Note: Dick Wagner, a guitarist who played with everyone from Lou Reed to Hall & Oates but most famously with Alice Cooper's '70s band (he co-wrote "Welcome to My Nightmare" with Cooper, among other shock-rock hits), passed away Wednesday morning at age 71, according to ultimateclassicrock.com. As tribute, Rocks Off would like to re-run the interview our Bob Ruggiero did with Wagner shortly after the publication of his 2012 memoir, Not Only Women Bleed: Vignettes From the Heart of a Rock Musician.
Rocks Off: First I have to ask, how is your health?
Dick Wagner: Well, it's very good. I made a very strong comeback and am getting ready to tour in the spring and summertime. I barely picked up a guitar for five years. And I'm going to Italy in a few days to produce a band. So I feel good and I'm being active.
You started your career at a time when there really were regional music scenes, and bands -- like the Bossmen and the Frost -- could be hugely successful with hit singles and radio play in one area and then maybe spread. Do you think we miss something by not really having that anymore?
Oh, absolutely. Everyone looks to radio, and to build a local scene, you had to have local radio support and you could gather up a fan base. It was exciting. With the Bossmen, we got so tight with the guys at the radio stations that we'd go in and make up skits right there in the studio with the DJs.