounded himself with a band of players all under the age of the 28. For the veteran Fagen, it's been an energizing experience, as much for culinary if not musical reasons.

"It's great, you know," he said in a teleconference with journalists from around the country.

"It's great hanging around with 20-somethings. They know all of 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. You know, the wraps with a lot of good, Oriental sauces in it and things like that.

"It's like the menus say things like 'your protein will be such and such' and 'your carbohydrates will be such and such.' I'm more like a grilled cheese guy."

If you go

› What: Donald Fagen of Steely Dan and the Nightflyers

› When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19

› Where: Tivoli Theatre, 709 Broad St.

› Admission: $125, $85, $65

› Phone: 423-757-5580

› Online:

Fagen, known for both his work with Steely Dan and his solo career, will perform with the Nightflyers on Saturday, Aug. 19, at the Tivoli Theatre.

Fagen was asked how his solo work differed from the stuff he did with Steely Dan.

"I just think the songs tend to be more personal, maybe, where in contrast with the Steely Dan material in which Walter [Becker] and I were perhaps more journalistic in some ways, commenting on things and so on. That happens with my solo stuff, too; but generally speaking, I think they're more autobiographical."

He was later asked if he saw himself as the protagonist in a film noir movie, along the lines of a Philip Marlowe-type character.

"I think that's a very fair way to describe the music," he said.

"It's hard to say. I think it's sort of egotistical to put myself in a position of having the same kind of bigger-than-life personality as, you know, some of the people in noir literature, like Philip Marlowe. But I am attracted to that sort of thing, and I always think that the best of noir literature.

"You know, noir is actually a word that is fairly recent. They didn't call it that when it was written. But there's something about that vision of life to me that seems true to real life, and then, what passes as realism. I think you're right — there's a romance to it. There's a cynicism to it, skepticism and also humor. So I think that's become part of my style."

Fagen and the Nightflyers have been doing plenty of Steely Dan songs like "Reeling in the Years" and "Josie" in their sets as well as some cover tunes, which Fagen has said he loves doing. During the conference call, he said he'd love to go into the studio to maybe do some new material with the younger players.

He found them near his home in the Woodstock, N.Y., area.

"And so 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 birthday concert. 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."

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfree or 423-757-6354.


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