MGS: First off thank you for taking the time to chat with musicgearsource.
It is my pleasure Tony
MGS: How did you get started playing guitar?
DW: My uncles used to play at family gatherings and the guitar fascinated me..the sound was so amazing
MGS: Who was your first and early influences playing?
DW: Early influences were Link Wray, Duane Eddie, Chet Atkins, BB King, Wes Montgomery
MGS:How did you get the connections youve ammased over the years? You really have an inspiring bio.
DW: I worked hard, got lucky and stayed focused
MGS: How did you get hooked up with Alice Cooper?
DW: Met Alice in Detroit in the 60’s, got to play on the schools out album mostly because I was recording right next door to Cooper in studio B of the Record Plant in NY when Alice was recording in studio A. That’s where it all started.
MGS: Whats the craziest thing that ever happened in the Alice Cooper years?
DW: Lets just say a little craziness was part of every day
MGS: It had to be pretty inspiring to work with Peter Gabriel. What guitar parts did you play on? Do you remember the gear rundown for that?
DW: Just played on After the Flood and Slowburn Sunset.
MGS: Ok i gotta ask about the Kiss and Aerosmith sessions. Can you tell us all about that?
DW: Both sessions were fantastic opportunities for me and unique challenges to my musicianship
MGS: How did the Mark Farner session come about? Can you tell me about it?
DW Mark has been a friend and little brother to me since he was 15. He played in my band The Bossmen with me the year before he went off to form Grand Funk. I guess it was natural for us to work together on his solo album
MGS: What has been on your plate these days? What have you been up to? Plug away.
DW: I am playing dates with my Souls Journey Band, producing CD’s for a few new artists and enjoying the freedom that comes with my semi retirement after 10 years of day to day running my studio and dealing with deadlines, payrolls and temperaments
MGS: Can you give us a gear rundown of what you are using now? Our readers are gearheads and spare no expense on details please.
DW: I remain an old school guitarist…minimal effects…chorus, delay and a 1968 Les Paul through a marshall valve state amp.
MGS:Who are you listening to these days? Who is in the CD player?
DW: I am listening to my son Robert’s CD Robert Wagner, Kanary, hell the list goes on. I love so many different levels of musicianship that I rarely stay tuned in on any one artist for too long…I tend to listen to snippets of many people listening, moving on, coming back, discovering and rediscovering
MGS : What was the most inspiring thing youve ever done musically? Stage and studio.
DW: The Remember the Child Concert to benefit victims of child abuse, Saginaw Valley State University, Saginaw Michigan, August 23 1996 ….just me and the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra doing two hours of my original songs and music. Very inspirational.
MGS: Well its been an honor sir and i cant thank you enough for your time and letting us into your world.
DW: Thank you Tony…rock on my friend
Feature Interview with Dick Wagnermusicgearsource.comDick Wagner has been a musical force in rock and roll and pop music for more than 25 years. More often than not, he has been the creative spark that has ignited the careers of other more visible pop/rock artists. Writing hit songs, producing artists in the studio or demonstrating his virtuosity as a master guitarist, Wagner is known and respected by the entire music industry.
The public first took notice of his talent in 1964, when he formed the popular band The Bossmen, whose songs like "Baby Boy" were radio favorites in Michigan. Soon Wagner was writing and producing for many other Michigan bands and the Wagner name was prominent on local record labels. In the late sixties, as Wagner's work became more complex and featured a harder edge, he formed The FROST, recording three albums and drawing enthusiastic crowds to hear songs like "Mystery Man" and "Rock N' Roll Music." With hopes of reaching larger audiences, he moved to New York to form Ursa Major, a seminal rock band that recorded one album for RCA, that inspired a generation. Wagner's talent captured the attention of Lou Reed and he was asked to play on "Rock N' Roll Animal." this recording was acclaimed by Rolling Stone Magazine, describing it as a "live set featuring the remarkably skillful band led by Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner." The melodic and soaring guitar work of Wagner garnered him work with the best in music during the 1970's and 1980's as he performed or wrote for such a diverse range of artists as Aerosmith, Hall & Oates, Air Supply, Burton Cummings, Lou Reed, Roberta Flack, and Steve Perry. None of these collaborations were to equal Wagner's lengthy alliance with rocker Alice Cooper. As lead guitarist and Music Director, Dick Wagner helped Cooper become a mainstream artist by co-writing Cooper's biggest chart hits, "Only Women Bleed," "I Never Cry," "You and Me," and "How You Gonna See Me Now," and "Welcome To My Nightmare."
With Wagner's studio walls lined with gold and platinum awards, he approached the eighties by writing music inspired by the observant eye of a world traveled artist. His music became more personal and spiritual. From this came the remarkable song "Remember The Child" that painfully illustrates the ills of child abuse. Originally commissioned for the San Antonio Commission on child Abuse, author/lecturer John Bradshaw discovered the song and chose it as his theme for the Emmy nominated PBS special "Homecoming." It 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 dealing with their patients.
Wagner is active these days performing in his band, The Dick Wagner Band. Always a prolific songwriter, he is capable of penning a dozen songs or more each month. He performs solo or with variations of bands and orchestras with an expansive collection of songs that touch the heart in a myriad of ways.
Today Dick Wagner does what he does best. Whether it be rock, country, spiritual, or recovery-related, Wagner's poignant songs continue to detail the essence of life and healing, and his guitar work continues to inspire guitarists world wide.