With the June 10th release of Circus Money, his trenchant and tender new solo album on the 5 Over 12 imprint, Walter Becker returns to stand-alone status for the first time in fourteen years. "It is," the artist acknowledges, "a unique career strategy."
It was in 1994 that 11 Tracks of Whack, Becker's debut solo outing arrived, with conclusive proof that the songwriter, multi-tasking musician and studio habitué had more to say and more ways to say it than could be contained in the epochal oeuvre of Steely Dan.
And that itself is saying something, considering the storied career of the estimable duo, with all the masses of platinum and multiples of Grammy amassed by Walter Becker and his teammate Donald Fagen over the last forty odd some would say very odd -- years. Yet there was evidently a lot more where that came from, music so idiosyncratic, iconoclastic and ingenious only one artist could rightly be held accountable.
"When I write a song, it matters very much whether it's intended for me," Walter explains. "If it is, I can do what I want, within my own frame of reference. I take full responsibility."
Yet, even allowing for such a forthright admission of liability, the dozen tracks that comprise Circus Money were very much a collaborative endeavor.
Aiding and abetting the artist over the nearly three years of the album's creation was Larry Klein (most recently known for helming Herbie Hancock's 2007 Grammy winning album), who both produced Circus Money and co-wrote all but one selection.