In early September, Steely Dan‘s Walter Becker died at the age of 67. Two months later, Becker’s longtime bandmate, Donald Fagen, is embroiled in a lawsuit with Becker’s estate over the future of the band’s name and likeness.
As the Hollywood Reporter detailed, Fagen is suing Becker’s estate regarding a contract stipulation the pair signed in the early days of the classic rock band’s career. From the report:
At the center of the lawsuit is a 1972 buy-sell agreement signed by the original bandmembers when Steely Dan was incorporated. According to the complaint, which was filed Tuesday in L.A. County Superior Court, the contract provides that whenever a member of the group quits or dies, Steely Dan purchases all of that member’s shares in the group.
“By the 2010s, Fagen and Becker were the only remaining shareholders and signatories to the Buy/Sell Agreement,” writes attorney Louis “Skip” Miller in the complaint. “Four days after Becker’s death, on September 7, 2017, the Becker Defendants sent Fagen a letter stating that ‘We wanted to put you on notice that the Buy/Sell Agreement dated as of October 31, 1972 is of no force or effect.’ “
Apparently, Becker’s camp/estate is running the Steely Dan website and social media presences, which is also part of the conflict.