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Richie Kotzen

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Album Review

By the time of Richie Kotzen's debut album in 1989, Mike Varney's Shrapnel label was cranking out young guitar virtuosos like an assembly line; it seemed like each week, a fresh-faced teenaged prodigy would emerge from the Shrapnel stable with a self-titled debut, backed up by an all-star rhythm section. Pennsylvania's Richie Kotzen was one of these. With bassist Stu Hamm and ex-Journey drummer Steve Smith behind him, he added yet another all-instrumental shred guitar album to Shrapnel's catalog. But, fortunately, he avoided many of the clichés that plagued many of his contemporaries. Rather than attempting wide-screen neo-classical melodrama, his style here is offbeat and humorous; witness the hilarious stop/start dynamics of "Unsafe at Any Speed," with its cartoonish scherzos and ridiculously over-the-top blasts of rapid-fire guitar fills. Kotzen obviously owes a debt to Steve Vai here, but adds his own quirks to the formula. The production assistance of labelmate Jason Becker also helps to distinguish Richie Kotzen from the other predictable-sounding stuff on the Shrapnel label; the record is mixed bone-dry instead of reverb-drenched, which adds a more personal charm to the proceedings. Both Kotzen's chops and tone would improve greatly over the next year or so, but this is an interesting entry in the genre nonetheless.


Born: 03 February 1970 in Reading, PA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Guitar virtuoso Richie Kotzen burst onto the heavy metal scene as a teenager with a lightning-fast guitar technique. After recording three albums for the Shrapnel label -- including his 1989 self-titled debut, the following year's Fever Dream, and 1991's Electric Joy -- he was recruited into the party-metal group Poison to replace C.C. DeVille, who was forced out of the band due to his substance abuse problems. Kotzen recorded 1993's Native Tongue with the group, and the album showcased his shredding...
Full bio
Richie Kotzen, Richie Kotzen
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  • 69,00 kr
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Hard Rock, Metal
  • Released: 11 August 1989

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