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RIP Dick Wagner, long time Alice Cooper friend, guitarist and collaborator


Alice and Dick Wagner backstage, Detroit 7/18/2012
Photo by Kyler Clark

Today the world of Rock N Roll lost one of it’s greatest heros. Guitarist Dick Wagner, Alice’s collaborator and friend left this world this morning.

Alice still speaks fondly about writing with Dick, not just the hits but also “Might As Well Be On Mars” which Alice considers to be one of his favorite songs.  Together with guitarist Steve Hunter, Dick had a very strong influence on the sound of Alice’s early solo career. The pair also played in Lou Reed’s legendary “Rock N Roll Animal” band.

Dick had a hand in writing some memorable and important pieces in Alice’s career including “Welcome To My Nightmare”, “Only Women Bleed”, “Department of Youth”, “I Never Cry”, “Go To Hell”, “You And Me”, “It’s Hot Tonight”, “How You Gonna See Me Now” and “From The Inside”.

Prior to recording, writing, and touring with Alice, Dick had a successful Michigan-based rock band called The Frost. He did his first solo album, “Richard Wagner,” with Alice Cooper producer Bob Ezrin.

Dick had been keeping busy recording, producing and writing.  He also wrote an autobiography titled “Not Only Women Bleed”, to which Alice Cooper wrote a foreward for.  The book is  available at notonlywomenbleed.com.

Below is a statement from Alice on the passing of his friend Dick Wagner:

“Even though we know it’s inevitable, we never expect to suddenly lose close friends and collaborators. 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 what 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.”

17 comments to Dick Wagner, Alice Cooper friend, guitarist and collaborator, dies at 71

  • Muzza

    Hunter and Wagner. One of the amazing dual combinations. Thank you Mr Wagner. You are truly inspirational.

  • John Jackson

    Very sad loss. Thinking of Dick,s family and Alice himself who must be feeling this loss

  • […] Courtesy of Ross Halfin, Victory Tischler-BlueAlice Cooper has written a heartfelt tribute to acclaimed guitarist Dick Wagner, his former band mate and frequent songwriting […]

  • Tim Aebi

    Met with Alice backstage on the 23rd at Mountain View – he talked about Dick Wagner and the “great” record he’d put out – who knew just a few days later….as an Alice fan for many years, always was made aware of Mr. Dick Wagner – obviously, AC had much respect for this man. RIP Mr. Wagner.

  • […] Courtesy of Ross Halfin, Victory Tischler-BlueAlice Cooper has penned a heartfelt message paying tribute to acclaimed guitarist Dick Wagner, his former band mate and frequent songwriting […]

  • […] Courtesy of Ross Halfin, Victory Tischler-BlueAlice Cooper has penned a heartfelt message paying tribute to acclaimed guitarist Dick Wagner, his former band mate and frequent songwriting […]

  • Rocky DiCarlo

    Rest in peace Mr. Wagner. You were a phenomenal musician whose songwriting and blistering lead guitar work will live on as long is there is the desire to pick up a six string, plug into an amp, and crank out the hard hitting rock n’ roll…and hopefully that’s forever!!! A tip of the black top hat to you! You will never be forgotten.

  • Michael Pierre

    Dick was my friend and mentor. He was always just my friend, and showed that by giving me an exclusive to film his last show in Lansing,Michigan when I found him after searching for him for 25 years. He was just Dick Wagner to me. He was always the greatest writer to me, and I always knew him personally as just the friend who took me under his wing, just another. Saginawian who help get out through just doing something, together. As much as a great mudician,he was even bigger as a real friend, the only way I really knew him. Goodbye Mr. Saginaw. Thank you for what you did for me, only from your heart. You were always more than just music to me. You were Dick Wagner, Saginaw’s finest, and so real. I will always miss you. Sorry we didn’t finish our project. Just happy you were always you. Thank you for everything. May you now rest in peace, finally. Still friends forever. Mike Pierre

  • Ted

    Did Alice talk about Dick last night? I had to miss the show and really wanted to tune in.

  • Tim Daley

    I first saw Dick Wagner in 1970 play at one of the many ‘teen clubs’ in the Detroit area in the late 60’s/early 70’s. I also first saw Alice Cooper at the Birmingham Palladium around 1970 as well. I had already been a Frost fan since their ‘Frost Music’ album was released. It was apparent then that Dick Wagner was a unique song writer, composer, and guitarist. I followed his career ever since but it wasn’t until 2005 that I got to actually meet him in person. His band was playing at a local supper club in Dryden, Michigan called Lenny Millers. My wife and I got there real early and I spotted Dick and his wife Sandy sitting at a table near the stage setup. I shyly approached them and was invited to sit and talk so I did. I had brought my Frost vinyl record album sleeves with me and Dick spotted them under my arm and asked me if I wanted him to sign them. Of course I said! I also purchased a copy of his Bossmen CD and he graciously signed that too. The band played just about every thing that Dick wrote with Frost, Alice Cooper, and current songs. That night is about the best rock show I ever attended. I will always cherish the memories of that night and now I have the album sleeves personally autographed. Dick is the best rock guitarist/songwriter to come out of the USA. His contributions to rock music history are matched by his warm personality and love of life and music. He will never be forgotten. God Bless you, Dick Wagner, may your soul rest in peace. You are the absolute Mystery Man.

    Tim Daley
    Lapeer, MI

  • Paul Bigger.

    Thanks Dick. Welcome to my nightmare,goes to hell,from the inside,lace and whiskey.What a collaboration with Alice. Rest in peace

  • tom k

    Sorry for your loss of a friend and condolences to his family RIP Dick

  • acuteness

    Sometimes I feel like my music heroes are never gonna die. And then…shock!
    Thx so much for all the joy you brought into my life with your music…for eternity!!
    RIP Mr. Wagner!!!

  • Debra Doerksen

    This is so so strange . . . or not. I do not listen to your music and I only know of you from my teenage years when you took a ferry in Victoria BC and I was on it. So this is where the strange part comes in. I am a spiritual medium. Last night I had a dream – I was lost in this big arena and needed to find the women’s washroom. My husband and i were going up the stairs and on my left you were coming down very forlorn, no makeup on. Just you and a very blank but sad stare on your face. My husband turned around at that point and went with you. I carried on. I was finally helped to the washroom by a heavier set man in a blue shirt much like the one in the picture.
    When I woke I thought “Alice Cooper? what the heck – that is very random” and then I though maybe you had passed so I went to Google and typed in your name and up came this most recent close loss for you of Dick Wagner. One of two things happened here – either your sadness just registered with me somehow and I picked up on your grief or your beautiful friend motivated me to contact you by putting you in my dream the way you were. So in light of this I believe for whatever reason I was meant to reach out to you and say that I see your sadness and send you love. I am sorry you lost a friend and I wish you healing and peace.

  • Lisa

    Thinking of you Alice and Dick’s family at this sad time

  • glen aliano

    Love you Dick. What a great player, what a great guy, RIP.

  • Gary Lemmer

    Knew him……not real close,but I used to go see him all the time at his recording studio here in Saginaw,mi.Always was good to me and I even shared birthday cake with him a few years ago…R.I.P………….MR.Wagner may be gone but his music will always be here