Monday, May 23, 2022

Gnarly Guitarists: Dick Wagner

Wagner (left), Hunter (center) and Reed
Stinky assembled a terrific set of Dick Wagner's music, with songs from Wagner's band The Frost as well as his work as a session musician.  The Frost was a late 60's Michigan band that released three albums and played shows with the MC5 and The Stooges. The Frost evolved from The Bossmen, a garage band that included Dick Wagner and Mark Farner.

I always think of Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter together, since the two guitarists played so brilliantly on Lou Reed's live album Rock N Roll Animal, as well as Alice Cooper's Welcome To My Nightmare. They also played the solos on Aerosmith's version of "Train Kept A Rollin" (Hunter plays the first solo, Wagner the second).

Several months ago, PJ at the blog Albums I Wish Existed featured a two disc set of Steve Hunter's work in the studio. Stinky's Dick Wagner compilation makes a fine companion to PJ's Steve Hunter set.

Here's an article (with links to music videos) that features some of Wagner's best moments on record, and here's a comprehensive discography of his musical credits. Wagner worked with Alice Cooper for over a decade as guitarist, bandleader and songwriter. "Only Women Bleed" was based on a song Wagner wrote for The Frost.

Wagner and Hunter played on a lot of the same albums because producers like Bob Ezrin and Jack Douglas knew they would reliably bring the heat to sessions with Aerosmith, Kiss, Peter Gabriel, Tim Curry and others.  Wagner's online biography notes that he survived heart attacks, stroke, and paralysis. He regained the ability to play guitar after brain surgery in 2011. Dick Wagner died in 2014 at the age of 72.

10 comments:

  1. Dick Wagner's Best (Volumes 1 and 2)

    https://tinyurl.com/mstfjrdf

    Another Stinky Production

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    1. Great compilation and great guitar duo (Wagner & Hunter). I heard a rumor that Lou Reed was jealous of the two because people came out to see them play live and not to see to Lou Reed. Lou Reed supposedly kicked them off that tour and they both went on to record with Alice Cooper. Maybe someone can confirm this or dismiss this rumor.
      Best Regards
      Zippy

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  2. Replies
    1. Thanks for this. The guitar work between Dick Wagner & Steve Hunter on Lou Reed's live album Rock N Roll Animal, in particular "Heroin" is absolutely remarkable. Up there with the greatest rock & roll guitar playing of all time.

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  3. Nice one! Agreed that the Rock n' Roll Animal band was one of the best with that twin guitar attack!

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  4. Thanks for this. Saw the Frost numerous times opening for The Stooges, Amboy Dukes, & others. Always thought they were kinda second tier, but think Wagner went on to much better music making (esp. with SH).

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  5. Looks great - thank you very much... And all this time I thought Joe Perry was God-like on that particular track (TKAR); crushed by reality - it happens to all of us.

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    1. I know! It's like finding out there were overdubs on Waiting For Columbus.

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