Richie Kotzen


musical style: 

photograph of Richie Kotzen

Richie Kotzen is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter.

Born in Reading, Pennsylvania on February 3, 1970, Richie Kotzen was soon taken by music and first began playing piano at the age of five. At the age of seven he was inspired by New York City band KISS to learn the electric guitar. Relentlessly developing chops and his own unique voice on the guitar, Kotzen was eventually discovered by Shrapnel Records' Mike Varney, and he recorded his first album by the age of 18. During that same year, he also graced the cover of several publications including Guitar World Magazine. He created the video Rock Chops for REH video in 1989, highlighting many of his formative techniques, including using wide-intervals and fluid sweeping.

In 1993, Kotzen made his big break when he joined the rock band Poison at age 20, co-writing and performing on the album Native Tongue. This album produced two top twenty singles which Richie wrote, Stand and Until You Suffer Some. Kotzen was subsequently fired from the band when it was discovered that he had been romantically involved with Deanna Eve, the ex-fiance of Poison drummer Rikki Rockett. Kotzen and Eve later married and divorced. In 1999 Kotzen replaced Paul Gilbert as guitarist in the mainstream rock band Mr. Big. Kotzen maintained the band's enormous success, performing on the Mr. Big record Get Over It, which sold more than 1,975,000 copies in its first two weeks in Japan, eventually reaching platinum status. Kotzen also contributed guitars to Mr. Big's subsequent release Actual Size. The record included the Kotzen song Shine, which debuted at number one on Japanese radio charts. Following the disbanding of Mr. Big, Kotzen released the solo album Change, in 2003. The title track, and the song Get A Life were featured in TV commercials throughout Japan.

In mid 2002 Kotzen established a recording Studio/Production company in Los Angeles, California. He has since been producing acclaimed solo albums and collaborating with various figures in rock, jazz, and fusion. He now has formed a band called Forty Deuce which recently released a new album entitled Nothing to Lose.

Richie has a unique style, which he has described as a mix of rock, jazz fusion, and soul music. Of his albums, he claims he is most proud of Vertu. Kotzen utilizes a heavy amount of legato playing into his solos.

Richie is now living in Los Angeles, California. Besides playing the guitar, his hobbies include exercise and sports, especially basketball. Richie has said that if he had'nt become a professional musician, he would have liked to play professional basketball.

In 2008, Kotzen released his first official live album, "Live In São Paulo", which featured Johnny Griparic on bass and Dan Potruch on Drums.


* (1989) Richie Kotzen
* (1990) Fever Dream
* (1991) Electric Joy
* (1991) Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey (Soundtrack)
* (1993) Native Tongue (Poison)
* (1994) Mother Head's Family Reunion
* (1995) Inner Galactic Fusion Experience
* (1995) Tilt (with Greg Howe)
* (1996) Wave of Emotion
* (1996) Times Gonna Tell (EP)
* (1997) Kotzen/Howe Project (with Greg Howe)
* (1997) Something to Say
* (1998) What Is
* (1999) Break It All Down
* (1999) BiPolar Blues
* (1999) Vertu (project with Stanley Clarke and Lenny White)
* (1999) Get Over It (Mr. Big)
* (2000) Deep Cuts (Mr. Big)
* (2001) Actual Size (Mr. Big)
* (2001) Slow
* (2002) In Japan (Mr. Big)
* (2003) Change
* (2003) Acoustic Cuts
* (2004) Get Up
* (2004) The Best of Richie Kotzen
* (2005) Nothing to Lose (Forty-Deuce)
* (2006) ZxR Ai Senshi
* (2006) Into the Black
* (2007) ''Return Of The Mother Head's Family Reunion'' (Japan & Europe)
* (2007) ''Go Faster'' (US only)
* (2008) ''Live In São Paulo''
* (2009) ''Peace Sign''
* (2011) ''24 Hours''
* (2013) ''The Winery Dogs'' (The Winery Dogs)
* (2014) ''Unleashed In Japan: The Second Show'' (The Winery Dogs) Released only In Japan (DVD/2CD)
* (2014) ''The Essential''
* (2015) ''Cannibals''
* (2015) ''Hot Streak'' (The Winery Dogs)
* (2017) ''Salting Earth''


* (1989) Rock Chops
* (1994) Mother Head's family Reunion (Videoclip from the Mother Head's family Reunion Album)
* (1996) Wave of Emotion (Videoclip from the Wave of Emotion Album)
* (2001) Don't Wanna Lie (Videoclip from the Slow Album)
* (2001) Shine (Videoclip from Mr. Big's Actual Size Album)
* (2002) ''Hi-Tech Rock Guitar''
* (2005) ''Live In South America''
* (2008) ''Chase It'' (Videoclip from the R.O.T.M.F.R. Album)
* (2008) ''Bootlegged in Brazil''
* (2014) ''Unleashed In Japan: The Second Show'' (The Winery Dogs) Released only In Japan (DVD/2CD)'
* (2015) ''Live''

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