Thursday, July 31, 2014

Listen to the Old Grey Wolf

Today during E-News, Corby told of the death of noted makeup artist Dick Smith.  He was indeed accomplished (Godfather, Exorcist, Marathon Man, Taxi Driver, Little Big Man, dozens of others).  Suddenly, Mike jumped in -- "and Dick Wagner died today."

My jaw dropped.  Literally?  Yes.  I didn't drive off the road or scream at the radio, but it gave me a start and made me sad.

Neither Corby nor, apparently, Danny had ever heard of him.  Surprise.  Actually, it is a bit surprising.  Dick Wagner was a man.  It took Mike, finally, to clue them in:  "Dick Wagner played guitar for Lou Reed."

Did he ever.  And Alice Cooper, a lot.  And KISS, and Peter Gabriel, and Hall & Oates, and others.

But yeah.  Lou Reed.  When you think of guitar intros to great songs, you think of  Slash on "Welcome to the Jungle," Eddie on "Eruption," Elliott Randall on "Reelin' in the Years"  -- you can think of many others.  But the theme song of my late 70's and early 80's was a tuneful guitar tour de force that is, to my mind, the greatest instrumental lead-in to a rock-and-roll song ever (take that, exaggerating Corby!), an anthemic dual-axe attack by Wagner and Steve Hunter, arranged by Wagner, that builds and builds to Reed's entry on stage and launch into "Sweet Jane" on the 1974 live album "Rock 'n' Roll Animal."  Wagner and Hunter traded memorable leads and fills throughout the album -- just great, great guitar stuff.  It ain't Buckethead or Satriani or Malmsteen, but it's fundamental, musical, phlegm-clearing, played-on-the-beat, fuzzed, biting rock and roll gitar.

Of the sort -- concededly -- that collegiate and post-grad males air-guitared to in the Seventies and Eighties.

Wagner and Hunter went on to play with Alice Cooper, and Wagner was associated with Alice for quite some time, co-writing and performing on many of his notable tunes.

As usual, Corby and Danny ridiculed Mike into silence, so you didn't get to hear any more about Dick Wagner.  Mike actually played along, noting that it was one of those rare "Double Dick" death days.

Turn this up.  No, that's not enough, I said turn it UP:  

Your ears don't hurt?  Well, then you weren't listening when I told you to turn it the f--- UP :

"One fine morning she puts on a New York station and she couldn't beLEEVE what she heard at all."

Dick Wagner, RIP.


The Plainsman said...

Oh, and by the way, Aerosmith fans: That's Dick Wagner playing lead on "Same Old Song and Dance" and the live portion of "Train Kept a Rollin'," trading with Steve Hunter playing the studio lead.

T4 In Rockwall said...

That doesn't surprise me that a couple of music snobs have such a closed mind on music. Their loss...and ours as Mike didn't get to properly talk about Dick Wagner.

Not sure if it's because I'm on a phone but I couldn't load the music...basically it says it couldn't load the plug in. Probably something on my end.

Shaggy said...

Sorry, never heard of him either. But I have no use for most (all?) 70s rock.

No Funeral said...

I've never heard of him, but I'm guessing it's an age thing as I was born in the 70's. Danny music shaming someone? YOU DON'T SAY.
My biggest pet peeve about dumb Danny. To be honest, I don't even know who he likes other than Edie Brickell and the Polyphonic Spree. Does Danny not like himself? From his hair band days to his most recent project....COUNTRY MUSIC????
I give up. No funeral.

Werewolf of Frisco said...

As a teenager learning to play guitar in the 1970's, that Sweet Jane solo was one of those life changing moments. Building and building in energy, an immensely musical and lyrical piece. If you were a guitar player in that distant pre-internet world, Guitar Player magazine was were you learned the names of guys like Wagner... What kind of guitar was he playing? What kind of amp? Just an amazing player.

The Plainsman said...

Werewolf, thanks for backing me up on this. I went back and cranked that album up last night and marveled again at just how musical the whole thing was.

I think Dick Wagner was a Gibson guy. Later in his career he was mostly photographed with Les Pauls, but I think on the RnR Animal Tour he was playing an SG.

There are a lot of 70's and 80's guitar-rock fans who wouldn't recognize his name, but he was a dude within the music industry and well-known to musicians. That Intro/Sweet Jane arrangement and performance is indeed legendary, appearing on various "top solos" lists (if you can call the Steve Hunter duets "solos"). It wasn't that it was fast or tricky -- it was just gorgeous and moving, as Werewolf says.

I'm hoping maybe Dick Wagner will be on Mike's Mind today.

Anonymous said...

No Funeral,

As someone who knows Danny outside of radio and bar world, I can promise you he knows plenty about music of all kinds. He can speak knowledgeably and intelligently for hours on the subject for hours. The fact he doesn't feed his own ego and bog down the show is a good, self-aware thing on his part. It's not about him, and he says just enough to keep the show moving (i.e. do his job).

Daniel Bayless

Gopher said...

Modern day guitar slinger Monte Montgomery will be at the Granada next friday. Amazing what you can do with a beat up Alvarez Yairi acoustic and lots of amplification.
Once you get past his youtube fair of Little Wing, Sara Smile, and Romeo and Juliet some of his original stuff rocks.
Mike and Danny approve, Snake just scoffs. His bass player is a show all by himself.

Anonymous said...

when one fails in rock, he then preys on the feeble minded aka country music fan to generate income.
so dan paul gets a pass.

yankee raised george, on the other hand, dove in head first in "red dirt" in a desperate attempt to be texan.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:37, or dumb Danny, I think if you tool around this little blog some, you'll find the biggest complaint about you is that you, in fact, DO feed your ego and bog down most shows with your music snobbery. Please improve on keeping the show moving.

Anonymous said...

Bumping up the Beach Boys discussion to this thread - I think most people dismissed the BB as catchy California pop, even with the knowledge of Brian's struggles with personal demons. It took the passage of time and the durability of the music for people to appreciate that there was more going on that just surfer songs. We learned about the creative battle between the Beatles and the BB to one-up each other. Without that battle we might not have had Sgt. Pepper or Pet Sounds. There are plenty of people who think those albums are overrated, but their place in rock history can't be dismissed.

I have seen the Beach Boys many times over the years in their various configurations, starting with my first concert ever at Memorial Auditorium. It would be cool to see them again with Brian onstage, but those opportunities are extremely limited.

I am not a musician, and I have often pondered what it is like to be someone like Brian Wilson, who has all of these sounds rattling around inside his head that he has to get out.

Anonymous said...

Boy young Jake stuck his hand in a hornets nest last night with somewhat offensive or insensitive at a minimum tweets about Paul George's gruesome leg break. Basically said he is not a Mav so why should he care and it was stupid that people were praying for his recovery. Twitter blew up and he deleted but not before people screen captured. Poor Jake - so young and naive

The Plainsman said...

As in many important things in life, this site has commented authoritatively on The Beach Boys:

Anonymous Ron said...

What do you suppose is the tab for the trip to Oxnerd - totaling up travel, technical support, expense accounts, etc?

Anonymous said...

10 people in travel party = 3500 for airfare - I know because it take DFW to LAX all the time for business.

All have separate rooms at Marriott at 150 bucks/night so that is 1500 dollars per day x 14 days or approximately 20k for hotel give or take a few k plus about 750 dollars per day for the group for food expenses which is 750 x 14 days = 10 or 11k. So all in I would say this trip is costing the Little Ticket about 35,000 smackeroos. Not bad considering the pub this gets and the good chemistry that is built amongst the hosts.

gunther said...

I did some quick math.

12 flts times $350
6 rooms times 21 days times $150
Per diem 12 people times $80 times 21 days.
Comes to around $43K.

Don't think they pay for the broadcast site. Don't think they need much equipment. Unless I'm missing something, I'd bet it's under $50K total.

Anonymous said...

@9:41 AM

You didn't really think that was Danny Balis, did you? *facepalm*

Anonymous Ron said...

Does the webstream cost them anything?

Anonymous said...

Your itemized numbers were about the same as my calcs above with the exception you used 21 days. They actually will be there 2 weeks this Wednesday when they all leave so they wont have expenses for more than 14 or 15 days.

gunther said...

Only 2 weeks? Damn, sure seems longer than that.

Anonymous said...

You would think Cumulus could spring for a couple of lights so you could see the Musers on the webcam before sunrise.

Rhinosaur said...

Can't stand the music snobbery by Corby and Danny. Music discussion is now a tune-out for me. The last few times I listened, if I heard a song that sucked, I predicted they would like it, and vice versa. Correct each time.

Danny reminds me of my boss. I'm a Packers fan, so each time during the season when Green Bay loses, he sticks his head in my office and says, "Green Bay sucks!" And when they win? "Green Bay still sucks!" One day I asked, "Who's your favorite team so I can kick you in the balls throughout the season?"

"Oh, I don't have a favorite team."

Anonymous said...

Ok, let me get this straight, Donavan and his little buddies find some poor guys credit card. Use it to buy food and other things and then put it back where they found it! Hey Donavan, how bout tearing the card up or something?! Way to let more hoodlums take advantage of the situation! I can tell you right now, I have found credit cards and NEVER gave a thot to using them! Oh, and I had forgot what a beat down Corby's stories were!

Anonymous said...

Exit Beach Boys talk.

Enter Jerry Jones shtooping talk.

birq said...

I'm late to this party, but I need to chime in on the Dick death. I'd never heard of Dick Wagner either, but I largely willfully ignored Lou Reed with or without The Velvet Underground. Thanks for posting the 2 songs. They really highlight how much better Lou Reed's music would be without Lou Reed involved. That live version of Sweet Jane is truly amazing up to the point when it turns into Sweet Jane, then it's a punch out. That guitar work is pretty special, though.

Anonymous said...

Who is Blake (Norm's Twink)? Is he Norm's intern?

James said...

Are the producers of "Boyhoods" paying THL to continually mention the movie, even in ostensibly unrelated segments?
Dear Mike,
We get it. You like "Boyhood". It's got a neat gimmick: film the actors over 12 years, so they age before the camera. We understand you think that makes it a profound, meaningful film. Still, I cannot imagine it's good enough to warrant the number of mentions you guys give to it. Unless you're getting paid to mention it. In which case, I applaud you. I hop you buy something cool with the extra dough.

charlie0712 said...

Blake is the other engineer that is out there so he and killer are sharing duties as is usual I believe. Especially since there are two stations out there these weeks.

Shaggy said...

It's pretty damned good.

Anonymous said...

Hey Corby - if you're going to dismiss a song you might want to get the name of the performer right.