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.