July 29, 2006

Michigan's Musical Connection: Dick Wagner

In sitting down to put this post together, I found it challenging due to the diversity and musical impact of this artist. In reading his resume, I was nothing short of astounded by the immense role he has played on the musical landscape.
Here's what Wiki tells about Dick Wagner -

Wagner was Alice Cooper's right-hand man on Welcome to My Nightmare, Go To Hell , Lace And Whisky, and From the Inside, helped in song writing, composing, production and of course lead guitar. Dick was often accompanied by lead guitarist Steve Hunter, they have played together since the 60's.

Wagner lent his playing (and in some cases, songwriting) talents to some of the 1970s biggest hard rock albums, including Lou Reed's Rock N Roll Animal, Alice Cooper's Welcome to My Nightmare, and KISS' Destroyer.

Growing up in the Detroit area, Wagner's first true band, The Frost, formed in the late 1960s as they built up a substantial following in the Michigan area (which at the time also nurtured such other outfits as the Stooges, MC5, Bob Seger, Ted Nugent, and Grand Funk Railroad), and issued a total of three albums during their tenure together on Vanguard Records: 1969's Frost Music and Rock and Roll Music, plus 1970's Through the Eyes of Love. All three albums plus a 'best of' compilation are available on CD from Vanguard.

Bob Ezrin used Wagner & Hunter on Lou Reed's controversial 1973 studio release Berlin which was a dark concept album that followed a pair of seedy characters beset by drug addiction, which leads to spousal abuse, prostitution, child welfare, and ultimately, death.

Wagner has lend his talents to recordings by other artists. Aerosmith's Get Your Wings has Wagner and Hunter playing the "guitar duel" on "Train Kept a Rollin'" along with Joe Perry. Wagner also plays on KISS' Destroyer, Peter Garbriel's self-titled solo debut, Hall & Oates' Along the Red Ledge, Mark Farner's self-titled solo debut, and a pair of albums for the star of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Tim Curry.
If you want to see the diversity in Dick Wagner's career, visit his web site. Of particular note is his discography.
I also found an interview by Dick Wagner at Vintage Guitar.com for those guitarist in the room.



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