Dick Wagner Of Alice Cooper Fame Passes Away
August 4, 2014
Dick Wagner, the skilled guitarist who worked with Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, KISS and Aerosmith, died of respiratory failure on July 30th at the age of 71, reports CBS News.
Susan Michelson, Wagner’s partner in Desert Dreams Productions, said the performer died at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center in Arizona. He had been there for three weeks, Michelson said.
Wagner was born on December 14, 1942, and grew up in Michigan. 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, The Frost, Peter Gabriel, Meat Loaf, Steve Perry, Etta James, Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, Air Supply, Hall & Oates, Ringo Starr, Guns N’ Roses, Tori Amos, Frank Sinatra, and dozens of others.
Legendary for his groundbreaking collaborations with Alice Cooper, Wagner was musical director, lead guitarist and co-writer of the shock-rock icon’s biggest solo hits, including “Only Women Bleed”, “You and Me”, “I Never Cry”, and “Welcome To My Nightmare”. Wagner was Cooper’s right hand man on such groundbreaking albums as ‘Welcome To My Nightmare’, ‘Alice Cooper Goes To Hell’, ‘Lace And Whiskey’, ‘From The Inside’, and ‘DaDa’. The guitarist also did session work on Aerosmith’s ‘Get Your Wings’ and KISS’ ‘Destroyer’,
Wagner’s website said the guitarist had many health issues, surviving two heart attacks, a stroke, a paralyzed left arm, kidney failure and diabetes. “Dick had a huge heart, which is perhaps why it gave him so much trouble, it was simply too full of love, of music and life,” Wagner’s family and Desert Dreams said in a joint statement. “His creativity and passion will live on forever in the legacy he has left for us, in his music and his words. We have so much of him to celebrate.”
“Even though we know it’s inevitable, we never expect to suddenly lose close friends and collaborators,” said Cooper in a statement. “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. A lot of my radio success in my solo career had to do with my relationship with Dick Wagner. Not just on stage, but in the studio and writing. Some of my biggest singles were ballads yhat I wrote with Dick Wagner. Most of ‘Welcome To My Nightmare’ was written with Dick. 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 ‘n’ roll and to his family.”
Wagner formed the band The Bossmen in Michigan, but had his first real taste of success came with the band The Frost, whose albums placed on the Billboard charts. He then moved to New York and formed Ursa Major, a short-lived band that included Wagner on guitar and Billy Joel on keyboard. Wagner’s website said drama in “Billy’s personal life intervened and he left the band.”
Wagner eventually relocated to Phoenix and started Desert Dreams in 2005 with Michelson, whom he met in the late 1970s when working with Cooper.
Wagner is survived by his daughter, Jasmine Dreame Wagner, and his sons, Robert Wagner and Mark Schuknecht. A memorial in Michigan is being planned, Michelson said.
Courtesy of www.sleazeroxx.com