Steely Dan has built a worldwide reputation primarily because of their legendary songs, but their quirky name also helped to pique listeners' interest. There was one night, however, when they had a different moniker: "Mr. Steely Dan."

It happened as the band was getting ready to play what ended up being its final U.S. concert for nearly 20 years, on July 4, 1974, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. The group’s bus driver, Jerome Aniton, had an interesting time leading up to that night’s show.

“He was normally a very soft-spoken, quiet guy,” Michael McDonald shared during a new interview on the Naked Lunch podcast, which you can hear below.

READ MORE: How Michael McDonald Worked His Way Into Steely Dan

Donald [Fagen] and Walter [Becker] kind of got him drunk that night, I think," McDonald continued. "It was the last night of the tour, so he was hanging out in the dressing room, not moving onto the next show as usual, waiting for load-in or sleeping so he could drive to the next gig. He got to hang out that night.”

Aniton was feeling no pain as the concert was about to kick off and Fagen asked him to introduce the band, which the driver had done periodically before that night. “It was like James Brown's [Live] at the Apollo or something,” McDonald told hosts David Wild and Phil Rosenthal. “He kind of went into this whole spiel about Steely Dan. He made up words, to just kind of make it even more fantastical. When he got to actually saying the name, I could tell he wasn’t quite sure. He goes, ‘Mr. Steely Dan, and whatever!’

Listen to Jerome Aniton's Steely Dan Concert Introduction

Fagen and Becker were so delighted by the moment that they later included that night’s opening performance of the Dan staple “Bodhisattva” — with Aniton’s intro — as the B-side to the vinyl 45 of “Hey Nineteen” in 1980. “We dig him,” Fagen told Rolling Stone shortly after the Santa Monica gig. “Nobody does better buildups than he does. ‘Mr. Whatever’! Once he introduced us as 'Stevie Dan.'"

"That was probably the single aesthetic decision from the '70s I don't have any regrets about making," Becker added in a 2015 USA Today profile.

Why Steely Dan Songs are So Hard to Sing

McDonald is celebrating the pending arrival of his memoir, What a Fool Believes, which he co-wrote with actor and author Paul Reiser. The pair shared many stories during the Naked Lunch interview. Among them, McDonald unpacked another legendary Dan moment: the day that Don Henley came in to sing background vocals — unsuccessfully — on “Peg.”

It was a task that the future Doobie Brothers singer and five-time Grammy winner eventually handled after Henley was dismissed. He said he understands why the Eagles vocalist may have run into issues.

“You know, unless you were a jazz singer or a trained singer, the kind of person who can sight-read and sing, it would have been a little tricky,” he explained. "It wasn’t like your typical rock bar band harmonies ... I had to have them turn off all of my other vocals as I did them so I didn’t have to hear how close I was to the other harmony, because it would throw me off.”

What a Fool Believes is set for release on May 21.

The Best Song From Every Steely Dan Album

Steely Dan's confidence kept growing as their songs gained more narrative complexity and musical depth.

Gallery Credit: Nick DeRiso

More From WZOZ