/ Credits / Gigs / Songs
September 16, 1978
Darkness Falls: [Bryan] Ferry in the Confessional
By Allan Jones
“... His album was eventually recorded in Montreux (and re-recorded, in part, in New York with Simon Puxley), with an Anglo-American cast of musicians, including Linda Ronstadt’s guitarist, Waddy Wachtel, to whom he had been introduced at a Jackson Browne session. His selection as lead guitarist was, I ventured, quite untypical. ‘I agree,’ Ferry replies quickly, ‘that sort of laidback L.A. music isn’t at all my style, but I can spot a good guitarist very easily. And the idea of Waddy playing with Neil Hubbard, I thought that was very exciting.’ ...”
circa 1982 (page 40)
Warren Zevon Interview
MUSICIAN: Maybe you could have been more productive during that period, but the work that did come out was real high-quality stuff. The resultant albums from those years are anything but sloppy. How did you do it? Is there that big a contrast between your work sober as compared to drunk?
ZEVON: Yes, in terms of output, because I had a lifetime to get the material ready for the first album. Had a lot of co-writers on the second. On the first couple of albums I leaned so heavily on Jackson and Waddy that what you hear is what they might have had to go through to get a sober performance in the studio from me. Because what you're hearing isn't drunken composing, it isn't drunken performing; it's maybe the patience of Jackson or Waddy to keep cutting something, or the patience of (Elektra/Asylum president) Joe Smith to keep shelling out till I delivered a reasonably healthy performance. ...
MUSICIAN: What sort of gigs did you play with the Everly Brothers?
ZEVON: Well, that was what was real strange. They played a sold-out gig in Albert Hall, and it'd be just like A Hard Day's Night. They'd send us out one exit to be trampled, so they could get out to their limo through another exit. And then a week later we'd be in an oyster bar in North Carolina playing to three people. And the best thing that I learned from them, and always admired them for, was that they always sang the same, which was as well as they could, which was incredibly good. We had chills all the time; I'm sure Waddy would tell you the same thing. We were real proud to play those songs every night. Because they're great oldies, and they sang them as well as they could. That was real impressive. They didn't get along with each other, and that was real understandable. And I stopped feeling bad about not having made it before I was twenty, from seeing that you didn't really have anywhere to go. The saddest part is that individually they still sing better than anyone else, except maybe dead Elvis- they really do, each individually- but I don't know, their name is Everly Brothers. People are used to the cake with the frosting, and they're reluctant to give an ear to half the recipe. The other great but sad part is that they're the kind of guys who would do the set and then go back to their rooms and play their guitars all night. ...
MUSICIAN: Even before thinking of yourself as a songwriter?
ZEVON: I thought of myself as a composer first. But, yeah, I've always been coming up with kind of circuitous arguments about being a songwriter. "No, I'm not a songwriter, I'm a composer who occasionally writes lyrics and sets his liner notes to music- which is all bullshit too, I realized. And I realize now that I really am a front man, and that Waddy is a much better bandleader. And that kind of happened from the first time Waddy and I worked together in the Everly Brothers. I was the bandleader, but when the four of us started working together it was evident that Waddy was so gifted at it that, hell, they didn't need a piano player. ...
MUSICIAN: So the next time you go out on tour who will be in the band?
ZEVON: I'll leave it up to Waddy (laughs). There you go. The most important thing is I'll be going out with Waddy.
MUSICIAN: When you're in the studio and Waddy Wachtel is going to take a solo in a song, do you instruct him at all on what to play, give suggestions as to what you have in mind?
ZEVON: Oh, no. I'm trying to think of an example, but I'm sure there isn't one, where I said, "Play like this, or play up here." I don't need to say that, because he knows. I could, I may have long ago when I was too saturated to belong in a recording studio. I don't try to second-guess him, because I know that if I did, it would take a lot of the joy out of it. When I hire Waddy, I know I'll get Waddy, and that's usually as far as I need to see. ...
Guitar Player Magazine
By Jas Obrecht
...”Do you use open tunings?
I'm getting more into them. Waddy Wachtel turned me onto the Keith Richards 5-string open-G tuning. I pulled the low E string off my Fender Esquire and tuned the rest of them G D G B D [low to high]. You have to have that tuning to make Rolling Stones songs work. It's good for real slam-bang rock and roll; it makes you play nasty. I also experiment with some wild minor 11th tuning.”...
Guitar Player Magazine
The Keith Chronicles
Part 2: Keith, Muddy and Wolf
By Jas Obrecht
...” You've said that with the Rolling Stones, Woody could drop his pick and you'd intuitively cover his part. Do you have that similar relationship with Waddy Wachtel?
Yeah, yeah. Steve Jordan and I had done Aretha Franklin's "Jumping Jack Flash" video, and that's where we started to work together, although we had been looking at each other for several years. And Charlie Watts had said, "If you're gonna work with somebody else, work with Jordan." I had Charlie's blessing on that one, so that was a great boost. And then we did the Chuck Berry thing [the film Hail, Hail Rock And Roll]. After that, it became apparent that either I was going to do nothing or I was gonna have to do a solo album, because there was nothing else to do that I was interested in, but I wanted to work. And this split with Mick and the Stones had been going on for two or three years already. I mean, it's almost as long as World War II! In retrospect, it's not such a bad thing. At least we've patched it together again, and everybody's still there. It might have been a good thing.
So I started to put a band together, because I can't work without a band. Steve looks at me and says, "Who do you want to play with?" I said, "Guitar? Waddy Wachtel." And he goes to me, "My very words." I'd known Waddy since the middle '70s, and I've always liked his stuff. But I always recognized him as a man left alone out there running a chick's band. And I knew this man wants to rock more desperately than he's allowed to. [Laughs.] He's doing Linda Ronstadt, then he's doing Stevie Nicks, and I know my man wants to rock. Waddy and I have always had that empathy, and he understands my music. I don't have to explain anything to Waddy. I say, "It goes like this," and everybody else would say, "Well, that's weird." But Waddy goes, "Oh, that's interesting." That's what you look for, that ESP doesn't come hard. Because what you're looking for in a band is that you don't have to bother about thinking about something, that it's picked up automatically.”...
The Goldmine Interviews
Conversations with Leslie West and Corky Laing of Mountain
By Richard Skelley
...Goldmine: Who was around Forest Hills or 48th Street that you learned from in those days?
Leslie West: There was a kid at a lot of sessions named Waddy Wachtel, and he lived in my building at the time, and he knew more chords than I did. His real name is Bob Wachtel, and he went on to become an excellent studio musician, and he played with Keith Richards the last time he went out, with the X-Pensive Winos.
George Thorogood interview with the late, great Sheila Rene
Q&A with George Thorogood
Sheila Rene': We're rolling (tape) now.
George Thorogood: That's an appropriate button you're wearing, "I Love Rock And Roll." That's you. That says it all.
SR: It's the title of a Joan Jett song. I just found it one day and bought it. Speaking of songs, I have in my hands one fine new album [Rockin’ My Life Away 1997].You've found some great tunes here. What brought these particular songs to your attention?
GT: What or who? Well, it came to my attention if we don't have an album out, we won't get too many more gigs; and you've got to have an album to get gigs. To have an album you have to have songs. To have songs that nobody has done before or you've never done before. The well was tapped out. We put a lot of people out on point looking for material. We got some help from Bob Thiele and little or no help from Waddy Wachtel.
SR: No? That's not what I've heard.
GT: That guy's crazy! He's crazier than I am. I made the mistake of mentioning Frank Zappa's tune "Trouble Everyday." He said 'we're going to record that thing.' I said 'we're not going to record that. That's Frank's. That's "Like A Rolling Stone" to Dylan. That's Frank's.' Waddy comes back with 'you're not leaving here without recording it.' I said 'it won't be easy.' Waddy says 'I don't care.’ And he made me do it.
SR: It's my favorite song on the album for me.
GT: Then it was worth it to get Sheila Rene' to come speak to me this afternoon.
SR: Absolutely - and you speak of his genius. What was it for you?
GT: That's like combing the globe and trying to put your finger on God's best work. All of it was beautiful, all of it was great. His attitude, his style and there was never any music he could not master. He was funny and musically equipped. He had it all as opposed to guys like me who get up and beat the hell out of one chord and pretend like they're always testing for an hour and a half.
SR: (laughing) You're right.
GT: You can't explain genius any more than you can explain the air we breathe. Asking me to explain that is ridiculous. I can't explain it any better than I did. The greatest minds in rock and roll couldn't figure him out - what have I got to lose?
SR: Give me the Waddy Wachtel story. He came to see you perform one night and decided he wanted to work with you. Yes?
GT: Naturally, I'm the last to know anything. Waddy Wachtel, as you know, has this great body of work from the '70s, '80s and '90s. He's everybody's guy. It came to my attention that he wanted to work with me. I never knew about his work until he worked with Keith Richards. I said 'Keith with a studio musician? I don't know about that.' But Waddy is a unique case and I went to see the Expensive Winos live and he supplied the guitar on that tour. I said 'okay, this is kinda funky, this makes it.' I met him and the problem was shuting the two of us up (laughter) to get us to play the music. It was like finding this long lost soul brother that you'd lost around 13 or 14 years of age. His whole childhood was mirrored of mine, completely. The difference between us is that he mastered the guitar. He's another genius.
SR: George, you're great.
GT I've got another story for you. He did three things in the studio that no one has been able to make me do. They've not even tried. He got me to play a little slower, turn down and shut up for five minutes. That's an impossibility and I did it.
SR: What a great soul you have. I read a quote from you once stating that the reason you and John Lee Hooker were so good together was that you both did it wrong.
GT: (laughing) Exactly. I'm still doing it wrong. I need people like Waddy or Hank Carter just so it's not real wrong. Just to balance it out. I was fond of saying 'I love playing the guitar so much that I never took time to stop and learn how to play.' I still go up to people and say 'show me something today.' Wow, that's cool when did you learn that and they say when I was 13.'
SR: You didn't pick up a guitar that early.
GT: Yeah, here I am in my 40's and I never took the proper time to learn the proper way. John Lee Hooker is a very primitive player; he's very driven, very rhythmic and he's not too concerned about technique. He's just concerned about how it makes him feel or other people feel. I'm the same way.
SR: I think John Lee just turned 80 and selfishly, I had to tell this man now how much he means to me. His music and his humanity.
GT: Thank you. I look pretty good for 80.
SR: No, darlin' not you. I remember Hooker showing up to play with you at the Warfield in San Francisco one night and he brought his own six-pack.
GT: That's Hooker. He's always thinking about somebody else.
SR: And now he's working with his daughter on an album.
GT: That's great.
SR: "Jail Bait" was written by Andre Williams. Did he record this song first? I know I've heard this song a long time ago.
GT: That's the idea. Wow, what's the date today?
SR: Today is May 14.
GT: Okay, let's phone up the UPI and Natural Museum of History on the phone. Mark this date since it's the first time anybody stumped Sheila Rene'. No, no, no. You usually get everything first. I usually go over my records and you know this stuff. This is the first one.
SR: No, did he record it first? Who was he?
GT: Who is he? He's still working.
GT: I called up Elvin Bishop and told him that I was going to record this song, "Jail Bait." There was a pause and he said 'that's Andre Williams.' I asked what he thought of that? He goes 'Yeah that's a good one.' Then I thought 'Oh, no. Elvin was thinking about doing this song, too.' Waddy walked into the Rolling Stone's camp and Keith Richards gave him holy hell about "Jail Bait." Richards said 'you guys.' And it would be a great song for Bishop to record. It's hard to find obscure material anymore. It's almost impossible.
SR: I know. That's why I'm curious about these songs.
GT: Elvin was tipping his hat; and at the same time kicking me in the butt for saying I was doing that one.
SR: Elmore James is represented well with his "Manhattan Slide."
GT: I don't think we missed too many people on this record. We got a little of everybody.
SR: Even a new Thorogood tune, "Night Rider."
GT: Yeah, right. I wrote that song quote unquote. It took me about eight minutes to get those lyrics together because Waddy said 'you got this riff. what do you want to call this thing?' I go 'Let's look through the Allman Brothers entire catalog then the Doobie Brothers and Johnny Winter and see how many Night Rider's there are out there. He said 'you got lyrics?' and I said 'Sure, I got lyrics.' Of course, I didn't at that time. I went home and snuck off to the toilet and starting writing.
GT: When they're around. They keep to themselves and they have a schedule that they have and they have to conserve their energy for the show. What's fun is any time you're out and you lay new material on your people. When they start to pop on it, that's the real fun part. You select material for ages and you don't know if it'll work It's a process, first you have a gut instinct that the song will work for us. Then you have to see if you can play it and then you look to see if no one has recorded it recently. Then you've got to sell it to the record company, oh boy! Then you have to see if you can squeeze it on the radio. The final test is can you play it live and if you can, does the audience dig it. If they do then you've got enough to keep you going for another 18 months or two years. That's a hard process to go through. A lot of artists don't care or at least that's what Waddy says. Many artists just don't concern themselves with that kind of conscious approach to it. A lot of those people aren't opening for ZZ Top either. (laughing) They're sitting home waiting for the phone to ring and book 'em somewhere.
SR: One last question George. Are you a happy man, with your music and your personal life?
GT: Yeah, I'm lucky to be one of the two percenters in the world. I've always argued with Tommy Lasorda when he was always saying he has the greatest job in the world. I'd say 'Sorry Tommy, I get paid to play my guitar in a band and Waddy is probably the only other person I've met...Keith Richards doesn't say that, but he lives that. He loves it. I run into so many people who do this for a living and they're always groaning. Especially the rock guys. Not the Blues cats. Hooker is very happy. All the rockers seem to be miserable. They're either not famous enough, or not rich enough. I pulled Brian Setzer to the side once and I said 'Brian, every night you go on stage you're Eddie Cochran reincarnated. Don't you remember when you were in highschool and you were nothing. You couldn't even do 15 push ups in gym. They gave you grief for being a freak or creep or whatever? You make your living playing a guitar. What's the deal here?' Some people come to see us and they ask 'why is this guy so happy?' I say well excuse me, I'm living my dream every night. Who cares if it's out of tune and I sing a little flat?
Source of article
Electronic Musician Magazine
Success Story: Tim Hatfield
...It doesn’t get any more rock ’n’ roll than recording Keith Richards, whom Hatfield had the pleasure of helping record main tracks and overdubs for on the guitarist’s second solo album, Main Offender.
“I learned so much on that record,” he recalls. “Not only was the band so incredible, but I was working with three of the best engineer/producers around — Joe Blaney, Nico Bolas, and Don Smith. [Guitarist] Waddy Wachtel used a Marshall a lot, and on the first day, I put the mic on the ‘wrong’ speaker of Waddy’s cabinet. It was during this session that I learned how to find the right speaker in a cabinet, and the right spot on the right speaker. I had put the mic on the top left speaker, pulled it up, and he really hated the sound. So I moved the mic to the right, went into the live room, listened, and thought, ‘This sounds great out here.’ Going back into the live room and listening is a wise move. I had noticed that the right speaker sounded better than the left, and when I moved it to the other speaker, Waddy got very excited by the results.”...
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