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.
Excepts from the interview
When asked how the two met and whose idea it was 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.”
When asked about the musical direction of the album
“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. “
When asked if Smith/Kotzen plays live will it include any Iron Maiden songs in the set list, since you have only one album
“That’s a good question and something we have to think about cause we only have 9 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. “
Smith/Kotzen 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.