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Steely Dan have no idea who AC/DC is

Posted by on April 10, 2015

If you’re reading this, you’re probably not headed to Coachella this weekend. That’s understandable, as there really aren’t that many metal-oriented acts playing this year. One of the biggest stories of the festival is that it will mark AC/DC’s first show with their new lineup of Stevie Young  on guitar and Chris Slade back on drums. It’s debatable how many St. Vincent and Run The Jewels fans will be sticking around to watch the band’s first North American show in a number of years. The festival also booked another heritage act to show the kids how it’s done: Steely Dan. However, in a tour diary that he’s doing for Rolling Stone, the band’s Donald Fagen admits he won’t be sticking around to see them either:

I’m flying to the West Coast to do a shortish tour, about two weeks. The gigs were booked after we were invited to play at the Coachella festival as a token old-guy band along with AC/DC, whoever they are (I stopped following most mainstream radio rock soon after we put out our first Steely Dan record in ’72). Really, I’ve  heard the name for years, but not sure what they sound like.

We’re going to call bullshit here. You don’t necessarily have to like a band to be aware of them, and while Fagan’s jazz-influenced rock and AC/DC’s three chords and an attitude riff rock don’t have a ton of overlap, the Australian band’s music reaches far beyond mainstream radio rock. “You Shook Me All Night Long” could be played at a dance club and people that have no idea who AC/DC was would shout along to the chorus. If he’s been to a sporting event, he’s probably heard them. You’d have to be pretty much a hermit to not have at least a passing familiarity with at least one AC/DC song, even if you’re a studio rat or jazz head. And any curious musician should want to hear what’s popular, even if they have no interest in emulating it.

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