Michael Wagener (born April 25, 1949) is a music producer, mixer, and engineer from Hamburg, Germany, best known for his work with many top hard rock and heavy metal bands in the late 1980s. He is particularly renowned for his innovative multi-amping and reamping techniques, which allow him to shape complex, yet highly recognizable guitar sounds. Wagener's works have sold over ninety-four million albums worldwide.
Wagener was the original guitarist for the German band Accept. When he turned 18, he was drafted into the German army and was stationed 350 miles away from home. This made it difficult for him to practice with the rest of the band and hence he quit the band. After completing his military service, Wagener began working as an audio engineer in Hamburg in 1972. Through a friendship with singer Don Dokken, Wagener moved to Los Angeles. In 1981 he produced the first Dokken album, and would go on to produce such seminal albums as Skid Row's self-titled debut, which sold five million copies in the US alone. Wagener also mixed Metallica's 1986 classic Master of Puppets. He also engineered the single version of Janet Jackson's "Black Cat," his only pop collaboration.
Wagener has produced or mixed platinum selling albums by Mötley Crüe, W.A.S.P., Overkill, Accept, Great White, Stryper, Poison, Keel, Alice Cooper, Extreme, Megadeth, Janet Jackson, Ozzy Osbourne, Dokken, Metallica, White Lion, and Skid Row.
Wagener believes that "psychology is a big part of getting great results out of musicians." He also argues that the work of a real producer is sometimes undermined or ignored by some bands who feel they can produce their albums on their own once they work with a producer. Comments Wagener:
Some [bands] are very open minded and you can make suggestions about musical changes or ideas and they will pick it up and make it their own. Others don't want a lot of ouside influences, because they are scared it would take away from their creativity or credit. In those cases, if you want to achieve a certain result, you have to plant a "creative seed" which, in a few days will turn into the result you are looking for, but it still seems like it was all the idea of the musician him/herself. The downside, of course is, that the musician looks at it as if he did ALL the work and the producer "didn't really do anything". The logical next step for those kind of musicians is to produce their next album themselves, their ego telling them they don't need a producer and, like in the above mentioned case, they might fall flat on their face, and come up with an album that doesn't sell anywhere near what the previous one did.
Michael Wagener's full production discography is available at his website
- Accept - Breaker (engineer)
- Accept - Balls to the Wall (mixer)
- Alice Cooper - Constrictor (engineer, mixer)
- Alice Cooper - Raise Your Fist and Yell (engineer, mixer)
- Bonfire - Fireworks (producer)
- Bonfire - Point Blank (producer, song writing)
- Dokken - Breaking the Chains (producer)
- Dokken - Tooth and Nail (mixing)
- Dokken - Under Lock and Key (producer)
- Extreme - Pornograffitti (producer)
- Great White - Great White (producer)
- Janet Jackson - "Black Cat" (Single Version) (engineer)
- Kane Roberts - Saints and Sinners (mixer)
- Keel - Keel (producer)
- King's X - Ogre Tones (producer)
- King's X - XV (producer)
- Lordi - Babez for Breakfast (2010) (producer, mixer)
- Lordi - To Beast or Not to Beast (2013) (producer, mixer)
- Megadeth - So Far, So Good...So What! (mixing)
- Metallica - Master of Puppets (mixing)
- Mötley Crüe - Too Fast for Love (mixing)
- Outrage - Life Until Deaf (producer)
- Outrage - Who We Are (producer)
- Overkill - Under the Influence (mixing)
- Ozzy Osbourne - No More Tears (mixing)
- Raven - All for One (producer)
- Sergeant Steel - Men On A Mission (mixing)
- Skid Row - Skid Row (producer, engineer, mixing)
- Skid Row - Slave to the Grind (producer, mixing)
- Smashed Gladys - Social Intercourse (mixing)
- Stryper - Soldiers Under Command (producer, engineer)
- Testament - Low (mixing)
- The Rasmus - Black Roses (mixing)
- White Lion - Pride (producer)
- White Lion - Big Game (producer)
- Jerusalem Slim - "Jerusalem Slim" (producer, engineer)
- Road to Evenmind - Diagnosis: Unsolved (mixing) Road To Evenmind Official Website
- Michael Wagener, interview in: Stefan Goldmann: "Presets - Digital Shortcuts to Sound", The Bookworm, London (UK), 2015, pp. 90-104. ISBN 978-1-874104-02-5
- "Double Trouble Productions, Inc". Michaelwagener.com. Retrieved 2010-10-15.
- "Metal Sludge - 20 Questions with Michael Wagener, 5/13/03 - The Power & Glory since 1998". Metalsludge.tv. 2003-05-13. Retrieved 2010-10-15.
- "MICHAEL WAGENER - The Metal Circus". The Metal Circus. Retrieved 2014-04-20.
- "Gear Sluts - Michael Wagener".
- "Gear Sluts - Michael Wagener".