Alice Cooper talks about Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner

I just listened to the "Alice Cooper: The Rolling Stone Interview" from the "Rolling Stone Music Now" podcast and it's truly interesting. This man is a living legend and such a great person overall. I had the pleasure of meeting him briefly last year and got to see him perform live three times.

The whole interview is worth listening to and here's a few words about two great guitar players that have contributed to Aerosmith's music in the early days.

So who are the "Dynamic Duo"?

Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner

In 1974, Steve Hunter played the (uncredited) opening-half solo on Aerosmith's "Train Kept A Rollin" from Get Your Wings. In a February 2015 interview in "Detroit Rock and Roll Magazine", Hunter tells how it came about that he recorded the opening solo of Aerosmith's "Train Kept a Rollin": "Aerosmith was in Studio C of The Record Plant and I was doing work with Bob Ezrin in Studio A. I had a long wait between dubs and was waiting in the lobby. Jack Douglas popped his head out of Studio C and asked 'Hey, do you feel like playing?'. I said sure, so I grabbed my guitar and went in. I had two run thru's, then Jack said 'great, that's it!' That turned out to be the opening solos on 'Train Kept A Rollin''."

It was very quick, Steve recalls. He got his own guitar, which he thinks would have been a 1959 Les Paul TV Special. They took some time to get a sound, then ran through the track. But, as he did not have the vocal in his headphones, they ran through it again, this time with the vocal in, and Steve nailed it. He got paid about $750 for doing it, then, as it turns out, the song had a huge impact on the career of the young, inexperienced Aerosmith. Unbeknownst to Steve, Douglas also enlisted his session companion Dick Wagner to play the solo over the second half simulated live 'Yardbirds' section. Neither Hunter or Wagner got a credit on the album, as 'ghosting', as it's sometimes called, was fairly common practice at that time.

Hunter has no idea why he was asked to record the solo; as he says, it was none of his business. The rest of the band were all there, they were very nice to him and he was never asked to teach anybody what he played. In 2013, Joe Perry played a solo on Steve's solo album "The Manhattan Blues Project" (The Brooklyn Shuffle) alongside his buddy Johnny Depp, so clearly there are no hard feelings and why should there be.

In 2010, Gibson.com honored the guitar tandem of Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter with two places in the Top 50 Guitar Solos of All Time - #25 for "Intro to Sweet Jane" (Lou Reed), and as #41 "Train Kept A Rollin' (Aerosmith). In 2012, Gibson published "Riff This Way: Aerosmith's Top 10 Riff-Heavy Tracks", placing Dick Wagner with two winning guitar solos: The #1 Best Aerosmith Guitar Solo for his lead guitar on "Same Old Song and Dance", and also #4, honoring his performance as lead guitarist with Steve Hunter on "Train Kept A Rollin'".