Rich Dangel was and is one of the foremost guitar players living in Seattle, Washington. He ‘played’ his dues many times over. He joined his first band the fabulous Wailers in Tacoma, Washington in 1958. Mainly an instrumental group, Rich wrote his first hit with member John Greek called Tall Cool One. The song became an instant smash which led to his first album The Fabulous Wailers on Golden Crest Records, a New York based label. The band toured around the country appearing on the Dick Clark Show, American Bandstand in Philadelphia, the Allen Freed show in New York, and several east coast cities.
Still young and in high school the band returned home to Tacoma. Besides the Wailers, the only other rock’n’roll groups in the Northwest at that time were Little Bill & The Bluenotes, and a Seattle group called the Frantics.
In 1961 the Wailers released a single record titled Louie Louie sung by ‘Rockin’ Robin Roberts’ on the independent Etiquette Records label. Rich re-arranged the music into its now well known form, with Robin ad-libbing in the ‘yeh, yeh, yeh’ s, and “let’s give it to ’em right now”. His arrangement, his solo, and the song was copied by every rock’n’roll band in the world, eventually becoming known as ‘The National Anthem Of Rock’n’Roll. The Wailers were largely responsible for the famous teen dances every weekend drawing 2000 + dancers and party-goers to ballrooms named the Spanish Castle, Parkers, and the Crescent. Rich’s second Wailer’s album was The Fabulous Wailer’s At the Castle on the Etiquette label. Rich played with the popular Wailers until 1963.
He is still admired and revered as one of the most creative and innovative pioneers of rock’n’roll/blues guitar. Several upcoming guitar players at the time would attend his gigs including Jimi Hendrix. His peers and jammin’ pals were Larry Coryell and Joe Johansen (another outstanding northwest blues player). Rich went on to form a four piece group called the Rooks in 1964, performing with them for two years. In 1966/67 he traveled with a band named Time Machine throughout California and the west coast.
Back in Seattle in 1968, Rich and Joe Johansen formed the legendary Floating Bridge, a stunning combination featuring these two amazing guitar players.
They recorded an album titled The Floating Bridge released on a now defunct independent California label. The band broke up in the early ’70’s when Rich formed Sledgehammer, still another legendary group. During the late ’70’s he put together a group of outstanding musicians naming the band Rich Dangel & The Reputations.
They performed for several years through the ‘ 80’s featuring Rich and his guitar. Rich has played in several groups over the years, and in the cases of many musicians had tasted success and adoration, but he also tasted the other side, the hard times and setbacks, using drugs, alcohol or whatever to through it, or on to the next gig. Today Richard Dangel has left behind any bad habits that weighed him down, and with a reborn attitude towards health and life appreciates the fact that this is and has been his destiny, a guitar player. Rich’s friend, renowned guitarist Howard Roberts’ l ast years were spent in the Northwest, and playing together was an inspiration for Rich to compose a song titled “Hymn For Him”. This was only the beginning of rejuvenating his lust for creativity and writing lots of new songs. Over the years Rich has incorporated several influences and experiences into redefining his smooth style mixing jazz, blues, Rhythm & Blues, and his rock roots.