Photo: Danny ClinchSteely Dan singer/pianist Donald Fagen is back with his fourth solo album, Sunken Condos, now in stores. The multi-talented musician says this record marks something of new beginning for him, since his previously three efforts -- 1983's The Nightfly, 1993's Kamakiriad and 2006's Morph the Cat -- were thematically part of a trilogy.
"I wanted to start out clean and do something different," he explains to ABC News Radio. "I was thinking I'd just write freestanding songs that weren't really a concept or anything like that. So, I just started writing tunes."
However, Fagen admits that the songs he did come up with ended up not veering too far from the subjects and the laid- back jazzy sound, of his previous releases. "The way it turned out, it could almost be another in a series," he maintains, "because [the songs] turned out to be kind of subjective…The characters that narrate the tunes, so to speak, are not that far from myself, I suppose."
Regarding the unusual title of the album, Fagen reveals that it was partly inspired by The Sunken Cathedral, a piece by classical French composer Claude Debussy.
"It kinda works on different levels...sort of sociopolitical, considering the economic situation and so on," he explains. "Also, it's kind of a good metaphor for the way I was feeling at the time. I just had this kind of vision of these condos under water."
In addition to promoting Sunken Condos, Fagen has been busy touring with Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs as the super group the Dukes of September Rhythm Revue. The collective has a few new shows on its schedule, including concerts this Wednesday and Thursday in Hawaii, followed by four shows in Japan. Fagen says the Dukes are also discussing putting a PBS special together, and adds that he may launch a brief solo tour after the Dukes gigs, "if [the album] seems to be doing OK."
As for his day job, Fagen reveals that he and his Steely Dan partner Walter Becker are "talking about doing an album or else probably going on tour next summer."
What might the next Dan record sound like? Fagen says, "Generally speaking, my solo albums, Walter's solo albums and Steely Dan [are] in the same general area." He adds, however, that "lately, we've been talking about doing something different, but I'm not sure what that's gonna be yet."
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio