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Stephen John Hunter, sometimes called "The Deacon", born June 14, 1948, in Decatur, Illinois, is an American guitarist best known for his collaborations with Lou Reed and Alice Cooper. He first played with Mitch Ryder's Detroit, beginning a long association with record producer Bob Ezrin. Hunter suffers from pigmentary glaucoma, which has rendered him legally blind.
In the 1970s, he appeared on five Alice Cooper albums, all of which were produced by Ezrin. His first recording with Alice Cooper was in 1973 as a session musician on the second to last and most successful album recorded by the Alice Cooper group, Billion Dollar Babies. When Alice Cooper became a solo artist, Hunter followed and appeared on the 1975 groundbreaking album and live show Welcome to My Nightmare alongside guitarist Dick Wagner, with whom Hunter had already formed a formidable guitar team, as can be heard on the Lou Reed live album Rock 'n' Roll Animal and further demonstrated on the film Welcome To My Nightmare. This was released on home video in 1976 and featured the celebrated guitar battle between Hunter and Wagner that formed part of the Alice Cooper 1975 live show. He played on Peter Gabriel's self-titled first solo album (1977) that included the classic single ‘Solsbury Hill’ which was likewise produced by Ezrin. His first solo album, 1977's critically acclaimed Swept Away, was also produced by Ezrin.
His first collaboration with Lou Reed was for the Berlin album. He also played in the band captured on Reed's live albums, the aforementioned Rock 'n' Roll Animal and Lou Reed Live, including the "Intro" to "Sweet Jane", which was composed by Hunter, who plays the solo up to Lou walking on stage. In 2006, Reed and Hunter presented a new live version of Berlin, released in 2008 as a DVD and CD Berlin: Live at St. Ann's Warehouse.
Shortly after his work with the band on the live Reed albums, Hunter played guitar on former Cream bassist Jack Bruce's solo album Out of the Storm in 1974. Also in '74 he played the (uncredited) opening-half solo on Aerosmith's "Train Kept A Rollin" from Get Your Wings. Other artists Hunter has worked with include David Lee Roth (in the mid-1990s), Julian Lennon, Dr John, Tracy Chapman and more recently Glen Campbell and 2Cellos. He also contributed music to and is featured on the soundtrack of the film The Rose, starring Bette Midler. He wrote ‘Camelia’ which is featured on the soundtrack of the film The Rose, starring Bette Midler and performed as part of the backing band. Additionally, he appears in the film Blame it on the Night, a movie co-written by Mick Jagger, featured as one of the guitarists in the band.
Hunter worked on the basic tracks and solos for Alice Cooper's Welcome 2 My Nightmare in 2010 then toured with Alice Cooper throughout 2011, but opted to leave Cooper's touring band in 2012 to concentrate on solo projects.
His 5th solo album The Manhattan Blues Project was released on April 30, 2013, and features contributions from Joe Satriani, Tony Levin, Johnny Depp, Joe Perry, Marty Friedman, Michael Lee Firkins, Phil Aaberg, 2Cellos and Tommy Henriksen, with background vocals provided by Karen Ann Hunter.
There is a DVD and CD in production due for release in 2014, filmed in LA with Hunter, bass player Tony Levin, pianist Phil Aaberg and drummer Alvino Bennett.