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Guitarist Richie Kotzen had a stint with Poison before moving onto Mr Big, replacing Paul Gilbert in Mr Big. But it's Richie's solo work that is gaining him rave reviews and his new album, 'Get Up' (Frontiers) has been hailed as his most rocking yet!

1. What are you currently up to?

At this time I have released a new Richie Kotzen studio CD called Get Up.... it is my 13th solo record... I'm planning on doing a load of live shows off this CD... we are leaving for South America in 3 weeks then Japan, then Spain, England, Italy and so on...this is the first Richie Kotzen tour in quite some time

2. The new album, 'Get Up', has been getting good reviews. Could you take us through some personal song highlights on the album?

My favorite song on get up is remember. It gives me a chance to stretch out a bit on the guitar and vocally as well..... I think the title track get up is going to be a good one to play live..... Special has been getting a good response especially in Japan where they are playing it on the radio

3. How has your style of guitar playing changed/developed down the years?

Ive gotten more confident as a guitarist over the years... I have settled down a bit as well..... Being a singer actually makes it easier for me to play the guitar.... I don't rely on theory when I play I really am simply hearing melodies and just playing them even if they are faster than what I can actually sing

4. When you set out to record a new solo album do you have a particular musical style in mind or do you just record your best songs, regardless of what styles they are? Do record labels ever try to get you to write radio/single tracks?

In the past I would write all year long and record a song as soon as it was written... At the end of the year it would be time to put out a CD and I would pick the best songs.... The only problem with that is I would end up with a lot of songs that sounded like they should be on different records because the production was so specific to each song....

On 'Get Up' I waited until all the songs were written then i went in the studio and recorded everything at once.... That is why I think Get Up is a much stronger Richie Kotzen record than some of the Richie Kotzen records of the past. Get Up is a much more complete CD for me.... I think it is the most acurate and definitive Richie Kotzen CD.

5. Mr. Big - what was the highlight of your time in the band? Any chance of a Mr. Big reunion at some stage in the future? Would you ever consider joining a band again or are you happy to remain a solo artist?

As far as my highlight in Mr Big I think it was the first show we played in Japan.... It was 1999 countdown to 2000 in the Osaka Dome. That was my first show with Mr Big. We opened for Aerosmith to 40,000 people.... I knew Mr Big was famous in Japan but I didn't realize how famous. That was a fun show. No I don't think there will be a Mr Big reunion any time soon. As far as Richie Kotzen joining a band.... It depends on who calls me... I like working with other musicians as well as being on my own .... It's sort of a toss up

6. What have been the most memorable live shows for you and why?

Playing the jazz festivals in Europe with Stanley Clarke was memorable... We did a bunch of shows and some of them in Italy were in the court yards of these old castles... Very cool stuff.... My favorite live period was in 94 when I was on tour with Mother Heads family reunion.

We played a month in the mid west in the US and it was so much fun.... We were a very happy inspired band at that time... Everything was new and fresh....

7. Poison - What exactly happened around your leaving the band? Would you ever consider working with the band again?

Poison didn't want Richie Kotzen in the band anymore because he made them uncomfortable.

It is doubtful that Richie Kotzen will ever work with the band Poison again.

8. How easy/hard is it to get a tour together and are you finding it easier to get gigs now, than say a few years ago?

I think it is easier now to get things going... The internet brings every one closer together and communication internationally is much easier.... Therefore artists like myself can book shows overseas that in the past were more difficult to put together.

9. What do you do in your spare time outside of music?

I like to write songs or go in the studio and record... Go out drinking with my friends.... Bring strange girls back to my house and read poems to them.... Stuff like that.

10. Message to your fans?

I hope you like the new CD get up.... If you want to hear samples or buy a copy you can at

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Interview © 2004 Jason Ritchie/
Format and edit: The Music Index.

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