By Marissa G. Muller
Now, band frontman Cooper has opened up about the loss, calling Wagner – who co-wrote “Welcome to My Nightmare” and “Only Woman Bleed” – “irreplaceable.”
“Even though we know it’s inevitable, we never expect to suddenly lose close friends and collaborators,” Cooper told Billboard. “Dick Wagner and I shared as many laughs as we did hit records. He was one of a kind. He is irreplaceable. His brand of playing and writing is not seen anymore, and there are very few people that I enjoyed working with as much as I enjoyed working with Dick Wagner.
“A lot of my radio success in my solo career had to do with my relationship with Dick Wagner,” he continued. “Not just on stage, but in the studio and writing. Some of my biggest singles were ballads what I wrote with Dick Wagner. Most of Welcome to My Nightmare was written with Dick. There was just a magic in the way we wrote together. He was always able to find exactly the right chord to match perfectly with what I was doing. I think that we always think our friends will be around as long as we are, so to hear of Dick’s passing comes as a sudden shock and an enormous loss for me, rock ‘n’ roll and to his family.”
After their relationship began with School’s Out in 1972, Wagner and Cooper worked together on the 1975 album Welcome to My Nightmare and then throughout the ’80s, recording Goes to Hell, Lace and Whiskey, From Inside, and Hey Stoopid.
Wagner didn’t just work with Cooper. The Iowa-born guitarist’s other credits included Lou Reed’s 1973 album Berlin, KISS’ Destroyer and with Aerosmith.