Steely Dan‘s Donald Fagen has denied that Aimee Mann was dropped from the band’s forthcoming summer tour due to her gender.
Earlier this week, Mann shared a comic strip on her Instagram account which depicted the singer-songwriter performing onstage. “I was supposed to open for Steely Dan this summer,” she wrote in the comic.
“I just found out that they took me off the bill,” she continued. “No-one is entirely sure why, but it seems they thought their audience wouldn’t like a female singer-songwriter? As it happens, Steely Dan is the one band that I 100% love, with no reservations, so it really sucks.”
Now, in a statement to Rolling Stone, Fagen has denied that was the reason for Mann being pulled from the tour. “First of all, the idea that I would make any decision based on the gender of a performer is ridiculous. That’s something that would never even occur to me.” Fagen also pointed out that female singer-songwriters including Phoebe Snow and Rickie Lee Jones had previously opened for the band.
“There was a communication problem on our end. I was misinformed as to how firm the commitment was to any particular opening act. And, although I have the greatest respect for Aimee as a writer and performer, I thought it might not be the best matchup in terms of musical style,” Fagen explained.
“But I can’t pass the buck. I’ll take the blame for the screwup. I apologize for any distress this has caused Aimee and her fans.”
A spokesperson for Mann replied to Fagen’s comments, telling Rolling Stone that “her illustration says it all”.