RICHIE KOTZEN On New Album With IRON MAIDEN’s ADRIAN SMITH – “Classic Rock, But A Little On The Heavier Side”
March 16, 2021, 2 years ago
Jimmy Kay from Canada’s The Metal Voice recently spoke to Richie Kotzen (Mr. Big, Poison, The Winery Dogs), who is promoting the debut album from his collaborative project with Iron Maiden's Adrian Smith. Smith/Kotzen, will release their self-titled debut album on March 26 2021 via BMG.
On how the two met and the idea of them to work together:
"I met Natalie, his wife first, and that's how I met Adrian. We were out one night meeting a friend and my friend's talking to her and said I play guitar and then she said her husband played the guitar in a band. Then she (Natalie) said he was Adrian Smith in Iron Maiden and I got all excited cause I'm a huge Maiden fan. That was one of my first concerts when I was a kid. I saw them in Pennsylvania on the Piece Of Mind tour. Natalie and Adrian would have these holiday parties in L.A. not too far from where I live and we would have these get-togethers and there was a room where guitars were and the amps and it would turn into a jam session. In one of the most recent times Natalie said, ‘you and Adrian should try and write something together.’ We got together, one thing led to another and we thought let's go make a record."
On the album’s musical direction:
"It reminds me of one of those classic rock albums I would have had back in the day. I would be playing my Ozzy record and my Scorpions record then pop this on. It kind of brings me back to an era when people made records and actually played real instruments and guitar driven rock albums. Classic rock but a little on the heavier side and blues driven. "
On playing Iron Maiden tunes during live shows:
"That's a good question and something we have to think about cause we only have nine songs on the album. I would imagine we would play the entire album, maybe add in one or two covers. Then maybe we do one of Adrian's songs from Maiden, maybe pick one of my songs from one of my records? It is something we got to think about."
“Running” is the third single to be taken from the eagerly anticipated debut album Smith/Kotzen by Adrian Smith and Richie Kotzen. The track is released globally via BMG. Watch a lyric video below.
Adrian says of the song, “It’s a really cool sort of driving track, one of the heavier ones on the album and we’re excited to get it out there ahead of the album release. We’ve both been thrilled by the reaction to our music so far and are very much looking forward to meeting up again as soon as we can, to write some more songs together.”
Richie adds, “'Running' was the first song Adrian and I worked on. Adrian came in with that heavy verse riff which lead me to conjuring up what lives as our chorus to the composition. Running is surely one of my top three favorites on the Smith/Kotzen album and I really look forward to playing this one live”.
'As well as the duo co-writing, co-producing and sharing guitars and vocals, Richie also plays bass and drums on the track.
With the two previous singles “Taking My Chances” and “Scars” having been enthusiastically welcomed by fans and media alike, “Running” is the perfect final choice ahead of the eponymous album release on March 26 to showcase the astonishing breadth of talent and musical diversity between this unique pairing of two of rock’s most respected artists.
Recorded on the Turks & Caicos Islands in February 2020, produced by Richie and Adrian and mixed by Kevin “Caveman” Shirley, this nine track opus is a consummate collaboration between these two highly respected musicians who co-wrote all the songs and also share lead vocals and trade off on guitar and bass duties throughout the record.
Exploding with powerful melodies & harmonies, the album embodies the spirited attitude of 70’s classic rock with a melting-pot of influences ranging from blues, hard rock, traditional R&B and more, blending the pair’s backgrounds and life experiences to result in a thoroughly contemporary sound.
The record features special guest performances by Adrian’s fellow Iron Maiden bandmate Nicko McBrain on drums for the track “Solar Fire”, and Richie’s longstanding friend and touring partner Tal Bergman on drums for “You Don’t Know Me”, “I Wanna Stay” and “‘Til Tomorrow”, with Richie picking up the sticks on the other five songs.
Adrian comments: “Richie and I started working together a couple of years ago. We’d been jamming as we’d been friends for a few years before that. We both share a love for classic rock and bluesy rock so we decided to get together and start writing some songs and it went from there. Pretty much everything on the album is handled between Richie and myself including the production. We had developed a really strong idea of how we wanted it to sound and I’m very pleased with how it turned out. There’s a lot of cool songs on there that we are really happy with.”
Richie adds: “We had a very fluid process in writing. Sometimes Adrian would send me a riff and I would immediately hear some kind of melody or a vocal idea. And sometimes it was the other way round so it was a kind of circular motion. We’d get together whenever we could and throw some ideas around and it just evolved, which was great because there was no pressure and nothing other than just a natural course and I think the record really speaks for that.”
The album will be available in these formats:
- Digipack CD
- 12” black vinyl with embossed sleeve
- Digital (streaming and download)
- Limited edition 12” red & black smoke effect colored vinyl
Pre-orders can be placed now at this location.
"Taking My Chances"
"You Don’t Know Me"
"I Wanna Stay"
“Taking My Chances” video: