Was Chevy Chase a Member of ‘Steely Dan’ at New York’s Bard College?
Chevy Chase has done it all in his career. He was a foundational member of the Saturday Night Live cast. He was Clark W. Griswold, Fletch, Pierce Hawthorne and more. He's been loved, and he's been hated.
Before all of that, however, Chevy Chase was a film student at Bard College, and played percussion in a band with two no-name musicians.
Those musicians? Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, who would go on to form "Steely Dan".
Chevy Chase was a Part of Steely Dan?
Well, sort of. He was the drummer in a band that boasted both Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, before the duo formed Steely Dan together.
As the story goes, Chase and the duo were part of a band called The Leather Canary, which played together while the three were at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. Chase was the drummer, with Fagen playing his trademark keyboard, and Becker on the guitar. Chase described the band in his book as a "bad jazz band", and it appears as though the band didn't have a terribly long shelf life.
In a rare turn of events, however, after the break-up, both parties ended up having successful careers after.
Chevy Chase Would Become a Comedy Star
After his time with The Leather Canary, and a stint with a band called Chamaeleon Church in Boston, Chase turned to comedy, writing for The National Lampoon Radio hour in the 1970's.
Chase's writing credits led him to be named to the original cast of Saturday Night Live, which hit the airwaves in 1975. He spent parts of two seasons with the show, before moving to Los Angeles, where he starred in a number of memorable comedy movies, including Caddyshack, Fletch, Three Amigos and more.
Fagen and Becker Would Go On to Create Steely Dan
According to an Entertainment Weekly profile on the band, Fagen and Becker met in 1967, and began to play in a number of "local" bands while at Bard College, one of which being the aforementioned The Leather Canary.
The duo founded Steely Dan in 1971, and slowly built the band into the one we know today, featuring a unique, contemporary rock sound. Fagen and Becker would later be named as Rolling Stone's 15th most memorable musical duo, and performed together on-and-off until Becker's death in 2017.
And for both Chase and the band, it all began in New York, at Bard College, with The Leather Canary.