Adrian Smith and Richie Kotzen have released their collaborative debut Smith/Kotzen.
Both Kotzen and Smith come from illustrious backgrounds. The latter musician is a fixture of Iron Maiden, whereas Kotzen played in Poison and Mr Big throughout the ’90s while maintaining a solo career. He now serves as the lead singer of The Winery Dogs.
On Smith/Kotzen, the two musicians indulge in their shared love of classic rock and all its permutations. On tracks like “Some People” and “Taking My Chances,” the pair toy with elements of blues rock and ’90s grunge, while “Scars” and “I Wanna Stay” channel grandiose ’80s rock ballads. Given that both musicians are virtuosic guitarists, roaring solos are readily found throughout the album.
Prior to announcing their collaborative project, Smith and Kotzen had jammed together for a few years. After settling on the idea of recording a studio album, the pair headed to the idyllic Turks and Caicos Islands to record Smith/Kotzen in February 2020.
“We had a very fluid process in writing,” Kotzen recalled in a statement. “Sometimes Adrian would send me a riff and I would immediately hear some kind of melody or a vocal idea. And sometimes it was the other way round so it was a kind of circular motion. We’d get together whenever we could and throw some ideas around and it just evolved.”
Listen to Smith/Kotzen, which features previous single “Running” below: