Dick Wagner, Guitarist For Alice Cooper, Lou Reed Among Others, Dies At 71

Dick Wagner, a guitarist who was a key figure in the early pre-punk and American glam movements, utilizing his talents for such luminaries in the music world as Alice Cooper, Lou Reed and KISS, has died at the age of 71 of respiratory failure. Wagner had been battling ill health for many years prior to his death.

Born in Saginaw, Michigan, Wagner rubbed elbows later on after the first wave of hard rock music that came from that state’s seminal city Detroit, when Wagner was recruited to play on Alice Cooper’s seminal solo release, Welcome to My Nightmare, a record in which Wagner was heavily involved (with producer Ezrin) with Cooper, eventually sharing songwriting credits. (A highlight is the ambiguous and haunting “Only Women Bleed.”) The 1975 release became a benchmark in Cooper’s career and also showed the embryonic strains of a solo career that would stretch currently into its fourth decade. The muscle and confidence of Wagner’s playing (he had huge shoes to follow after Cooper had been in a band with Glen Buxton earlier, whose playing was signature up and down all over the band) put him as one of the mid-70s post Detroit-rock/pre-first wave of punk music’s heavyweights. In fact, for the next few decades following his successful debut foray with Cooper on record, Wagner became involved heavily with the shock rock singer thereafter, appearing on various subsequent albums and tours.

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Happy 64th Birthday To Pink Floyd ‘The Wall’ & KISS ‘Destroyer’ Producer Bob Ezrin

Bob Ezrin, who has produced some of the more seminal music records of our age, Pink Floyd‘s The Wall and KISS Destroyer to name a few of the more higher profile ones, celebrates his 64th birthday today.

The Canadian-born Ezrin, employs a style which is mired in a magisterial, booming, bombastic one, which gives a larger than life sonic quality to the records he produces. Kind of a cross between Sir George Martin and producers who have made opera house acoustically styled classical albums, Ezrin has taken many genres, mainly the rock and roll one and turned it on its collective ear, bringing a kind of aural respect to the genre, and the result of which has spawned some of the all-time great albums.

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$3 MP3 Album Deal: KISS ‘Destroyer’
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This week, the KISS album Destroyer is on sale for only $2.99 in MP3 format. The CD is on sale as well for only $4.76.

Released in 1976 and produced by Bob Ezrin, Destroyer contains some of the best known KISS songs – “Detroit Rock City,” “God of Thunder,” “Shout It Out Loud,” and the ballad “Beth.” Fact: When my husband and I got together, we realized that between us we owned 8 copies of Destroyer on vinyl (as well as several cassette copies and 2 CDs), therefore I don’t think I need to explain why I think you should grab this album now for only $3.

Browse all 1,000 albums on sale this month for only $5 each, as well as several albums on sale this week for only $2.99 each.

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This Day In KISStory: 20th Anniversary Of The Passing Of Eric Carr

Today is the 20th anniversary of the death of Eric Carr, the drummer of KISS who helped keep the band moving forward during the Eighties. Carr, born Paul Caravello, passed away on November 24, 1991 at the age of 41 from complications stemming from his battle with cancer. The loss was colossal to both KISS and their fan base, but he is remembered.

Eric Carr first joined KISS in 1980, when the band decided that it was time for Peter Criss to leave the group. Or perhaps Peter decided it was time to leave… (choose your side of this anecdote). Either way, substance abuse had taken a major toll on original drummer Criss by this stage of the band that it was allegedly affecting his performances both on stage and in the studio.

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How An Odd KISS Album Influenced ‘The Matrix’

November 16 marks the 30th anniversary of a bizarre album release by the band KISS. It was called Music From The Elder, and was initially confusing to the followers of the band. The album was based on a concept, a story focusing on The One who would be guided by a chap called Morpheus.

Wait a minute? Isn’t that the story of The Matrix?

Yes, it is. In fact, it is my contention that the Wachowski Brothers were influenced by the story behind KISS’ Music From The Elder — and contributed significantly to the character growth and plot of their saga.

It’s clear that the Wachowski’s were influenced by a vast number of elements in the creation of the franchise, such as William Gibson‘s Neuromancer, the Terminator series, the works of Philip K. Dick, and also Doctor Who. In point of fact, the concept of a Matrix was initially introduced in the Classic Doctor Who adventure The Deadly Assassin featuring Tom Baker, where the Doctor (like Neo) literally “plugs in” to a Matrix and finds himself in a virtual reality battling his enemies.

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