RICHIE KOTZEN "It still blows my mind that people ask me about what happened with POISON"

Date March 1, 2008 / 557 reads

Interview by Alessandro Ariatti of rockharditaly.it

1 Hello Richie. You said that this new album can be considered like the real follow-up of Mother Head's Family Reunion. Is it because you played with a real band and not as a solo artist?

that is exactly why. on the last couple of cds i've made i have been the only musician involved. This time i've got a full band line up. The last time i did that on an entire cd was on mother head's family reunion (Geffen 1994).

2 Of course, this album sounds radically different from "Into The Black", just if they could be both sides from the same artist.

its a very different cd. black was more of an introspective piece of work. this new cd is more of a band vibe. i think black was more focused on the lyrics and the general mood of what i was feeling at the time where on this cd we really play a lot. fooled again features a 3 minute jam session at the end of the tune. there is nothing like that on into the black. much more guitar playing on this new cd

3 I love "Fooled Again" and its soul touch. Can you talk me about this song?

its inspired by my womack/mayfield influence... i love the songs across 110th street by bobby womack and move on up by curtis mayfield... i think the inspiration sort of comes from that background

4 Another great song is "Dust" with its southern touch. Which are your feelings about this one?

dust is one of the first songs i recorded for the cd... definitely a good driving song...

5 Are there other songs of the album that you particularly proud of and that you would like to talk about?

well as a writer they all are special to me... i dont really like talking about any of my songs as much as i do playing them for people id rather let the performance speak to people ... a song always means more when you have your own idea of what its about

6 Which are your opinion about this album in comparison to the first Mother Head's Family Reunion?

well they are totally different times in my life... i think ive evolved a lot since then... i think my point of view is different. the things i value are different... everything is different... i would not dare compare them as that would diminish what makes them special

7 You played both with Poison and Mr.Big. Which were the problems that made you split with those bands?

mr big broke up... it had nothing to do with me... i think the guys just did not enjoy making music together anymore. in the band poison i was asked to leave because i was romantically linked with the drummers ex fiance... not while they were together but after they had been split up for a few months... it was after the american leg the native tongue tour. i was on a break in los angeles... we hooked up and i went straight to rikki (poison's drummer) and told him about it... he didnt like that so they had a band meeting... after the meeting i was informed that they did not want me in the band anymore. she and i went on a vacation, then came back to los angeles and moved in together. shortly after that i was signed to gefffen for a solo deal and made mother head's family reunion. that same year deanna and i decided to get married. about 2 and a half years into our marriage deanna became pregnant with my daughter august. august is now 10 years old and is singing background vocals on my new cd. im almost 99% sure that my fans know all about this story as it now is extremely old news... it still blows my mind that people ask me about it.

8 Are you touring extensively in America to promote the new album. If so, which will be your touring band?

no... i have no tour planned for america. but im touring in south america. i will spend 2 weeks there touring in brazil, chile, and argentina... then i will tour europe in october

9 Did you hear any guitarist in the last times that impressed you particularly?

well all my old favorites impress me all the time... jeff beck, evh, srv, hendrix... as far as new guys... no.. im sorry to say... i like what john mayer represents with his back up band and doing the fender thing... im glad at least someone is representing that aspect of music... its nearly been forgotten... there is no real great guitar player in mainstream music... there was a time when there were tons... clapton, van halen, jeff beck, srv, frampton, all different styles and all selling millions of cds... now there are zero....its a shame... but tastes change... the masses are not interested in it... on another note ive got to say that james morrison is one of the most amazing singers ive heard... EVER!

10 You are often considered "just" as a guitarist, but you're also a great singer in my opinion. Which are the vocalist tha inspired you most?

all of the people who buy my records know me as a singer as well as a guitarist... its the people that dont buy richie kotzen records that dont know what it is that i do... i suppose thats fair... as a singer ive been compared to everyone from steve marriott, rod stewart, paul rodgers, david coverdale, chris cornell, terrence trent darby.... my number one influence as a singer was paul rodgers

11 If you had to choose, which are the most important albums for your career?

mother heads family reunion, into the black, and the newest one return of the mother head's family reunion (or if you live in the united states its called Go Faster)

12 "Into The Black" was a very "dark" album: what do you think now about it? Would you change something?

not a thing... its perfect as it is...

13 Do you think that classic rock/hard rock can return to the top of the american charts in the next future?

never... i think it will never happen... its culture... what is called classic rock was not called classic rock when it was new first of all... second of all the music was made by real music makers... not kids with computers and beat boxes... it was made by master musicians and writers...listen to night moves by bob seger.. its perfect.. its a story that grabs you.. the lyrics grab you and suck you in... the singing is inspired and REAL... and the performances are perfect and REAL.... they are not manufactured.. not sampled or manipulated they are pure and HONEST... they are written and played and inspired....let me say this.. im not dissing kids with computers and beat boxes... timbaland makes awesome cds... promiscuous girl is a hot track...id love him to produce my record to see what it would become... im not against modern music BUT.... the things that were happening then dont exist now... listen to hotel california... who sings like that? who writes lyrics like that? who has that kind of concept in their guitar playing? and what band or artist is doing it in the mainstream? the majority of the worlds younger generation is not reading poetry, listening to blues or jazz legends, they are not interested in spending 15 years to master an instrument... they are not expressing themselves through a musical instrument... they are expressing themselves with computers on myspace, or with skateboards, or by rapping ( by the way.. if you rap you are not a "musician" you are a rapper.. its something else... also, "rock stars" play rock and roll... robert plant is a rock star... mick jagger is a rock star...NOT... that rapper with the gold teeth and the hand gun) (also on a side note the xzibit song the gambler is my favorite rap song of all time...) now back to your question, it will never happen again... just like classical music will never ever be in the mainstream like it was when it was new.... time moves forward... there will always be an influence of what once was but it will never ever be the same as when it was new... people are creative they like to create their own things... its the way forward... its the way it should be.... i make records that move my soul... i am expressing me... thats all im doing.... the way that i do it is not MAINSTREAM.. it is not what everyone is doing but that is the point... its not meant to be...its art... its creativity... im not asking for anything from it other than for it to simply exist once its created... its nice for people to hear it... it would not be a bad thing for people to praise it and for it to move their soul but that is not up to me... its out of my hands.. and, it is not something that i can control... therefore its not worth concerning my self with... to desire those things will ultimately breed negativity and depression within the creative mind and stifle creativity... therefore it is essential to dismiss those desires... that can not be the focus... the focus is on being empty, silent and still... nothingness... not a thought not a one desire... then in that nothingness creativity will flourish out of control and the art will be pure and honest.

14 Are there any mistake or any "wrong" choice that you would not repeat in your long career?

career is an evil word... i dont have a career... im not a career... im on a journey... if i changed anything in my journey then it would not be my journey... i would then be someone else... im not interested in being anyone else

Thanx and congratulations for this new album!

thank you as well...