Jeff Baxter Opens Up About His Departure From Steely Dan

The guitarist Jeff Baxter recently joined an interview with Rock History Music and revealed why he parted ways with Steely Dan in the past.

After working with a few musicians, including Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Baxter established Steely Dan in 1972. Baxter became a part of the first three albums of the band. The debut album, entitled ‘Can’t Buy a Thrill,’ gained commercial success by reaching the top 20 on the Billboard chart.

The second one, ‘Countdown to Ecstasy,’ could not gain the same achievement as much as the debut album. However, the group’s success continued with the third album named ‘Pretzel Logic,’ released in 1974. The album became a commercial triumph and received positive reviews from critics, especially with the hit single ‘Rikki Don’t Lose That Number.’

Although Steely Dan was quickly climbing the ladder to success, Jeff Baxter decided to part ways with the band following the third album. Baxter joined The Doobie Brothers in 1974, the band who toured for its fourth album ‘What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits.’ As a permanent member, he became a part of the fifth album named ‘Stampede.’

Jeff Baxter recently revealed the reason behind his departure from Steely Dan in 1974. Baxter stated that as Walter Becker and Donald Fagen stopped touring, he immediately decided to leave the band. Baxter wanted to continue live shows, which were enjoyable for him, instead of only being a session musician. Later on, the guitarist became a permanent member of The Doobie Brothers immediately after leaving Steely Dan.

Baxter explained the reason for leaving Steely Dan:

“I left Steely Dan because Mr. Becker and Mr. Fagen decided they didn’t want to tour anymore, and I enjoyed playing live. It’s a dichotomy, being a session rat and being a live performer. I was actually on tour with The Doobies as in the band. But at the time, I was playing with the three different bands, Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers, and Linda Ronstadt, playing pedal steel.

So, I was at the Knebworth Music Festival with The Doobies, and when I hung up the phone and said, ‘Well, that’s kind of it for me and Steely Dan.’ They said, ‘Now, you’re in The Doobie Brothers.’ ‘Okay, roger that.'”

You can watch the entire interview below.