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Richie Kotzen

Interview with Richie Kotzen from Richie Kotzen
by Yiannis Doukas at 25 November 2007, 12:49 PM

When you have the songwriting and guitar playing talent of Richie Kotzen, you wish for more time to make your own music. After working on a number of projects Richie returns with his next studio album and talks to Metal Temple about his Return Of The Mother Head's Family Reunion CD.

Richie, hello from Metal Temple magazine and congratulations on your new album!

Thanks! I’ve been on the road for a while. Touring South America and Italy. It’s nice to meet you.

First of all, what is the …Mother Head’s Family… title about?

I did a CD back in 1994 called Mother Heads Family Reunion. Back then I thought the CD had a real late 60’s early 70’s vibe… I was influenced by bands like CREAM, THE WHO and the HENDRIX EXPERIENCE. I decided to use that name because it reminded me of those old band posters that I used to see pictures of when I was a kid.

Under what requirements did you choose the musicians for your album? Did you have something in specific – regarding who you’d like to work with - while composing melodies for Return Of The Mother Head’s Family Reunion?

I have already worked with Franklin (Vanderbilt) and Arlan (Schierbaum) before.  I knew they would add something special to my music. I met Virgil (McKoy) while visiting family in Pennsylvania.  I’m totally satisfied with what those guys brought to the record. I did guide them but they took my ideas and brought them to another level.

Did you have full forms of songs when you started rehearsing, or there were just song ’spines’ that needed to be further ’shaped’?

Usually I have all my material written before I go into the studio. But sometimes I have the general idea and go on and record it and finish writing it later. I prefer to have the song written. If I can sit down and play it at the piano or on a guitar by myself and like it then I know I’m ready to record it

How did you come up with the idea to put your daughter, August Kotzen, in the studio to sing some of the backing vocals? Do you see a singing future in her?

Well…she made a joke…she said you need me on your record to make it really great. I said OK…so I gave her some harmonies to sing and that was that. I think she is a natural!

What guitars did you use in Return Of The Mother Head’s Family Reunion album?

I have 2 signature model guitars with Fender, one Strat and one Tele. I go back and forth from Strat to Tele depending on my mood. Live I’ve been using the Strat. I go through phases…sometimes it’s the Tele for a few years, then it’s the Strat for a few…I’ve been doing the Strat thing now since last year…maybe I’ll switch to Teles next year..who knows…

In general, you prefer a Fender Stratocatser or Telecaster model?

Right… both of them… equally… depends on my mood or what tone I want.

Many people say a good gear is used to expose a mediocre guitarist? Have you ever thought of this aspect (not for you, of course!!!)?

I understand that, it makes sense…the gear is not your sound, the sound comes from your hands, not the gear.. that is what so many young players do not understand.

Is there going to be a tour, in support of the Return Of The Mother Head’s Family Reunion album? Or you are instantly going to build up another project?

I’ve been touring…I did South America already…just finished Italy. Then I’m back in Europe for March. Hopefully, I will do 50 shows next year in Europe…

You have participations and credits in a great number of projects and bands, so far. Can you recall your favorite moment(s)? I already have a clue (laughs)!

My favorite moments are doing my own CDs and tours for sure. The ’band’ thing is OK but there is nothing like doing your own thing. I love it.

Really, what was it like to work with POISON in such a young age? What was your gain, in terms of experience?

Well. It was so long ago. I don’t really think about it too much. It was cool to have done it but honestly it feels like so long ago…like it was someone else.

Is it true that you started to learn guitar because of KISS? I can remember reading something like this years ago in the Press.

I saw a poster of Gene Simmons…that made me want to play in a rock band…I thought he looked cool. I wanted to be like that guy!

Richie, thanks a lot for your precious time. Really wish you all the best in the future!

Thank you too!!!


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