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About Steve Wagner

AUTHOR, EDUCATOR, FILM CRITIC, MUSICIAN

Biography

Steve’s background spans the worlds of literature, theology, mythology, music, fine art, and film. 

Raised in St. Louis, Missouri, he attended Webster University majoring in Literature and Comparative Religion. An accomplished musician and songwriter, Steve spent the next 10 years performing with The Backsliders, a touring rock band based in Lawrence, Kansas. 

He relocated to San Francisco to be the executive producer, writer, and co-host of the Bay Area television programs Reel Life and Filmtrip, reviewing over one thousand films and interviewing over three hundred actors, directors, writers, and musicians, including: Leonardo DiCaprio, Robin Williams, Jeff Bridges, Renee Zellweger, Gary Oldman, The Coen Bros., Ang Lee, Richard Linklater, James Cameron, Rob Reiner, Jon Stewart, and Stevie Nicks.

He later became a fine art dealer and a director of the San Francisco Art
Exchange, a premier gallery worldwide specializing in music photography,
celebrity collectables, and original album cover artworks, representing notable artists and photographers such as Ron Wood, Storm Thorgerson, Roger Dean, Stanley Mouse, Klaus Voorman, Astrid Kircherr, Jim Marshall, Gered Mankowitz, Ethan Russell, Karl Ferris, Mick Rock, Patti Boyd, Robert Altman, Jerry Schatzberg, and Terry O’Neill, among many others. Steve has brokered sales of many of the world’s most famous album cover original artworks, paintings, and photographs, including: Hipgnosis’s Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, and Lamb Lies Down on Broadway; Michael Cooper’s Sgt. Pepper photography; Iain MacMillan’s Abbey Road photography, and Robert Freeman’s Beatles album cover photography (With the Beatles, Beatles for Sale, Rubber Soul). During those years, he personally sold more original Abbey Road photography than anyone else in the world.

He began researching and documenting for the book that would become All You Need is Myth over 10 years ago, delivering lectures on the topic at events such as  the Popular Culture Association convention in Seattle and the Global Sound Conference in Los Angeles. His documentary film All You Need is Myth, based on the book and lecture content, premiered at the Sacramento Film Festival in 2014, kicked off the (first film) inaugural Visionary Film Festival in Venice, CA in 2015, and won the Evolution Award at the Conscious Life Expo in Los Angeles in 2014.

Steve’s audiences range from Beatles fanatics and music lovers to students of myth and mysticism to entertainers and entrepreneurs. 

About the book, he says, “People think that mythology is an ancient thing. It’s actually extremely current and extremely relevant. It impacts how we see ourselves and our world. It informs our beliefs and how we make choices about our own lives and community and global policy. Myth is actually a map to how humans express themselves and relate to their world, and never was this more palpable and pertinent than during the classic rock era, when The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, and other rock gods brought our mythic archetypes to life in exhilarating and unforgettable fashion.”

 

 

On the road to writing All You Need is Myth Steve has had the opportunity to meet, interview, and work with some amazing musicians, actors, filmmakers, photographers, writers, and artists. Here are a few highlights from the journey.

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About the Book

What if myth wasn’t just ancient stories with no relevance to our modern world but was actually a way to understand the human experience, our longings and projections, our religions and collective beliefs?

And what if The Beatles and their contemporaries were “myth made manifest,” archetypes as ancient as our imagination come to life? 

If you can imagine these statements being true, or if you’re curious enough to explore the possibility, this book was written for you. Peppered with intriguing and little-known back stories and insightful observations about the musicians
who held “Rock God” status during the golden age of rock music, All You Need is Myth is far more than a history. It’s a timely philosophical conversation about ancient concepts that continue to reverberate in the modern age of mass media and global communication.

Author Steve Wagner proposes that the Beatles and the iconic stars of the classic rock era function as modern forms of classical archetypes familiar in mythologies and religious traditions throughout history. The book establishes a persuasive argument that these “Rock Gods” have not only achieved the status of mythic deities but were chosen and nurtured for these roles by the culture itself because of their inherent resonance with archetypal characters, narratives, and symbolism.

Wagner’s thoughtful inquiry makes original contributions to the field of mythology as it is understood in the modern day. Inspiring the reader to see artistic expression and modern culture through a mythic lens furthers the modern spiritual dialog and deepens our understanding of how mythic transmissions both emerge from and shape our collective consciousness.

All you need is myth … because it’s your story too.

Years of Research

Ancient Archetypes Represented

Centuries Covered

Thought Leaders Quoted

Substantive Works Cited

Original Illustrations

Featured In

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Steve is a riveting and eloquent speaker who brings passion and depth to this compelling topic.

The book and Steve’s presentation deliver an understanding of the timeless myths at the root of nearly all religions and how similar elements help explain the hero worship and obsessive devotion to not just the Fab Four but other rock icons such as Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, the Rolling Stones, Joni Mitchell, and the Who, among many others.

I’m excited about having him speak to my songwriting students next semester!

Kevin Renick, Singer/Songwriter (composer of the theme song to Jason Reitman’s Oscar-nominated Up in the Air); Educator–St. Louis Community College

Book Steve to Speak

For Rock Fans and Myth Lovers

Revealing the Hidden Keys to the Soundtrack of Our Times

The Beatles backstory was actually thousands of years in the making. And fans of The Beatles and the other
“Gods” of the Golden Era of Rock and Roll  may not suspect that there is a deeper meaning to the “worship” of these icons.

This multimedia presentation embeds Steve Wagner’s fascinating research seamlessly into rare images and video segments of The Beatles, John and Yoko, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, and more.

For audiences interested in the cultural, artistic, mythic, and historical aspect of All You Need is Myth this is a captivating experience suited for large theaters and small groups alike.

For students of modern culture, myth, and rock music history

Myth - The Blueprint of the Human Experience

Whether viewing the phenomenon of The Beatles and the Gods of Rock through an academic lens or in search of deeper understanding this presentation challenges the audience to see myth and music in a whole new light. 

Impeccably researched and documented, grounded in intellectual and historical precedence, this multimedia presentation is also fascinating for serious students and the curious alike. 

Inspiring the audience to see artistic expression and modern culture through a mythic lens furthers the modern spiritual dialog and deepens our understanding of how mythic transmissions both emerge from and shape our collective consciousness.

For Business Leaders and entertainers

We're All Celebrities Now: What the Gods of Rock Teach Us About Archetypes and Personal Brands

The Beatles were the apex of celebrity status. They and the other “Rock Gods” literally achieved the status of mythic deities in the hearts and minds of their millions of fans who still pour millions of dollars into owning the music and memorabilia of the icons they adored.

This highly produced multimedia presentation serves up clues to this cultural phenomenon that have heretofore only been vaguely acknowledged: our ongoing collective creation of mythic stories still informs both the personal and social psyche.

These ancient concepts continue to reverberate in the modern age of mass media and global communication and the archetypes that have resonated with people for thousands of years have lost none of their appeal.

While not every personal brand will inspire a “Rock God” level of fanaticism, there is an inarguable and universal truth behind those celebrities who do. Your audience will be introduced to these ancient archetypes and invited to explore how they can capture elements of myth in their own brand to inspire and grow their following and fan base.

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