Richie Kotzen (born February 3, 1970 in Reading, Pennsylvania) is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter. He is known for being the guitarist of bands such as Mr.big, Vertú and Poison, plus his amazing solo career.
Kotzen entered in the world of music on the early age of 5 with the piano but only after 7 years, after hearing the band Kiss, Kotzen knew that his life and guitars were bound.
At the beginning Kotzen started with the band Arhurs Museum in 1988. Only in 1989, when he was discovered by Shrapnel Records, Kotzen started to earn a good reputation as a guitarist, and at the age of 19 he recorded his first self titled album "Richie Kotzen".
In 1991 Kotzen joined the band Poison, being 21 at the time, co-wriring and performing on album Native Tongue. The album got two top twenty singles which Kotzen co-wrote, Stand and Until You Suffer Some (Fire & Ice). In 1993 Kotzen was fired from the band for having a relationship with Rikki Rockett's (Poison drummer) fiancée.
He joined Mr. Big, replacing Paul Gilbert as guitarist. With them Kotzen achieved a new milestone, having his song “Shine” reach #1 in both Europe and Japan, with the album Actual Size. In 2002 Mr.Big were disbanded, and Kotzen was back to the studio to record new material.
Since 1988 Kotzen has amassed a catalogue of more than 25 albums. His last album was released in 2009 under the name of Peace Signs.
Kotzen is like a huge pearl in the middle of the ocean, he's not only one of the best guitar players in the world, with guitar styles going from rock, blues, jazz, fusion to pop and soul, (you can find alot of jazz/fusion lines on his solo work and also in songs of the amazing band, Vertú), but he also possesses a voice on par with some of the greatest rock/soul singers.
Kotzen uses Fender guitars, most notably his signature model Telecasters and Stratocasters, as well as other custom made models. Currently, there are two Richie Kotzen signature models, made by Fender Japan - STR-145RK and TLR-155RK.
Both guitars feature ash bodies with laminated flame maple caps, maple necks and one piece maple fretboards with abalone dot inlays and 22 super jumbo frets.
The Telecaster model features a DiMarzio Chopper T pickup in the bridge position (single spaced humbucker) and a DiMarzio Twang King in the neck position. The Stratocaster is fitted with three custom made DiMarzio single coil pickups.
(1988) Gallery Closed
(1989) Richie Kotzen
(1990) Fever Dream
(1991) Electric Joy
(1994) Mother Head's Family Reunion
(1995) The Inner Galactic Fusion Experience
(1996) Wave Of Emotion
(1996) Times Gonna Tell (EP)
(1997) Something To Say
(1998) What Is...
(1999) Break It All Down
(1999) Bi-Polar Blues
(2003) Acoustic Cuts
(2004) Get Up
(2004) The Best Of Richie Kotzen
(2005) Ai Senshi Z×R (Music from the animation series Gundam)
(2006) Instrumental Collection: The Shrapnel Years
(2006) Into The Black
(2007) Go Faster/Return Of The Mother Head's Family Reunion
(2008) Live In São Paulo
(2009) Peace Sign
(1993) Native Tongue
(1994) Rats (backing vocals)
(1999) Get Over It
(2000) Deep Cuts
(2001) Actual Size
(2002) In Japan
(2004) Influences & Connections - Vol. 1
(1999) Vertú (project with Stanley Clarke and Lenny White)
(2005) Nothing to Lose
(2009) The Road
(1995) Tilt (with Greg Howe)
(1996) Sticky Wicked (with TM Stevens)
(1996) Ground Zero (with TM Stevens)
(1996) Only You (with TM Stevens)
(1997) Project (with Greg Howe)
(1999) Not So Innocent (with Jesse's Powertrip)
(2000) Mikazuki in Rock (with Mikazuki Tekkodan)
(2000) Submarine (with Gregg Bissonette)
(2003) All That I'd Be (with Steve Saluto)
(2004) Nowhere To Go (with Takayoshi Ohmura)
(2004) ***Hole (with Gene Simmons)
(2006) Rough Beat (with Steve Saluto)
(2006) Avalon (with Richie Zito)
(2006) Erotic Cakes (with Guthrie Govan)
(2007) Emotions in Motion (with Takayoshi Ohmura)
(2007) Live For Tomorrow (with Marco Mendoza)
(2010) Resurrection (with Steve Saluto)
(2010) You Can't Save Me - Remix (with Clarence Jey & Steve Mcleod)