Waddy Wachtel

Robert "Waddy" Wachtel (born May 24, 1947) is an American musician, composer and record producer, most notable for his guitar work. Wachtel has worked as session musician for other artists such as Linda Ronstadt, Stevie Nicks, Keith Richards (guitarist of Keith's side-band The X-pensive Winos), The Rolling Stones (lead guitar on Saint Of Me), Jon Bon Jovi, James Taylor, Iggy Pop, Warren Zevon, Bryan Ferry, Michael Sweet, Jackson Browne, and Andrew Gold, both in the studio and live.[1]

Waddy Wachtel
Wachtel, center, with Jackson Browne (left) and John Cowsill (right), in 2009
Background information
Birth nameRobert Wachtel
BornMay 24, 1947 (age 71)
New York City, New York, United States
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • composer
  • record producer
  • bandleader
  • Guitar
  • vocals
Years active1970–present
Associated acts

Early years

Wachtel was born May 24, 1947, in Jackson Heights in the New York City borough of Queens. At about age 9–10,[1] Wachtel began to learn to play the guitar, taking lessons with teacher Gene Dell (who insisted that he learn to play right-handed despite being naturally left-handed) until about age 14. At that age, he says, he began writing songs.[2] Waddy is Jewish.[3]

Wachtel also studied with Rudolph Schramm, who was the head of the NBC staff orchestra and went on to teach music at Carnegie Hall. Schramm tried to get Wachtel to take piano lessons, but Wachtel was intent on playing guitar so Schramm agreed to give him guitar lessons three times a week on rhythm, melody and harmony.

After performing with local bands in the New York area, Wachtel formed his own band, The Orphans, who played in Connecticut and New Hampshire. Eventually the band settled into a regular bar band routine, playing in Newport, Rhode Island, where Wachtel took lessons from Sal Salvador.[4] When the Orphans disbanded, he formed another band, Twice Nicely. At the suggestion of Bud Cowsill (of The Cowsills), he brought Twice Nicely to Los Angeles in 1968 where they recorded a few demos, but after two years, Wachtel decided to work as a session player, recording with The Cowsills and produce their albums.[2]


Waddy Wachtel
Wachtel with guitar, in 2009

In 1972, he made an appearance in the film The Poseidon Adventure with the actual band on stage in the dining room when the ship capsizes.

He also played in the Oscar's awarded short film Session Man in 1991. Wachtel has composed and played instruments for film scores including Joe Dirt, Up in Smoke, Nice Guys Sleep Alone, The Longest Yard, The Benchwarmers, Grandma's Boy, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, Strange Wilderness, The House Bunny, and Paul Blart: Mall Cop. He has also composed, produced, or performed in songs with Warren Zevon, Joe Walsh, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt and others.

Session and touring work

Wachtel with The Cowsills in 2009

In 1972, he was hired by Warren Zevon to play guitar on The Everly Brothers Stories We Could Tell album and join them in a subsequent tour.

By 1973, he played with Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks on their first album Buckingham Nicks (credited as 'Waddy', no surname), and on tour. Later, when Nicks and Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac, he played rhythm guitar on their 1975 album Fleetwood Mac on the track "Sugar Daddy".

In 1980, he wrote, recorded and sang lead vocals on an album for producer Peter Asher with members of Linda Ronstadt's band, including musicians Don Grolnick, Dan Dugmore, and Rick Marotta. Both the group and the album were titled Ronin. Released on the Mercury label, the record never charted.

In 1984 he played on Steve Perry's (Journey) solo album Street Talk.

He has appeared on hundreds of albums with many different artists and bands.

Production credits include albums by Stevie Nicks, Keith Richards, Jackson Browne, Bryan Ferry, The Church, Sand Rubies, George Thorogood and the Destroyers and Warren Zevon. Wachtel co-wrote several songs with Zevon including "Werewolves of London".[5] He also co-wrote the Warren Zevon song "Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead" from the album Mr. Bad Example. He performed and co-produced the first two Zevon albums.[6]

Wachtel also shares co-writing credits with Stevie Nicks on a few tracks such as "Annabel Lee", and "I Don't Care".


Wachtel has been credited on some albums as Bob Wachtel, but some online sources have incorrectly credited him as Richard Wachtel on albums he was credited as having played guitar on.[7]

Criminal charges and legal problems

Wachtel and his wife Annie were arrested in 1998 on suspicion of possession of child pornography after illicit images were found on a computer they had in their home, also hard copies and duplicates of child porn were found in the home.[8][9][10] The case against Wachtel's wife was dismissed; Wachtel pleaded no contest and was placed on probation for three years.[11]

Musician Brett Tuggle defended Wachtel and his wife, saying "there is no way that Stevie would have him in her band if she thought he was guilty of any wrongdoing."[12]


Wachtel plays a 1960 Gibson Les Paul and 1957 Fender Stratocaster.[13] He said in a 1980 interview that the newest made guitar he owned was a 1964 Fender Stratocaster. Wachtel purchased the Les Paul guitar from Stephen Stills for $350.[14] In September 2014 the Gibson Custom Shop chose the 1960 Les Paul Waddy Wachtel guitar for their new Collector's Choice series.[15]

2000 to present

Wachtel performs regularly with the Waddy Wachtel Band in the Los Angeles area, notably at The Joint from 2000 through 2013. The band at that time included Phil Jones, Rick Rosas, Bernard Fowler and Blondie Chaplin, among others.[16] He continues to gig with his band, with some personnel changes, while retaining Fowler and Chaplin.[17] Many famous artists have performed with the band as special guests.[18]>

Wachtel appeared on the 2010 Grammy Award television show backing Taylor Swift's live presentation. In Swift's duet with Nicks on the song "Rhiannon", Wachtel was featured on lead guitar.

Discography (partial)

With Karla Bonoff

Year Album Label
1977 Karla Bonoff Columbia Records
1979 Restless Nights Columbia Records
1982 Wild Heart of the Young Columbia Records

With Joe Walsh

Year Album Label
1983 You Bought It – You Name It Warner Bros. Records
1985 The Confessor Warner Bros. Records
1991 Ordinary Average Guy Epic Records

With Fleetwood Mac

Year Album Label
1975 Fleetwood Mac Reprise Records

With Stevie Nicks

Year Album Label
1973 Buckingham Nicks Polydor Records
1981 Bella Donna Modern Records
1983 The Wild Heart Modern Records
1985 Rock a Little Modern Records
1989 The Other Side of the Mirror Modern Records
1991 Timespace - The Best of Stevie Nicks Modern Records
1994 Street Angel Modern Records/Atlantic Records
1998 Enchanted Atlantic Records
2001 Trouble in Shangri-La Reprise Records
2001 The Divine Stevie Nicks EMI Records
2007 Crystal Visions - The Very Best of Stevie Nicks Reprise Records
2009 The Soundstage Sessions Reprise Records
2011 In Your Dreams Reprise Records
2014 24 Karat Gold: Songs from the Vault Reprise Records

With Keith Richards and the X-Pensive Winos

Year Album Label
1988 Talk is Cheap Virgin Records
1991 Live at the Hollywood Palladium Virgin Records(Dec 15, 1988)
1992 Main Offender Virgin Records
2010 Vintage Vinos Mindless Records
2015 Crosseyed Heart Republic Records

With Linda Ronstadt

Year Album Label
1976 Hasten Down the Wind Asylum Records
1977 Simple Dreams Asylum Records
1978 Living in the USA Asylum Records
1980 Mad Love Asylum Records
1982 Get Closer Asylum Records
1998 We Ran Elektra Records

With James Taylor

Year Album Label
1976 In the Pocket Warner Bros. Records
1979 Flag Columbia Records
1981 Dad Loves His Work Columbia Records

With Warren Zevon

Year Album Label
1976 Warren Zevon Asylum Records
1978 Excitable Boy Asylum Records
1980 Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School Asylum Records
1982 The Envoy Asylum Records
1991 Mr. Bad Example Giant Records

Filmography (Partial)

Year Title Director(s) Notes
1978 Up in Smoke Lou Adler with Danny Kortchmar and Lee Oskar (member of Yesca)
2001 Joe Dirt Dennie Gordon N/A
2003 Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star Sam Weisman with Christophe Beck
2006 Grandma's Boy Nicholaus Goossen N/A
The Benchwarmers Dennis Dugan N/A
'Last Request John DeBellis N/A
2008 Strange Wilderness Fred Wolf N/A
The House Bunny Fred Wolf N/A
2009 Paul Blart: Mall Cop Steve Carr N/A
2011 Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star Tom Brady N/A
Jack and Jill Dennis Dugan with Rupert Gregson-Williams
2013 Jimi: All Is by My Side John Ridley with Danny Bramson
2015 Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser Fred Wolf Digital film


  1. ^ a b Gans,, David (March 7, 1980). "Waddy Wachtel: Confessions of a "Mafia" Guitarist". Bam Magazine. BAM. 5 (74): 40. Retrieved July 25, 2009.
  2. ^ a b Kutina, Scott E. (February 1, 1981). "International Musician And Recording World, Waddy Wachtel". Volume 3. International Musician And Recording World. pp. Number 2. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
  3. ^ Waddy Wachtel - Fleetwood Mac www.fleetwoodmac.net/penguin/waddy.htm That is probably the most accurate summary of the career of Waddy Wachtel. ... the musical prodigy that is often "behind the music" as you read Waddy Wachtel in his .... Well, around the corner from us, (and this might have been in some previous .... You know a Jewish boy's dream is to be able to support his father, you know.
  4. ^ "Waddy Wachtel". The Penguin Biographies. Martin and Lisa Adelson. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  5. ^ "Werewolves of London", Johnny Black, Blender, April 2008
  6. ^ "In The Studio With Redbeard: Warren Zevon". Interview with Warren Zevon. In The Studio. 2008. Retrieved 2015-02-05.
  7. ^ "Waddy Wachtel Discography". Waddywachtelinfo.com. 1980-01-01. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  8. ^ "Guitarist Wachtel Busted For Child Pornography". MTV. 1998-07-10. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 29, 2008. Retrieved February 21, 2008.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ Shauna Snow (1998-07-11). "Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  11. ^ "Guitarist Gets Probation in Child Pornography". Los Angeles Times. October 16, 1998.
  12. ^ "Brett Tuggle Q&A Session, September 2000". Fleetwoodmac.net. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  13. ^ "Rig Rundown - Waddy Wachtel". YouTube. 2017-02-14. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  14. ^ "Rig Rundown - Waddy Wachtel". premiereguitar.com. 2017-02-08. Retrieved 2019-02-05.
  15. ^ "Gibson Custom: Collector's Choice™ #14 1960 Les Paul "Waddy Wachtel"". Gibson.com. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  16. ^ https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/waddy-wachtel-reflects-on-working-with-warren-zevon-keith-richards-20130724
  17. ^ http://waddywachtelinfo.com/WaddyWachtelBand.html
  18. ^ http://waddywachtelinfo.com/SpecialGuestsPage1.html

External links

After Dark (Cruzados album)

After Dark is the second and last album by Los Angeles chicano rock band Cruzados, released in 1987. This album is lesser known to its 1985 preceder, as is the line-up for the band, which features guitarist Marshall Rohner in the place of Steven Hufsteter. The album featured fewer elements of blues, and featured more acoustic songs ("Small Town Love", "Time for Waiting") and even experimented with pop-rock ("I Want Your World to Turn") and folk rock ("Road of Truth"). The album's songwriting was also mainly done by rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist Tito Larriva, with help from bassist Tony Marsico on a few songs.

A year after the album was released, the band split up.

Besto Mondo

Besto Mondo is a compilation album by Australian rock band Mondo Rock, released in August 2015 by Aztec Music. The album includes remastered versions of the band's hits. Upon release, band member Ross Wilson said "We start the compilation with "Come Said the Boy" of course, because that's become our biggest perennial, but you can play this record all the way through and it holds your attention. You hear one song and then another one comes along and grabs you, rather than it sounds the same, so I've tried to programme it so it flows really well." The album was promoted with a national Besto Mondo tour. In an interview with Weekend Notes, band member Paul Christie said "We toured in 2014 for the first time in 24 years, with the original line up and played to sold out shows around the country to rave reviews. We are getting a whole new generation of fans coming to the concerts and having that same emotional connection, largely due to the Mondo Rock songs being constantly played on the radio."

Crystal Visions – The Very Best of Stevie Nicks

Crystal Visions... The Very Best of Stevie Nicks is a compilation album released by the American singer-songwriter and Fleetwood Mac vocalist Stevie Nicks. It features songs from her solo career, as well as her career with Fleetwood Mac. It includes her hit singles, a dance remix, and one new track, a live version of Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll". Three singles were culled from the album: "Rock and Roll", "Landslide", and a remixed version of "Stand Back". There are two versions of this album, one with just the audio CD and another version with an included DVD featuring all of Nicks' music videos with audio commentary from Nicks, as well as rare footage from the Bella Donna recording sessions. The album debuted and peaked at #21 in the US selling 33,944 copies in its first week. The album spent a total of 12 weeks on the Billboard 200 chart, and had sold 505,000 copies as of April 2014. The album is certified gold in Australia and Silver in the UK.

The title refers to a lyric from "Dreams".

Excitable Boy

Excitable Boy is the third studio album by American musician Warren Zevon. The album was released on January 18, 1978, by Asylum Records. It includes the single "Werewolves of London", which reached No. 21 and remained in the American Top 40 for six weeks. The album brought Zevon to commercial attention and remains the best-selling album of his career. A remastered and expanded edition was released in 2007.

Love Has Come for You

Love Has Come for You is a 2013 bluegrass music CD featuring a 13 song collaboration of original songs by Steve Martin (music) and Edie Brickell (lyrics). The album cover art is a painting entitled "After Dinner Drinks" (2008) by Martin Mull; the original work is in Steve Martin's personal art collection. Produced by Peter Asher, the album features musical appearances by Esperanza Spalding, Sara Watkins, Waddy Wachtel and others. The record also features all five members of Steep Canyon Rangers who would back Martin and Brickell for the duration of the tour following the record release.

Main Offender

Main Offender is the second studio album by Keith Richards, released in 1992 between the Rolling Stones' Steel Wheels and Voodoo Lounge projects.

Richards teamed with Talk Is Cheap collaborator Steve Jordan and added Waddy Wachtel to the mix both in composing and producing Main Offender. Sessions with Richards' group of musician friends known as "The X-Pensive Winos" took place in California and New York City from March to September 1992, with touring in Europe's autumn and early 1993 in North America.

When Richards reunited with Mick Jagger (who recorded Wandering Spirit while Richards was making Main Offender) in mid-1993 to start work on Voodoo Lounge, Jagger complimented him on Main Offender, and used the single "Wicked as It Seems" as inspiration for The Rolling Stones' next single, "Love Is Strong".

Main Offender was released in October 1992 to generally positive reviews. However, it failed to match the commercial success of Talk Is Cheap, reaching No. 45 in the UK, and No. 99 in the US. After the Main Offender tour, Richards returned to recording exclusively with the Rolling Stones and put his solo career on hold for the next 23 years, when he would record Crosseyed Heart.

Mr. Bad Example

Mr. Bad Example is the eighth studio album by American singer-songwriter Warren Zevon. The album was released on October 15, 1991.

Pawnshop Guitars (album)

Pawnshop Guitars is the debut solo album by the former Guns N' Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke, released in 1994 via Virgin Records. The album was produced by session guitarist Waddy Wachtel, and along with all the then-current or former members of Guns N' Roses, it features contributions from Pixies vocalist Frank Black, guitarist Ryan Roxie and then-Skid Row drummer Rob Affuso among others.

Rockin' My Life Away

Rockin' My Life Away is the tenth studio album released by George Thorogood and the Destroyers. It was released in 1997 on Capitol Records. The album peaked at #5 on the Billboard Top Blues Album chart.

Starfish (album)

Starfish is the fifth album by the Australian rock band The Church, released in February 1988. The band's breakthrough album, Starfish went gold in America and has remained their most commercially successful release. The album sold 600,000 copies in the United States alone. The first single, "Under the Milky Way", charted well in the American Top 40, peaking at No. 24 and No. 2 on Mainstream Rock Tracks, leading to significant exposure of the then relatively underground Australian act. In Australia "Under the Milky Way" climbed to No. 5, and Starfish reached No. 7 on the album charts, the band's highest positions ever in their home market.

Sweet Harmony (album)

Sweet Harmony is a third solo studio album by Maria Muldaur. It was released in 1976 on the Reprise label. The album was produced by Joe Boyd and Lenny Waronker. It features J. J. Cale and Waddy Wachtel on guitar, Earl Palmer on drums and others.

The Bride Stripped Bare (album)

The Bride Stripped Bare is a 1978 solo album by Bryan Ferry and is his fifth album released independent of Roxy Music. It was recorded after his girlfriend Jerry Hall left him for Mick Jagger in 1977, and appears to contain references to their break-up. The album peaked at number 13 on the albums chart in the United Kingdom. Although critically acclaimed, the album didn't achieve the success it was expected as it was released in the peak of punk rock.The album's title is taken from the Marcel Duchamp artwork The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even. Ferry had been introduced to the work as an art school student by Richard Hamilton. A subtext of Duchamp's piece is masculine and feminine relationships.

The Envoy

The Envoy is the fifth studio album by American singer-songwriter Warren Zevon. The album was released on July 16, 1982, by Asylum Records. The album's lack of commercial success caused Zevon's label to terminate his recording contract, a fact that Zevon discovered only after reading about it in Rolling Stone. In reaction, Zevon went on a self-destructive binge that nearly killed him, followed by a rehab stint that kept Zevon clean and sober for the rest of his life.The title track was inspired by veteran American diplomat Philip Habib's shuttle diplomacy during Israel's Lebanon incursion of 1982.

Zevon later said of the album's lack of success, "I would start a record more or less as soon as I'd finished the one previous to it, and they took longer, cost more and more, and actually did sort of less and less well. Particularly The Envoy. I was a little discouraged after that."

The Soundstage Sessions

The Soundstage Sessions is the tenth album released by American singer-songwriter and Fleetwood Mac vocalist Stevie Nicks. Although it is the first live album of Nicks's solo career, it was produced to sound like a studio album.


Wachtel is a surname of German origin, meaning quail. Notable people with this surname include:

Arthur Wachtel (1904–1997), New York politician and judge

Christine Wachtel (born 1965), German track and field athlete

Eleanor Wachtel (born 1947), Canadian writer and broadcaster

Emily Wachtel, American actress and writer, niece of Waddy Wachtel

Marion Wachtel (1873/1877–1954), American painter

Waddy Wachtel (born 1947), American musician

We Ran

We Ran is a 1998 rock album by American singer, songwriter, and producer Linda Ronstadt. The disc featured back-up from Tom Petty's band, The Heartbreakers. It lasted two weeks on the Billboard albums chart, peaking at #160. Despite positive reviews, this release was a commercial failure for Ronstadt with U.S. sales of 57,897 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan.

This disc was taken out of print in 2009.

Ronstadt interprets a mixture of rock song material by various songwriters, including Bruce Springsteen, John Hiatt, Doc Pomus and Bob Dylan.

Why Fight It?

Why Fight It? is the sixth and final studio album by Australian rock band Mondo Rock, released in December 1990. The album includes former Beach Boys drummer Ricky Fataar and American guitarist Waddy Wachtel.

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