One of the great Guitarist’s/Vocalist in Rock N Roll makes his Summit City debut on Nov-12th in Whitesburg,Ky.
Tickets on sale at Summit City by phone or www.summitcitylounge.com
When Richie Kotzen plays, you know it’s him. The guitar virtuoso, singer and songwriter possesses an inimitable style that’s both instantly recognizable and immediately striking. It also courses through The Essential Richie Kotzen, a career retrospective collection on Loud & Proud Records. The 2-CD and 1-DVD set encompasses this iconic talent’s entire career.
As soon as Kotzen picked up a guitar at seven-years-old, the instrument became an extension of him. Equally influenced by his mother’s Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin albums as well as his dad’s R&B collection of Stevie Wonder and Al Green, he started to write music that encompassed all of his inspirations.
“My roots paint a picture of where I’m coming from musically,” he affirms. “There’s some kind of hybrid in me of classic rock and old school soul. That’s where I drew from during my most formative years. I became obsessed with the guitar at that time. I never put it down. I’d fall asleep with it.”
After constant wood-shedding and gigging with local Pennsylvania area bands, Kotzen got his very first record deal with Shrapnel Records at 18-years-old and released his eponymous debut in 1989 which landed him the cover of Guitar World magazine. As his seminal albums Fever Dream andElectric Joybegan to stir up excitement amongst the guitar community, Kotzen reached a wider audience by moving to Los Angeles and signing with Interscope records in 1991. His song “Dream Of A New Day” was a featured track on the Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey soundtrack, among establish acts KISS, Faith No More and Primus. Kotzen continued to record solo albums throughout the 90’s for Geffen, JVC and Shrapnel Records. Based on Kotzen’s critical acclaim as a musician, in 1996 Fender Musical Instruments launched two signature model guitars bearing his name. His signature model Telecaster is available worldwide and has been a top seller. Proving his diversity as an artist, in 1999 he linked up with jazz legend Stanley Clarke, further expanding his own repertoire and technical arsenal.
As fans worldwide devoured his prolific solo output, Kotzen toured with his trio extensively outside the United States, building a loyal fan base and selling out shows throughout Europe, Latin America and Japan. In 2006 Kotzen received one of his biggest personal honors when The Rolling Stones chose him to open up a string of Japanese shows, placing him in front of some of his biggest crowds to date. Then, 2013 saw him join forces with Mike Portnoy [ex-Dream Theater, Adrenaline Mob] and Billy Sheehan [Steve Vai, David Lee Roth] to form the powerhouse trio The Winery Dogs. Their self-titled debut would go on to sell over 10,000 copies first week and debut at #27 on the Billboard Top 200.
Now, Kotzen personally curated The Essential Richie Kotzen from his 18 solo albums in order to give listeners the most comprehensive, cohesive, and concise introduction to his extensive body of work.
“I’ve really changed and grown as an artist and as a person,” he goes on. “I hand selected a bunch of songs so newcomers can get into my music and learn who I am as a recording artist.”
In addition to the requisite hits, acoustic performances, bootleg material and music videos, The Essential Richie Kotzen boasts two brand new songs “War Paint” and “Walk With Me.” “War Paint” builds from an opening bluesy riff into a bombastic chorus punctuated by Kotzen’s gravelly delivery and impeccable lead playing. He explains, “It was a challenge to make a studio recording sound like a live band with only one musician playing all the instruments. I think I accomplished that on this track.”
At the same time, “Walk With Me” sees Kotzen evolving once more and incorporating a Theremin, an antique electronic instrument, into an emotive and engaging anthem. “There was a specific sound I was hearing in the song,” he reveals. “I realized it was a Theremin, so I bought one. I spent a couple of weeks learning it. I used that where the lead guitar would normally go. It was a really rewarding departure for me.”
With his 20th full-length solo album on the horizon for 2015 and countless gigs, Richie Kotzen’s legacy is only continuing to expand. “When you perform, record or write, you go to a different place,” he concludes. “It’s another world. I love hearing people react to the music and lyrics. That’s the ultimate reward.”