Steely Dan Drop Aimee Mann From Opening Slot on 2022 Tour
Aimee Mann won't be opening for Steely Dan this summer, though "no one is entirely sure why."
Steve Winwood was initially paired with Steely Dan for these dates but was replaced by Mann and Snarky Puppy in February. Snarky Puppy are still set for shows in May and early June, while Mann was to have taken over on June 21 through July 3.
Mann suggested that she was dropped because "their audience wouldn't like a female singer-songwriter," but Donald Fagen refuted that in an official statement.
"Well, first of all, the idea that I would make any decision based on the gender of a performer is ridiculous," Fagen said. "That's something that would never even occur to me." His statement notes that Steely Dan has previously toured with both Rickie Lee Jones and the late Phoebe Snow.
"As it happens, Steely Dan is the one band that I 100 percent love, with no reservations, so it really sucks," Mann added. "But you know what? People are allowed to not like you, for whatever reason."
Steely Dan are touring behind Northeast Corridor, their first live album in 25 years. The LP arrived last September on the same day as Donald Fagen's The Nightfly Live. Ticketmaster no longer lists Mann as the tour's opening act, though a few websites for individual venues have not yet been updated.
"I love Steely Dan," Mann told Forbes later in 2021, "and to me, Steely Dan has an enormous amount of feeling that I feel like nobody ever gives them credit for. There's an enormous amount of feeling. The characters are sad, and pathetic, and despairing, and drug addicts, mostly involved in these terrible dead-end relationships. What's not to like?"
Fagen took responsibility for what he described as a miscommunication with Mann. "I was misinformed as to how firm the commitment was to any particular opening act," he said in the official statement. "And, although I have the greatest respect for Aimee as a writer and performer, I thought it might not be the best matchup in terms of musical style. But I can't pass the buck. I'll take the blame for the screwup. I apologize for any distress this has caused Aimee and her fans."
Mann referenced Steely Dan's famously inscrutable lyrics in a separate tweet about her departure, specifically mentioning "Brooklyn (Owes the Charmer Under Me)" from Can't Buy a Thrill: "All is forgiven if Donald just tells me what 'Brooklyn' is about."