Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper Band)
"I Love the Dead", "Welcome to My Nightmare", "Only Women Bleed", "I Never Cry" are only some of the classics that feature guitar guru Dick Wagner. After leading his bands The Bossmen, The Frost and Ursa Major, Dick Wagner found fame as bandleader for Lou Reed. He was then thrust into the spotlight with a long stint in the same position for Alice Cooper as well. A songwriting partnership with Alice yielded many hit records. Countless guest appearances followed.
Dick recently penned his autobiography, a deliciously entertaining read called Not Only Women Bleed. It was a real pleasure to speak with him to talk about the book and his many experiences in the rock and roll world.
antiMusic: Hello Maestro. How are you? This is a real pleasure and a big-time honor to speak with somebody who has played such a big part of rock history as you.
Dick: Ah, thank you so much. I appreciate that.
antiMusic: I remember in February of 1975 picking up Welcome to My Nightmare and was just bowled over. I mean, "The Black Widow", man I must have played that a million times. When I first heard the guitar on that record, I was immediately scanning the credits to see who it was. And that was my introduction to you, at least your credited work. So this is a thrill. Thank you so much for taking the time today.
Dick: The pleasure is mine, Morley. Thank you very much!
antiMusic: First of all, how's your health these days?
Dick: My health is very good. I'm always having to watch myself. I've been through a lot. I have to take my pills on time and try to be a good boy and not eat too much sugar. I'm doing alright. I'm just glad to be walking the earth, you know what I mean? I'm glad that I was able to come back from the paralysis so I can play again. I was in a coma for two weeks and when I woke up in the hospital, my left hand was paralyzed. I thought, "Oh my god, my career is over." But I worked my way back from that. It's been six years now.
antiMusic: Congrats on the book. It works on two fronts. It's cool to read about the behind-the-scenes of parts of rock history. And for those that just want to read about the amazing life of a rock star, there's enough sex, drugs and rock and roll to fill the bill. Having come clean about a number of things that you felt guilty about, did you feel any weight off your shoulders when you had un-burdened yourself on the pages?
Dick: That's a good question. I didn't really feel any weight off my shoulders. I've reached a point in my life where I realized that life takes you on a journey and it's not really in your control. And you do some things that you regret but you try not to regret anything. It keeps you more peaceful. But yeah, I guess it was a bit cathartic. I got to open up myself more and learn about myself. And I found myself dealing with the human condition which is what we all go through.
We all struggle. We all have our own story. And I just decided to write mine down. I didn't start off to write a book. I was just writing some short stories. I had written a particularly good short story and that triggered something while I was writing about it. Then I put that story down and before you know it, I realized I was writing a book.
It took me a little while before I decided to do it. I always thought about writing a book but that's such a formidable task…to complete a 300 page book. And I had never tried it before but I was basically out of commission at the time. I couldn't play. So I started this writing spree and it ended up being a book.
antiMusic: You've had an extraordinary life. At this stage, how do you view your position on your own music? Are you still as passionate about creating new music or do you prefer simply to rather roll out the old favorites for your audience?
Dick: I like both. I'm always writing. I love to write and dream up projects for different people. I've got this band from Denmark who is going to do this concept record with me and I've written half of the songs so far. So I'm always working on things and have about three album's worth of material so far. And whether I'll make even one, I don't know. I have to find time to actually sit down and make proper recordings of the music.
And at my house, I don't really have the facility. I have a smaller facility just for writing songs but as for doing an album, I've done it but I don't want to do it again. I want it to sound spectacular. Something beautiful. Something different. And I have some songs that are definitely different…for me.
antiMusic: That's great to hear because for me, one of the best parts of the book was the addition of your two CDs, particularly the songs "These Days" and "I'd Take the Bullet" which are two of the best songs I think you've been a part of.
Dick: Thank you. A band from Holland stole my song "These Days" back in the '70s or maybe '80s. And took my song, the entirety of the song and added a few little lines extemporaneous lines to bring in a new chorus for it. Then they actually released it..."These Days". Yeah, it's a beautiful song…my version. In another era maybe it's a hit. I don't know. I don't know if people would accept that song. It's hard to say. If I could do a really competitive version of it, other than it just being a voice, and then do something with it. I just need to find the right artist…ah, well, my voice is coming back…I had some laryngitis problems for a while. But it's coming back so I'm going to be singing it probably. But it's good song. I'm glad you like it because I'm very proud of that song.
antiMusic: It's rare that someone as proficient on their instrument as you, would also be as accomplished a songwriter. If you think in those terms at all, do you consider yourself more of a guitarist or songwriter?
Dick: Absolutely both.
antiMusic: They go hand in hand?
Dick: Yeah they go hand in hand. In my own case. I think that what I do is unique unto itself. I've been fortunate that I've been able to be influential to a certain degree but I take it all with a grain of salt. You know there's so many people who are so much better than me that it doesn't really matter. But I have had some influence and I think of my music as unique and unto itself. The guitar goes with it. That's the whole package. When I'm singing good that's part of the package. But my vocals are a little erratic. Some days they're great, some days they're not so great. But thank you for noticing and caring about it. I turned 70 now and getting older and I don't intend to stop playing at all. I intend to keep out there and until I can no longer actually do it. Which is still a ways away. I figure I have another 20 years.
I still hope to do a lot of good music. I want to start this year with a new album. Even if doesn't sell. It doesn't matter to me. I just love the recording process, the writing process, the performing it, the playing --- I love it all. I have to do it. You know what I'm saying?
antiMusic: Yes. The thing that I think is most amazing about you is the scope of material that you've been a part of. From "I Love the Dead"…
Dick: Yeah, I wrote the music for that song. I was not credited because I sold it to Alice Cooper. I was asked not to be credited because the credit on there would be only Alice Cooper. And as it turned out a lot of the songs are Alice and Bob Ezrin. I sold it for $6000 and I needed money at the time and that's the story. That's what it is. All the royalties from "I Love the Dead" and all the acclaim for the song, I have no part in, but I did write it. It's the music business. You can't trust anyone to deal with you fairly. You just can't because they're not going to do it.
antiMusic: From "I Love The Dead" to "I'd Take the Bullet", you cover a lot of ground. Growing up, did you always have an appreciation for more than one style of music?
Dick: Of course, I listened to the radio religiously…not to religious stations, but religiously. And the times were evolving. I was definitely into music when I was a kid. So it's all had an influence.
antiMusic: An important part of your history includes your involvement with Steve Hunter. Many musicians have an ego that precludes them from sharing the spotlight yet you remained a very strong tandem with Steve for many years. Was it merely a forced working relationship or did you actually see the twin leads as a selling point for further success?
Dick: I loved it. I love the combination of two guitars. With Steve it was pretty magical. Steve and I are not close friends by any means, but we put up with each other, let's put it that way. I can't get him to go out and play music with me but, I tried. Over all these years I've been the one to try to instigate things for us and he's just not into it. He's a nice guy, he really is but he and I are not close friends. That's why you haven't seen any more from us. He's been reluctant and he doesn't want to work with me, I guess. Maybe he thinks I'm not quite good enough any more. I don't know.
antiMusic: The Alice Cooper live performance is, as every knows, quite a spectacle. After having fronted your own band for many years, was it a challenge to adjust to the live shows since everything was very choreographed and presumably limited a lead guitarist's ability to improvise?
Dick: Hmmm. Limiting? With Alice Cooper? Funny one, man. Yeah. To some degree. But I started with Lou Reed and made a decision that I was just going to be a guitar player for a while. With The Frost, I had to write, produce, everything, play the lead, be the star of the show, whatever. I had to do it all. With Lou, same with Ursa Major, I started off just being the guitar player, then I turned out to be the band leader, the arranger and had to handle the business of the band for Lou. So I always sorta stepped into that role when I had an important position, wherever I was playing. The same with Alice Cooper. So that was difficult with you not getting credit along the way, as much as you maybe should. It's always difficult. But for me playing is enough, I don't have to have the limelight like them. But I do enjoy it. That's basically it.
antiMusic: But on stage and you felt particularly inspired to go off in another direction but because of choreography and everything else you were kind of blocked in, did that ever frustrate you at times or did you know you just had to follow a blueprint pretty close?
Dick: Some of the stuff we did with Alice was stupid and silly and I didn't enjoy being part of it. Like the chickens or machine guns or something like that. It was just so juvenile. He's a better talent, more sophisticated, smart talent than that. So I did not agree with all of it, but some of it I thought was spectacular. But I really enjoyed myself.
antiMusic: "Only Women Bleed" is, as we now know, an old song that you had written a few years before hooking up with Alice with different lyrics. Do you remember when you started working on it with him and did it come to the final version fairly quickly or was it a fair bit of work?
Dick: It took 25 minutes. I had the music written 7 years before. But the lyrics weren't good. I didn't like it so I never used it. The song was just sitting there. Then I played it for Alice and he liked the music so it took about 25 minutes to write it. Then the final version, Bob Ezrin producing it took me some while, but the song was basically written in 25 minutes --- plus whatever I spent on it 8 years before.
antiMusic: Did the music change very much when you started working with him or was it just the lyrics and arrangement?
Dick: Well mainly the lyrics, but, you know when the music changes, everything shifts as you get towards that point of recording it. Once you record it, there it is. It's done. It's down. It's your final version. But before that you're always looking to changing it other ways, phrasing this way. So things can change.
antiMusic: And the demo was recorded at Micky Dolenz's house?
Dick: Yeah, we did a demo there. Pretty good.
antiMusic: Nice to have neighbors like that.
Dick: It was completely different in a sense because it was just done in his home on a small machine. But it developed. It really developed more so it came to be what it is.
antiMusic: Lou Reed dismissed his band after the European tour and the few American shows that yielded Rock n Roll Animal. Did you get any indication while the shows were taking place that Lou was feeling insecure with the band getting lots of attention and was it a surprise when he pulled the plug?
Dick: It was a surprise when he pulled the plug because we got success and I didn't realize he was feeling intimidated by us. I had no idea.
antiMusic: It's funny that he wouldn't say anything while things were happening before things got to that point.
Dick: Yeah, Lou and I were not close. He thought that I was too predictable. Meanwhile I was doing all his arrangements for Rock and Roll Animal. So it goes. We haven't spoken since. I went to see him once in New York. I went back stage and he left me waiting out in the hall and never invited me in. And I was sincerely offended by it.
antiMusic: Wow. I can imagine you were. Alice Cooper, when you say the name, most people think of just strictly hard rock, but the material you wrote with him was so varied. For instance the record Goes to Hell starts off with the hard and heavy title track, switches to the funkiness of "You Gotta Dance" to the lounge-sounds of "I'm the Coolest". There's a lot of mileage between the songs there. Was there much direction provided to you when starting the record or did you just throw riffs out there until an idea arrived or was there kind of a map for most records from the get-go?
Dick: No, actually on that particular record it was written song by song, just thinking of concepts and characters and then trying to come up with stuff. "You Gotta Dance" stuff like that, I think that was Bob trying to be, (chuckle) for lack of a better word, to be hip you know? There was a lot of dance stuff going around at that time and it was not one of my favorite songs. You know I listened to music all my life and I have a good background in a lot of kinds of music. I love good music whatever it is. Even from when I was a kid listening to The Mills Brothers to Johnny Cash, and I absorbed that stuff. So when I write I know how to feel in different veins; I'm not just rock n roll writer. Although I CAN write rock n roll. So I have a different look at things. You may have heard some of my other songs
antiMusic: Well, yes.
Dick: They are completely different. Like "Remember the Child", or "Jerusalem", or something like that. I tend to write epic things and then I can also write smaller songs too. That's the only way I can describe it, it's because of my having listened to music intently and intensely all my life and really absorbed a lot of different styles and ways of thinking about songwriting.
antiMusic: You were fortunate as a teenager to not only see, not only play on the same bill but actually back up Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison. I can't imagine what an experience that was. Did you taken in anything from playing with these three legends or were you just so star-struck that you just played mechanically?
Dick: No I never played mechanically, except maybe my first one or two gigs when I was scared to death. But I've always played with feeling because I feel that music you can't help but feel so I can't say that I would ever do anything like that. I was very intense. Like with Roy Orbison, I was very intent on rehearsing my band so that we copied his record as closely as possible so that he'd be really impressed. And we really rehearsed and spent a lot of time getting ready for him.
A lot less time getting ready for Jerry Lee Lewis but I used to sit in my basement and sing along with Jerry Lee Lewis records when he first came out, so I knew the songs inside out. I guess that's part of the secret of being able to play with heart and feel is knowing what the hell you're playing. And those early guys…I mean, Little Richard was my idol from the first time I heard "Tuitti Fruitti". And "Long Tall Sally" just completely destroyed me when I was in seventh grade in school.
So that music was just part of my lifeblood really. And Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis too, so I knew their music inside out and just tried to play with that same feel that they gave to me. And tried to feel that way and I did because they still do the same thing they always did and I'm just happy to have had the experience.
antiMusic: "Remember the Child" is one of the most gorgeous songs ever written as well as having some of the most poignant lyrics. I don't ever remember hearing that you experienced any form of abuse growing up and if that's correct, how were you able to tap so accurately into that emotion?
Dick: Well you know, the thing about child abuse is that it comes in several forms. You can have physical abuse, and the toughest one of all probably is true emotional abuse. That's what really happened to me.
I was told by my father, in different ways that I was not competent, even though I was a straight A student and all of that. That I ran funny. That I was a bitter young man and I talked back to him when I was just trying to express myself. So I mean his treatment of me, although he doesn't remember and he really thinks that he was very loving to me, but he was not very loving.
The words I Love You never entered into my childhood that I remember. So it was an emotional abuse. So I didn't understand it. I felt it all my life. I was scared to death when I was a kid, all the time and not even necessarily knowing why. So when I started writing that song I just drew on what I felt. So you can see so much of my music is based on what I feel, not just what I'm thinking but what I'm feeling. And the thought process for the lyrics comes in because you're just trying to express something from your past.
And that's really what I do with that song too. It's quite a song and I know that but I was afraid to play it for anyone when I wrote it because I thought it was too heavy. Like no one would like it because it was too heavy, it was long and it went in a lot of different places and to my surprise it was extremely well-accepted and really touched a lot of people's lives. And I'm very thrilled with that, to have had such a creation be part of my body of work.
antiMusic: You've given a lot of credit to Bob Ezrin in the book for getting you some of your gigs. Was there one main thing that you learned from him regarding songwriting or production?
Dick: Not songwriting. I mean I came to him with songs that he couldn't write if he tried. But production, I learned from him. I had already been producing my own records a long time in the '60s and '70s. But he was so good at it, and so good at controlling the sessions and being able to speak to the musicians. So I learned a lot from him that way, as far as temperament goes.
And then watching him and Brian Christian at the control board and doing all the stuff and just absorbing what the hell they were doing and then practicing myself when I was in the studio. So I did really learn from him. I think he learned a lot from me too. We had a good partnership going there on those records for a long time. And we were forming a corporation, me and Ezrin, Brian Christian and Michael Kamen and Bob was the first to get a really big gig; that was Pink Floyd.
Unfortunately that was the end of the company because it was going to be a company where we all shared in each other's success. And Bob took off from it and that was the end of it. So we were all left on our own, Michael did well, I did pretty well. I'm just more proud of my work than any success I've had doing it.
antiMusic: Twenty years before Slash made it popular and probably about the same time as Noddy Holder from Slade wore one, with Alice you started wearing the top hat which became a sort of signature look for you at the time. Do you remember when you first started wearing it?
Dick: Well it was with the Welcome to My Nightmaretour. That was our costume, the capes and the top hat, dressed in black, looked like we were gravediggers, undertakers, in the old days. It worked out very well. It's a good image. I don't wear it anymore. Slash stole it from us, I think (laughs). I don't know. Slash is a good guy. He's obviously been influenced in his guitar playing by Hunter and me. But he's great. He's probably a lot better than me but he's definitely influenced by the way I played early on.
antiMusic: What are some of the more memorable gigs over your career? You must have played with a lot of amazing people at festivals and those kinds of things but in terms of playing with other people or different crowds, what are some of the more memorable ones that stood out"
Dick: We played all the big arenas on "Nightmare" and "Go to Hell" and so on and so we were always playing Madison Square Garden and the LA Forum and playing Anaheim Stadium and different gigs like that where they had 50 thousand people and 20 thousand people. It was always in front of thousands of people. They were all memorable to me but the biggest one to me was I played the Goose Lake Festival which was 200 thousand and we flew in, in a helicopter and landed backstage.
You know coming in over that crowd it was just unbelievable to see 200 thousand people out there. And then we get up on stage and they have so much distance between you and the actual audience because of the fence so you're protected…but you could still see the huge crowd. That was exhilarating, getting up and playing in front of 200 thousand people. But I always liked to be closer to my audience. I like to almost be able to reach out and touch them, so I could be close. I could relate to them that way. So it was a disappointment but it was also very exciting.
antiMusic: That was a show where you first thought you heard Steve Hunter as well, where he was playing with Mitch Ryder?
Dick: Yes, that's right. And it was the first time I heard Steve. Now, actually let me think. Was that before or…because I was playing with Ursa Major in a club in Fort Lauderdale this biker bar and we were doing a 2 week stint. And Hunter came in one night and he was playing with the Chambers Brothers and they were on the road. He came in and I invited him to come up and jam with me and he did. We played like for 2 hours. And it was just so beautiful and that was the beginning of me and Steve playing together.
antiMusic: OK, I'm going to toss out a couple of names and see what remembrances you have of them. First, Tim Curry.
Dick: Oh yeah. Tim Curry. Tim and I got along really well. We wrote a long of songs together for his album. I played on a record called Read My Lips, which is I think was Tim's first album that Bob produced. He brought me in on guitar and I played guitar on that album. And Michael Kamen played piano on it and after that record was made I don't think he wanted to work with Bob again so he asked me and Michael to produce his second album which was Fearless. So we did, we produced it, and played on it and wrote the songs with Tim. And I don't know if you heard that album...it's a pretty good album.
antiMusic: Absolutely. I love it. I'm a big Tim Curry fan.
Dick: I am too. I'm a big fan of Tim. I haven't heard from him. He's become a bigger star I guess. You know some of these guys like Lou Reed and Tim Curry then they become big stars and they don't really associate. Or at least they don't with me. Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm a horrible person. Now I'm not sure but I enjoy Tim Curry. He's an intellectual actor really who wanted to have a singing career too. And it didn't quite work out but we did make some good music together. And we did some shows together and it was really good.
antiMusic: Burton Cummings.
Dick: Yes, Burton Cummings. I was coming back from Australia and I spoke to him, he was in Los Angeles. He wanted me to come in and play guitar on a certain track, "Break It to Them Gently" was the song.
I came in and played guitar on it and you know it's kind of like one of those solos that everybody notices and talks about. I mean I've been very lucky you know. I get into situations, people ask me to come play and the first thing I do is really try to know what I'm doing as far as the song goes. I think it's important to get inside a song and understand what it is so that you can play the right kind of music with it.
And that's what I did with Burton. It was very simple. He toured with us and I got to know him a little bit more on the tour but in this particular case it was just a recording session. I was basically getting off the plane from Australia and going to the studio and playing this solo for Burton and it turned out beautifully. I like him. I talked to him only one time after the tours were over and I didn't see him anymore, about doing something together and we just never got it together and I don't know why. It's just because people sometimes just don't want to do it or don't have the time or I don't really know. It's strange but I like Burton.
antiMusic: Paul Stanley.
Dick: Paul and I became friends. I was in studio B and KISS was in Studio A at Trax, I think was the name of the studio in L.A. and Paul Stanley came over and I was doing a guitar solo on one of my songs and he was telling me how good it was. And then he said, "Would you come over and do something on this album. This is the Revenge album." I had already played on Destroyer years before that but he came over and invited me to play on a song of his, a ballad and I did play a solo on it.
But before that on Destroyer I got to know Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons a little bit. In fact Paul and I used to do some writing together in his house in LA. and then in his apartment in New York, we did some writing together. We just never really got the right kind of demo and really didn't do anything with the songs. They exist. He may have them, I don't have them.
But we did some work together and we hung out and I was at his place and we were friendly. I haven't talked to him in a long time. The last real gesture he did with me was he gave me a box set of Tony Bennett because he loved Tony Bennett and so did I. so he gave me a box set of Tony Bennett records and that was great, that was very nice of him. But I haven't talked to him in years.
antiMusic: Billy Joel.
Dick: Billy Joel and I were forming a group together in New York and it was going to be a trio, me and Billy Joel and Rick Mangone the drummer, fantastic. He was probably the best drummer in the world at the time and he didn't even know it, and he could have been but he quit to become a history teacher in Brooklyn.
But Billy and I could have had something really great. We were going to start a group. It was going to be called World War III. And our manager, Dennis Arfa came up with the concept and he wanted us to open at Madison Square Garden. Like that would be our first gig. He was going to do a hype similar to what Grand Funk did, all the ads and billboards. He was going to do something like that.
That was the big dream: World War III at Madison Square Garden, which probably wouldn't have worked at all, but it was really exciting to think about it. (laughs) So Billy and his wife started having problems and she later became his manager, helped take him to huge success because she was a great negotiator but they started having some problems and he dropped out.
So I got a hold of Greg Arama the former bass player of Ted Nugent's Amboy Dukes and we changed the name of the band to Ursa Major. It was going to be a trio with Billy but it was a lot different because Billy would be playing organ and piano and playing bass with his left hand. And so it was going to be a different kind of thing.
It would have been a fantastic band, but we never got the opportunity. But we did okay with Ursa Major. We didn't set the world on fire but we toured with Alice Cooper. We opened for Alice Cooper for something like 17 cities, and we opened for Jeff Beck for about 15 cities. And we did great every gig, people loved us. But the band never happened because the head of A&R for RCA was the former jazz critic for the New York Times, he replaced Dennis Katz.
But it just wasn't his kind of music, he was a jazz critic. And these jazz guys are very elitist, a lot of them, and he certainly was. So Ursa Major never really had a shot. It's a seminal band. I mean a lot of bands have been influenced by it and it was a fantastic record. That was my first production with Ezrin. So those guys together…just a little core of people that had gathered in New York and made music…it was really an exciting time, 1972.
antiMusic: The last name I'll toss out just because it seems so strange to me in connection with you --- I saw the credit on a song on your album, Full Meltdown --- is John Wetton.
Dick: Yeah, John Wetton, he knew my publishers in Los Angeles and when he was coming through LA they set me up with him to write. He came over to my house and we wrote some songs, recorded a couple of songs with me singing and he and I co-writing. And there are some pretty good songs. And I used those demos and he used one of the demos that we made too on one of his records. It was cool.
I like John Wetton. He's a good friend. We occasionally swap emails. I haven't seen him in years either. Everybody I've ever worked with they either go on to more success or just disappeared from my radar, I haven't talked to them in a long time. You know I'm 70 years old now. I'm just out trying to make some music myself touring and I've got my book out and I'm going to make another record this year, of my own.
Dick: Yeah, I'm going to do an actual record, an actual CD. I've got so much material. Plus I'm working with this singer from Denmark. He's getting big in Europe now. He's called Maryann Cotton and they're heavily influenced by Alice Cooper stuff. They're like that kind of band.
I've written this entire concept, I've written already six of the songs for the record and they've written three so we've just about got a full album already, to release it if we can get a record label. We don't have a label. We're just doing this by Skype and email back and forth. So yeah, I'm going to produce them. I'm already producing them by Skype and email and we're putting all the stuff together and it's going to be sensational.
It's a music story about a rock star serial killer and I think it could be a movie. I've written this whole treatment on the story line and the music tells the story. I wrote 6 songs that are just perfect.
I got Alice involved to help me with lyrics on three of them. So I've got Alice Cooper involved to a certain degree too. Yeah. It's going to be great. It's going to be great. I just don't know when we're actually going to record it. I have to go to Denmark and record it with them. But we need to get a budget first from a record label and we're almost ready to present it. Because we've got the songs. I've written the treatment.
It's ready to go in a sense but I want the demos to be a little bit better because you can't trust these record people to actually hear anything. They might say that's terrible, we don't like it. We don't like the sound of that snare." Or do something stupid like that. Instead of hearing what this concept is. It's beautiful. I mean it's a rock star serial killer. And I think that there's a market for that. I've written some really great songs for it so I'm very happy about that. I'm thinking we'll probably record it in August or something like that, and start booking dates, start touring in June. Probably tour in June and July and hopefully go to Denmark in August.
antiMusic: Are you still working with Wensday?
Dick: Wensday is going on tour with me and then we'll probably do some recording also when we're done touring. But she's coming on tour with me for a few dates, maybe five or six dates. I'm getting her out of Providence, Rhode Island. She left me high and dry and went back home to her family because she couldn't bear living in the desert.
Now she's come back around and she called me and wanted to do a show here. I put together a show here about three weeks ago and she and I played together. And it was great. We really did a good show and we really related to each other. So I asked her if she would want to go on tour with me this summer and she said yes so that's the plan. Just to feature three or four songs and let her spellbind the audience and then bring them back to the 70 year-old. (laughs)
antiMusic: I reviewed her first record a few years ago and spoke to her then and was impressed by her voice.
Dick: She's better now. She was fantastic in the show we did three weeks ago. So I'm very pleased. She's grown up. If she were here now she'd stick with it. But that was then and this is now so I'm going to try and help her again.
antiMusic: So you kind of stepped into what I was going to be asking next….you're the co owner of Desert Dreams. What kind of banner does that encompass? What does the company do?
Dick: We are a development company. We look for artists but we haven't really found many. Wensday is our first and I've met a couple other people that I'm thinking about. But we're into finding extraordinary artists and developing them. That's what we want to do. Plus we manage my career.
Suzie Michelson is my manager. She's fantastic and she's my partner and her partner is in on it too. He handles my book. I mean we all do it to a certain degree. It's a partnership. I love it. We're not making a lot of money yet, but we will. It's a matter of time.
So I'm busy with that. And I'm busy trying to get my book out there and trying to go on a tour and impress people because you know I was out of it for five years. I couldn't play guitar. I couldn't do anything during those five years, I mean, except write songs. Now I'm back out playing like I've always been. It's just that I'm a little older now. (laughs) A little bit? A lot older,
antiMusic: That doesn't mean anything.
Dick: I try to keep my health together, you know. I lost 30 pounds and I want to lose a little bit more and I'm feeling good so, all in all it's a good life. It's been a good journey. I'm happy to have been an influence on people. And that is very rewarding for me.
Like when I hear one of my songs…yesterday I get a call from a guy who told me he just listened to XM Sirius Radio, on a program called Deep Tracks, they played "Stand in the Shadows" by the Frost, the whole seven minutes of it. I was so happy to hear that because, it's a cool song. It's very '60s in the lyrics --- flower power, kind of stuff but the guitar playing on it…God, I listened and thought, I was really good back then. (laughs) It was 1967 and I was playing crazy.
Morley and antiMusic thank Dick for taking the time to speak with us.
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