Streaming Now: 'The Essential Richie Kotzen,' Disc 2 — Exclusive

by Guitar World Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2014 at 1:05pm

Today, Richie Kotzen is streaming disc 2 of his new album, The Essential Richie Kotzen, right here at GuitarWorld.com.

You can check it out below. As always, be sure to tell us what you think of it in the comments or on Facebook!

The album, which was released today, September 2, contains material curated from Kotzen’s entire career (which has spawned 18 solo albums), not including his work with Poison and the Winery Dogs.

The new package was purposely designed to give listeners the most comprehensive, concise introduction to Kotzen’s extensive body of work. It includes two CDs of classic Kotzen material as well as two new songs, along with a DVD of music videos, acoustic performances and bootleg material. It’s the ultimate collection of music for Kotzen fans.

We recently spoke with Kotzen about the Essential package, his upcoming solo album and some of the most memorable moments of his career. For the rest of this interview, head here!

GUITAR WORLD: What spawned your new Essential package?

It was an idea that actually came from the record label. I have a very nice fan base that's been great to me over the years and has allowed me to tour around the world. But there's also a huge community in the rock world that knows my name but has no idea what it is that I do musically. I remember when I was on tour with the Winery Dogs, people would often come up to me and say, "Man, I didn't know you sang like that and I just found out that you also have a solo career. What record should I get?"

I never knew what to say. I wrote my first record when I was 17 (and recorded it at 18), so a lot of time has passed. What we decided to do was make one package that would answer the question. I went through and picked out songs I like to play live and still represent who I am today. So for someone who is curious about what it is that I do, now there's an answer.

Another cool thing about the package are the demo and acoustic performances. Particularly, the track “Until You Suffer Some (Fire and Ice)." Not many people realize your contribution to Poison. What can you tell me about that experience?

It was such a sideways move for me. Two years before I joined the band, my contract with Shrapnel was bought out by Interscope. That’s what brought me to California, and I spent about a year writing songs for what I thought was going to be my solo record. We really wanted to make this R&B, soul/rock record and even got the budget approved. Then at the last minute, the label said, "Wait a minute. I didn't sign you to do this kind of music. I need you to be a hard rock guy." I remember just losing my mind and insisted on being dropped — which they did.

At the same time they were dropping me, the A&R guy said, "You know, Bret Michaels just called me. They're interested in you. I think you should do it and then circle back after the album cycle." So I went out and met Bret and really liked what he had to say. They brought me in as a band member and writer and that song that you mentioned was one of the songs I brought in that would have been on that solo record. I never really played the song live and thought it made sense to do a version of me singing it. That's what's on the record.

For more about Kotzen, visit richiekotzen.com.