Waddy’s career journey may be truly an inspirational story for many as he never gave up his dream despite anything. From a left-handed small boy, he turned out to be a legendary guitarist of the world.
Firstly being trained by an NBC staff orchestra’s head, Rudolph Schramm, he then went to teach music at Carnegie Hall. Though Schramm wanted him to take piano lessons but seeing Wachtel’s passion for guitar, he agreed to teach guitar three days a week about harmony, rhythm, and melody.
Shortly performing with local bands in New York, he formed his own band named The Orphan after performing with local bands in New York. After playing in Connecticut and New Hampshire, they settled into a regular bar band routine, playing in Newport, Rhode Island where Wachtel further honed his skills with Sal Salvador. Afterward, The Orphans disbanded and he formed another band named Twice Nicley. With Bud Cowsill’s suggestion, he took his band to Los Angeles in 1968 where they recorded a few demos. But two years later, Wachtel decided to collaborate with The Cowsills as a session player, recording and producing their albums.
His first break in the music business came in the early '70s, when he was hired by Everly Brothers’ music director, Warren Zevon, hired him as a guitarist. He played guitar on their 1972 album Stories We Could Tell and join them on their musical tour. Following that, he played with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham on their first release Buckingham Nicks and also on their tour. And when Buckingham and Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac, he played rhythm guitar on their another album Fleetwood Mac in 1975.
Moreover, Wachtel wrote songs and sang on Peter Asher’s album with Linda Ronstadt’s band members including musicians Dan Dugmore, Rick Marotta and Don Grolnick. The album titled after band’s name Ronin was released through a Mercury Records. Wachtel has worked in hundreds of albums within his decades-long journey in the music industry. Over the years, he got associated with several bands and artists including Bernard Fowler, Blondie Chaplin, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Keith Richards, Linda Ronstadt, Stevie Nicks and Warren Zevon to name a few.
Likewise, he collaborated with major record labels including Arista Records, Asylum Records, Columbia Records, EMI Records Virgin Records, Warner Bros. Records and Giant Records. He shares co-writing and guitar playing credits with Stevie Nicks’s few tracks including I Don’t Care and Annabel Lee.
Apart from music, Wachtel also made a cameo appearance in the film The Poseidon Adventure with his band. He has composed and played for many movies, not to be missed, an Oscar’s awarded short film Session Man in 1991.
Always garnered success in impressing everyone with whom he worked, the music legend cited as 'King of Sidemen' has also bagged good fortune in his career. His net worth value is estimated to be around $18 million.