Dick Wagner, one of the great men behind the music of such acts as Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, Kiss, and Aerosmith, died on July 30 after being sent to the hospital for respiratory failure. The rock legend was 71 years old.
“Even though we know it’s inevitable, we never expect to suddenly lose close friends and collaborators,” said Alice Cooper. “Dick Wagner and I shared as many laughs as we did hit records. He was one of a kind. He is irreplaceable. His brand of playing and writing is not seen anymore, and there are very few people that I enjoyed working with as much as I enjoyed working with Dick Wagner.
Wagener began his music career in the 60s, but got his break in 1973 when famed Alice Cooper produce Rob Ezrin recruited Wagner for Lou Reed’s touring band. Wagner was one of the featured guitarists on Reed’s acclaimed album, “Berlin,” and again joined Reed on the Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal Tour.
He didn’t appear with Alice Cooper until the album “School’s Out,” which boasted one of Wagner’s most popular solos on the song, “My Stars.” He also helped write “Welcome to My Nightmare,” which was Alice Cooper’s first release without his original lineup.
“A lot of my radio success in my solo career had to do with my relationship with Dick Wagner,” Alice Cooper also said. “Not just onstage, but in the studio and writing…. There was just a magic in the way we wrote together. He was always able to find exactly the right chord to match perfectly with what I was doing. I think that we always think our friends will be around as long as we are, so to hear of Dick’s passing comes as a sudden shock and an enormous loss for me, rock & roll and to his family.”
Wagner was then featured on such subsequent Alice Cooper releases as “Goes to Hell,” “The Alice Cooper Show,” “Lace and Whiskey,” “From the Inside,” “Zipper Catches Skin,” “DaDa,” “Hey Stoopid,” and even co-wrote such Top 20 ballads for Alice Cooper as “I Never Cry,” “You and Me,” and “How You Gonna See Me Now.”
“I think Wagner had a natural song writing ability that people sought him out for. He wasn’t on the front lines like Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhodes, or Steve Vai, he just loved the music and was inspired by the way it made him feel. He was a legend andmade a big difference in the industry with his talent and skill” says David Locke, President at Lawkstar Guitars.
Wagner’s family plans on having a memorial for him in Michigan.