Get this crazy baby off my head!


Richie Kotzen

Richie Kotzen - What Is... - 1998 - Spitfire Records

This 1998 release sees Kotzen eschew the more histrionic aspects of parts of his career pretty much completely and sallying forth with this rather lovely audio companion. The songs and the musical performances are quite understated with the man himself crooning ever so smoothly within the confines of his range, nothing strained, nothing forced. In terms of specifics it is hard to break the album down into its components as the songs are so well suited to each other and the album flows so well it is hard to separate the tunes. Most of the numbers were written by Kotzen by himself though there are some co-writes and a cover tune. Kotzen took care of the production chores so extra respect for that however it must be said given the minimalist nature of many of the songs - Lose Again being a good example - it would be hard to screw up the sound values. The booklet in my copy came with full credits and lyrics (in both English and Japanese). Speaking of lyrics the sentiments here are pretty generalist rock 'n' roll stuff. Sometimes downcast on songs such as the aforementioned Lose Again and upbeat on the far more lively Cross the Line. Of course I don't want to leave this review without making one point clear - Kotzen came to attention due to his guitar playing. I would not want the 'shred' guys to not buy this album thinking there was nothing here for them. While on one level there isn't, I still think they would be well served to pick up this album to have a look at what can be achieved in a different direction by a rock guitarist who chooses to do something different in the same way that Marty Friedmans Scenes is also a good pick up for the guitar aficionado. A very good album to throw on in the background and in mixed company. – from ****/5 “A lovely companion” June 14, 2013 By & © Paul Lawrence © 1996-2013, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates http://www.amazon.com/What-Is-Richie-Kotzen/dp/B00004TBXN/ref=ntt_mus_ep_dpi_15

Former Vertú, Poison and Mr. Big guitarist, Richie Kotzen has been influenced by such bands as Bad Company, Free, early Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Cream as well as the more fusion oriented artists like Allan Holdsworth. They are the inspiration for his songs, but having deep Philly roots, Richie tends to combine jazz, rock, blues rock and fusion with the Motown soul and R&B influences he heard as a kid. Although Richie is rated as one of the world’s most talented guitarists and is an unbelievable shredder, this album is not strictly a guitar oriented album. The guitar work on this album is superb, but there are plenty more Richie Kotzen albums where you can listen to some of his more fusion based, incredible solo work. Nevertheless, the guy is also a good vocalist and composer. If you are not familiar with this great and underrated guitarist, this album serves as a good example of the man’s great all-round talent and diversity. Listen to Richie’s great “Fever Dream” album [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 107 Mb]


1 What Is 4:17
2 Too Deep 4:24
3 You Got A Fire 4:05
4 Locked Out 5:53
5 You Don’t Owe Me 3:12
6 Angie 5:24
7 Open Your Eyes 3:24
8 Strength 4:57
9 Lose Again 2:47
10 Cross The Line 3:11
11 I'm Losing You 6:34

All tracks composed by Richie Kotzen except Track 4 by Richie Kotzen, Billy Sheehan, & Pat Torpey: Track 9 by Richie Kotzen & Eric Hughes: Track 11 by Cornelius Grant, Eddie Holland, & Norman Whitfield


Richie Kotzen - Guitar, Bass, Mandolin, Wurlitzer Piano, Piano, Hammond B3 and Whirly Solos (on "I'm Losing You"), Hammond B3 (on "Open Your Eyes"), Additional Keyboards, Drums (on "Strength"), Lead Vocals, Background Vocals
Troy Lush - Bass, Percussion, Additional Background Vocals (on "Open Your Eyes")
Richie Zito - Bass, Keyboards (on "You Don’t Owe Me")
Billy Sheehan - Bass (on "Locked Out")
Arlan Schierbaum - Hammond B3, Wurlitzer Piano (on "Too Deep" & "Cross The Line")
Pat Torpey - Drums (on "Locked Out")
Matt Luneau - Drums, Harmony Vocals (on "Too Deep")


Born in Reading, Pennsylvania on February 3, 1970, Richie Kotzen was soon taken by music and first began playing piano at the age of five. At the age of seven he was inspired by New York City band KISS to learn the electric guitar. Relentlessly developing chops and his own unique voice on the guitar, Kotzen was eventually discovered by Shrapnel Records’ Mike Varney, and he recorded his first album by the age of 18. During that same year, he also graced the cover of several publications including Guitar World Magazine. He created the video Rock Chops for REH video in 1989, highlighting many of his formative techniques, including using wide-intervals and fluid sweeping. In 1993, Kotzen made his big break when he joined the rock band Poison at age 20, co-writing and performing on the album Native Tongue. This album produced two top twenty singles which Richie wrote, Stand and Until You Suffer Some. Kotzen was subsequently fired from the band when it was discovered that he had been romantically involved with Deanna Eve, the ex-fiance of Poison drummer Rikki Rockett. Kotzen and Eve later married and divorced. In 1999 Kotzen replaced Paul Gilbert as guitarist in the mainstream rock band Mr. Big. Kotzen maintained the band’s enormous success, performing on the Mr. Big record Get Over It, which sold more than 1,975,000 copies in its first two weeks in Japan, eventually reaching platinum status. Kotzen also contributed guitars to Mr. Big’s subsequent release Actual Size. The record included the Kotzen song Shine, which debuted at number one on Japanese radio charts. Following the disbanding of Mr. Big, Kotzen released the solo album Change, in 2003. The title track, and the song Get A Life were featured in TV commercials throughout Japan. In mid 2002 Kotzen established a recording Studio/Production company in Los Angeles, California. He has since been producing acclaimed solo albums and collaborating with various figures in rock, jazz, and fusion. He now has formed a band called Forty Deuce which recently released a new album entitled Nothing to Lose. Richie has a unique style, which he has described as a mix of rock, jazz fusion, and soul music. Of his albums, he claims he is most proud of Vertu. Kotzen utilizes a heavy amount of legato playing into his solos. Richie is now living in Los Angeles, California. Besides playing the guitar, his hobbies include exercise and sports, especially basketball. Richie has said that if he had’nt become a professional musician, he would have liked to play professional basketball. In 2008, Kotzen released his first official live album, “Live In São Paulo”, which featured Johnny Griparic on bass and Pat Torpey on Drums. © ArtistWiki.com 2009 - 2013 - All Rights Reserved

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