DICK WAGNER – THE MAESTRO OF ROCK
Legendary Lead Guitar Player, Songwriter, Producer, Author
Dick Wagner’s songs and lead guitar have been featured on more than 350 renowned albums, garnering more than 35 Platinum and Gold records, BMI songwriter awards, and numerous prestigious international awards.
A man whose fans and friends call “The Maestro of Rock,” the Detroit area native helped define an era in rock history by playing lead guitar or writing songs for ALICE COOPER, AEROSMITH, KISS, LOU REED, PETER GABRIEL, MEAT LOAF, GUNS N ROSES, STEVE PERRY, ETTA JAMES, ROD STEWART, TINA TURNER, AIR SUPPLY, HALL & OATES, RINGO STARR, TORI AMOS, FRANK SINATRA, URSA MAJOR, and dozens of others.
Legendary for his groundbreaking collaborations with Alice Cooper, Wagner was Alice’s musical director, co-writer, and lead guitarist on the majority of the icon’s top selling singles and albums, including such songs as "Only Women Bleed," "You and Me," "I Never Cry," and "Welcome to My Nightmare." Together, Cooper and Wagner co-wrote the majority of Alice Cooper's top selling singles and albums, including more than 50 songs, featured on over 60 Alice Cooper albums worldwide.
GIBSON.com Top 50 Guitar Solos of all Time: Dick Wagner has been celebrated with TWO positions in Gibson.com’s “Top 50 Guitar Solos of all Time,” honored along with guitar legends Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, and Eddie Van Halen! http://bit.ly/1fjpxiI
Award winning Author and Speaker: Wagner’s memoir, NOT ONLY WOMEN BLEED, Vignettes from the Heart of a Rock Musician (with foreword by Alice Cooper) has been honored with FIVE international book awards.
ROCKERS FOR ST. JUDE: “We Are the World” for 2013: Wagner gathered together more than 50 rockers from across the history of rock ‘n roll to record his song for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, “If I Had the Time (I Could Change the World).” The All Star band features Dick Wagner, Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad), Trini Lopez, Elliot Easton (The Cars), Danny Seraphine (Chicago), Lee Sklar (James Taylor), Fred Mandel (Elton John), Merrilee Rush (Angel of the Morning), among many more. Video: http://bit.ly/1ioaoMF Proceeds benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Along with his work for St. Jude and charitable organizations supporting women and children, Dick Wagner is the First Ambassador for Guitars4vets.org, and National Spokesperson for Hydrocephalus.org. Wagner actively supports the programs of Franciscan monk, Brother Al Mascia www.brotheral.com in his Bicycle Ministry and Care’avan, serving the poor and homeless of the Detroit tri-county region.
ROCK ROYALTY & JOURNALISTS ON DICK WAGNER:
~ “I first saw Dick Wagner while he was playing with The Frost and quickly filed him under ‘Guitar players I’d like to steal. But Dick
isn’t JUST a guitar player. He’s a gifted writer, and I wrote most of the Alice Cooper Hits with him." ALICE COOPER
~ “Name your all-time favorite rock guitar solos and chances are at least one of them will include the legendary Dick Wagner.” DAVID FOSTER, Producer (Celine Dion, Josh Groban, Whitney Houston)
~ "My go-to musician and writer on the majority of my projects in the 70sand 80s and now again in the new millennium.” BOB EZRIN, Producer (Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, KISS)
~ “Dick Wagner has always been celebrated as a soulful guitar force to reckon with. From his brilliant work with Alice Cooper and beyond, Dick has forever projected an earthly musical spirit that is pure American R&R & R&B. He is one of the best guitarists in the world.” TED NUGENT, Rocker
~ "Dick Wagner was the consummate gentleman axeman. (He) will be missed," Kiss' Gene Simmons said in a statement on Wednesday, noting that Wagner played the "blistering" guitar solo on the Destroyer track "Sweet Pain." Gene Simmons (Kiss)
~ Kiss frontman Paul Stanley: "Dick was a stellar player and his work with Steve Hunter on Lou Reed's Rock&Roll Animal is legendary. He also did great work with Alice Cooper and uncredited ghosting on Destroyer and albums by some of our contemporaries. A huge talent with a huge tone and huge heart. A great unsung hero."
~ “Dick Wagner was not only my lifelong friend, he was a maestro recognized by his peers and countless fans. He was my personal teacher who showed me the value of showmanship and the theatrical end of live performance. He’s put on quite a show right now, God rest his soul. Our prayers are with his children and family.” Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad)
~ "The Invisible Virtuoso: Wagner's unique rock and roll journey is a touchstone in American music history.” James Campion, Huffington Post
~ “I could count the number of "Go-to" guitar players in this country on half a hand. Dick Wagner is one of them.” JACK DOUGLAS, Producer (Aerosmith, John Lennon)
~ Gibson.com Top 50 Guitar Solos of All Time #25 “Sweet Jane” (live), Lou Reed (Dick Wagner, Steve Hunter) “What makes a great guitar solo? Is it mind-melting precision or bone-chilling soul? Is it the way it can leave you slack-jawed, wondering, ’How did he do that?’”
~ “When your recording session needed some monster guitar solos, you called Wagner and Hunter first. Period. Just ask Kiss. Or better yet, ask Aerosmith.” Vintage Guitar Magazine
~ “Unparalleled ability to chisel memorable riffs, brilliant leads, power chords and even pastoral acoustic textures. Along with the guitar acrobatics, Wagner crunches out hard rock along with power-rock ballads.” Music Business Monthly
~ “Heavy, thrilling without threatening to stupefy...The made-in-Detroit guitars of Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner mesh naturally with the unnatural rhythms, and Reed shouts with no sacrifice of wit....This is a live album with a reason for living.” ROBERT CHRISTGAU, Christgau's Record Guide
~ “’Aerosmith’s 'Train Kept A Rollin’ might never have left the station if Wagner’s playing wasn’t so dangerously off the rails. And Kiss’ ‘Great Expectations’ could have been anti-climactic if he didn’t lay down the elegant solo. But more than just hot solos, Wagner brought intricate arrangements and even a hit song or two (Alice Cooper’s ‘Only Women Bleed’ and You and Me, etc.) to the table.” Daniel Siwek, Music Connection Magazine
~ "Dick Wagner is one of the icons of rock.” Bob Ludwig, Gateway Mastering, Co-chairman, Producers & Engineers Wing, NARAS (Grammys)
~ “Riff This Way: Aerosmith’s Top 10 Riff-Heavy Tracks,” Gibson.com Dick Wagner Guitar Solos: RIFF #1: Same Old Song and Dance, Dick Wagner. Also RIFF #4: Train Kept A Rollin’, Dick Wagner
~ “One of the best guitar players ever. And one of the greatest people ever. Mr. Wagner. You more than rock.” LITA FORD, Rocker
~ "Dick is one of the great rocker guitar players to come out of Detroit in the 70's. It's wonderful to work with someone where the music still retains its joy. That's magic.” Steve Hunter (Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel)
~ “Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner were as potent a duo as Keith Richards and Mick Taylor, and the four make up the ‘Golden Era’ of both The Rolling Stones and Lou Reed, that period when the recordings were beyond magical….Lou’s 9/1/73 show still rates as numero uno in my book, for presentation, drama, craftsmanship and sheer rock and roll energy.” JOE VIGLIONE, allmusic.com
DICK WAGNER 50 YEARS IN ROCK HISTORY:
As a teenage musician living an hour north of Detroit Michigan, Dick Wagner enjoyed his first taste of “big time show biz,” when he was asked to play guitar as backup for some of his musical heroes, including Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Little Richard. Great balls of fire!
The Michigan public first took notice of Wagner’s talent in 1964, when he formed the band THE BOSSMEN, whose songs like Baby Boy were #1 radio favorites in Michigan. Soon Wagner was writing and producing for other Michigan bands. In the late 1960s, as Wagner's work became more complex and featured a harder edge, he formed the wildly popular band, THE FROST, recording three Billboard charted albums and drawing enthusiastic crowds to hear songs like Mystery Man and Rock N' Roll Music.
Wagner moved to New York to form URSA MAJOR, a seminal rock band and power trio that recorded one, self-titled, defining album for RCA. The raw musical power and artistry of Ursa Major inspired a generation of rock musicians and remains an influential album for today’s musicians. Little known factoid: the original URSA MAJOR lineup included Wagner on guitar and BILLY JOEL on keyboards, but dramas in Billy’s personal life intervened and he left the band.
Wagner's guitar virtuosity captured the attention of LOU REED, and he was invited to play on Lou’s European BERLIN tour in 1973. Wagner assembled a powerhouse band including STEVE HUNTER and WAGNER on dueling lead guitars, PRAKASH JOHN on bass, PENTTI (WHITEY) GLAN on drums and RAY COLCORD on keyboards. The live album, ROCK N' ROLL ANIMAL, recorded at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, remains one of the most celebrated and influential guitar albums in rock history. Lauded by ROLLING STONE, BILLBAORD, and the international press, ROCK ‘N’ ROLL ANIMAL was described by renowned music critic, ROBERT CHRISTGAU: "This is a live album with a reason for living."
Writer Joe Viglione, in his book, A Study of Lou Reed’s Berlin and Rock N’ Roll Animal Albums, describes the guitar stylings of Hunter and Wagner: "Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner were as potent a duo as KEITH RICHARDS and MICK TAYLOR, and the four make up the “Golden Era” of both The Rolling Stones and Lou Reed, that period when the recordings were beyond magical…. Lou’s 9/1/73 show still rates as Numero Uno in my book, for presentation, drama, craftsmanship and sheer rock and roll energy."
In 1972, producer BOB EZRIN brought Wagner in to play lead guitar solos on Alice Cooper’s breakthrough School’s Out album. Uncredited at the time, Wagner’s guitar solos were attributed to the ALICE COOPER band. The COOPER-WAGNER songwriting collaboration began with I LOVE THE DEAD, released on Cooper’s BILLION DOLLAR BABIES album. Cooper and Wagner began a prolific collaboration that spanned several decades. Together, the Cooper-Wagner songwriting team wrote 7 out of 9 of Cooper’s Top 10 hit records.
Leaving Lou Reed in 1974, Wagner moved the entire Rock N Roll Animal band over to play with Alice Cooper. The first full album written and recorded by the Cooper-Wagner team, "Welcome to My Nightmare," spawned a number of Top 10 singles. The Welcome to My Nightmare tour, with a road crew of more than 45 persons, private jets, technical wizardry, theatrical showmanship, and extravagant staging and lighting, became the biggest and highest grossing rock tour of its time. Shock rock was born.
With Wagner's studio walls lined with gold and platinum awards, he writes with the observant eye of a world traveled artist. In the late 1980’s, Wagner was commissioned to write music by the San Antonio Commission on Child Abuse. Wagner’s poignant composition, Remember the Child, painfully reflects the pain of child abuse. Renowned author/lecturer John Bradshaw discovered the song and chose it as his theme for the Emmy nominated PBS special, Homecoming. The song has since become the anthem for tens of thousands who have been scarred by child abuse, and is a catalytic tool used by many therapists in helping their patients access their hidden suffering of childhood trauma.
Nearly fifty years after launching his storied and dynamic career, hit songwriter, guitar virtuoso, producer and arranger, Dick Wagner, remains a brilliant, prolific and vibrant force in American music. Whether rock, blues, country, jazz or spiritual, Wagner's songs continue to detail the essence of life. His guitar playing continues to inspire guitarists worldwide, and his production values recall the era of great songs with great melodies and universally accessible lyrics.
DICK WAGNER OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.wagnermusic.com
NOT ONLY WOMEN BLEED, BY DICK WAGNER: www.notonlywomenbleed.com
GIBSON.COM: DICK WAGNER - TOP 50 GUITAR SOLOS OF ALL TIME: www.gibson.com/en-us/Lifestyle/Features/top-50-guitar-solos-0922/
SWEET JANE: Lou Reed: Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FdWPeHFAMk&feature=related
DICK WAGNER LIVE ONSTAGE WITH ALICE COOPER: Dick Wagner http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mh5uMD_Gaq4
ALICE COOPER -- on hiring Dick Wagner http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNQWuEGNLG8&feature=related
ALICE COOPER -- on writing songs with Dick Wagner http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kR_cwempeY0
JERUSALEM, song by Dick Wagner www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgGzq9zZxUY
FULL MELTDOWN, album by Dick Wagner http://wagnermusic.com/releases/full_meltdown.htm
DICK WAGNER & THE ROCKERS FOR ST. JUDE: IF I HAD THE TIME (I COULD CHANGE THE WORLD): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHIgQkmXaWg