Before Michael McDonald became a household name to most of us he was touring and recording with Steely Dan. It was that iconic band that hired him before we knew his name as a member of the Doobie Brothers. In the end McDonald appeared on the Steely Dan albums, “Katy Lied,” “The Royal Scam,” “Aja” and “Gaucho.”
He told Billboard Magazine, “I was fairly shocked ’cause although I knew that he was having health issues, they were kind of ongoing for the last couple years. I really had no idea he was as ill…I remember hearing that for some reason he had left some of the dates on the Steely Dan tour, and that worried me. I think really the first thing that kind of hit me was I regretted that I didn’t pick up the phone and call and see how he was, ’cause Walter and I had been friends for all these years…(But) Walter wouldn’t be the guy who’d probably want to field a lot of phone calls concerning his health, so I just waited to hear something forward, and the next thing I heard is he passed away.”
“The greatest loss here is an amazingly talented man, but he was a kind and honest man and I don’t know how many people that I can use that description on that I know in the world. I never saw the guy not be kind to someone no matter how insignificant they might be in his life. He was always a kind person, and for as intelligent as he was and as, even as cynical as he could be about the world…he seemed to value every human being he ever met. And I think that says a lot about a person.”
He also opened for and played with Steely Dan in 2006. McDonald’s new album “Wide Open” comes out on Sept 18th.
Becker died on Sunday (September 3) at the age of 67. – by John Beaudin
John Beaudin has been in major market radio (Edmonton, Vancouver & Calgary) for 33 years and a music journalist since 1989. He graduated from Broadcasting school as a news man so he would have the skills to write about the artists that inspired him since he bought his first album, “Madman Across The Water” by Elton John as a teen. In the 80’s Beaudin was the host of the syndicated radio show “The Cross Canada Report” which had two version (Rock and A/C). Beaudin was also asked to be a judge at the Juno Awards (Canada’s answer to the Grammys) Twice. He has anchored every position in radio including morning and afternoon drive and was a Program and Music Director for The Breeze and California 103 in Calgary. He currently hosts the popular Lovesongs at QM-FM in Vancouver and on iHeartRadio.