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Wednesday, November 14,2012

This book rocks

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Last week, Schuler hosted Michigan rock ‘n’ roller Dick Wagner, who talked about his new book “Not Only Women Bleed.” His book joins a plethora of rock ’n’ roll bios this year, including books by Pete Townshend, Neil Young and Carole King. Wagner, a Detroit native, moved to Saginaw in the early 1960s and formed the Bossmen, who played at local Battle of the Bands competitions at the Bay City outdoor roller rink and Saginaw’s young adult night club Daniel’s Den. He has played lead guitar on more than 200 albums. 

The Bossmen’s numerous songs included “Here’s Congratulations,” “Take a Look,” “Baby Boy” and “Help Me Baby.” Their early persona and music was pure Beatles. In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, Wagner played with the band Frost, which was popular in the Lansing area and was known for its hard-driving rock. 

Wagner tells tales about writing songs for a wide variety of artists, including Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, Kiss, Little Richard, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Lou Reed, Ringo Starr , Peter Gabriel, Meat Loaf, Tina Turner, Etta James, Hall & Oates, Nina Simone and Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra. 

Wagner’s sexual adventures, which he calls “intimate debauchery,” show up almost as much as ethanol and PureTone do in Young’s “Waging Heavy Peace.” Wagner, whose thinning white hair belies his rock roots, is living proof, as Young wrote, that “rock ‘n’ roll will never die.” For those who want a taste of him at his best, listen to the lead guitar on Reed’s seminal album “Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal.”

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