Steely Dan lead singer Donald Fagen is suing the estate of his late bandmate Walter Becker, who died Sept. 3, over ownership of the group’s name.
The Los Angeles Superior Court complaint deals with a 1972 contract signed by Steely Dan’s members. It stated that upon the death or departure of a member of the band, the others are entitled to buy that member’s shares.
In the last few years, Becker and Fagen, 69, were the last remaining shareholders.
Four days after Becker’s death in New York at age 67 from complications of esophageal cancer, his estate sent a letter to Fagen claiming that the 1972 agreement was no longer valid, according to the complaint, which also alleges the estate sought to give 50 percent ownership of the band to Becker’s widow.
“It is clear the Becker defendants have no intention of honoring the mandatory … provision,” the lawsuit that was filed Tuesday says.
A representative for the Becker estate could not be immediately reached.
The duo named the band after an oversized strap-on dildo mentioned in the William S. Burroughs novel “Naked Lunch.”
Fagen is asking for a court declaration that the 1972 agreement is still in effect.
Fagen says in his court papers that he and Becker met in college and “collaborated in an amicable partnership as song writers and performers.”
While Steely Dan has seen other singers come and go, Fagen and Becker “were always the two staples of the band,” the suit says.
–Staff and wire reports
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