Richie Kotzen auctions original Ibanez guitars

Wow. Some shred guitar history is up on the auction block: two of Richie Kotzen’s original Ibanez guitars. They’re being sold on Richie’s website – below is some info from the listings. Hit Richie’s site for more info and to bid.

“This is the Ibanez guitar Richie played on his first cd. 90% of the solos were played on this guitar. Comes with Hard Case.  Back neck plate is missing as you can see in the photograph.”

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New Richie Kotzen album details

Can’t wait for this! First up, here’s a message from Richie on his official website:

“Quick Update… New single ’24 Hours’ will be available for download in just a few days (Sept 1st). The music video for the song will be posted at AOL online as well as my official youtube channel (links will be posted here). … AND… we are planning an official cd release party in Los Angeles late October (prior to the official cd release date). The full cd will be available for sale at the cd release party. Show date will be announced very soon.”

And here’s the press release:

After two years of extensive international touring, guitar virtuoso, singer/songwriter Richie Kotzen is back to unleash his new album, “24 Hours”, due on November 11 via Headroom-Inc.

“24 Hours” reflects the guitar style that has defined Kotzen’s career as a virtuoso, while taking it to another level.

“I feel like I have reached a new level of soloing on the opening track ’24 Hours’,” explains Kotzen. “I stopped using a guitar pick on electric a few years ago and my playing has evolved in a different way. Some of the solo lines I play on the song ’24 Hours’, and others as well, are lines I would have never been able to play with a guitar pick. So I would say the solos on this CD are at a different level than previous recordings.”

“24 Hours” is an absorbing collective blend of Kotzen’s musical influences and diversity. It takes you on an inspired, musical journey as the opening track sets the tone that falls stylistically somewhere between early Van Halen and Sly And The Family Stone. Kotzen also brought in his talented daughter, August Kotzen, and friend Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains, to complete the album.

“My daughter August is singing with me on a few songs and is playing electric piano on the song ‘Stop Me’,” states Kotzen. “My friend Jerry Cantrell is singing backgrounds on ‘Love Is Blind’ and does a very cool lead vocal ad-lib in the final chorus of the tune.”

Kotzen burst onto the heavy metal scene as a teenager with a lightning-fast guitar techniques. With his talents, Kotzen has played with some of the best musicians; including renowned jazz great Stanley Clarke and a three-year stint in the band Mr. Big.

“I have been lucky in the sense that I have been able to play with guys who I could learn from,” explains Kotzen. “The biggest musical lesson for me was playing in a band with Stanley Clarke and Lenny White. Obviously, these guys are jazz musicians and I am not, but I learned so much from the time we recorded and toured together. My favorite rock bassist is Billy Sheehan, and we were in MR. BIG together for three years, which was awesome.”

Meanwhile, check out Truth In Shredding for info about Richie’s new black Fender Telecaster signature model.

Check out Richie Kotzen’s old Ibanezes

Here’s a very neat video from 2003 in which Richie Kotzen breaks out a few of his old Ibanezes from his pre-Fender days. He also shows off some of his signature model Fender Telecasters, which are super-high on my guitar wish list. I believe his signature model Strats and Telecasters are only available in Asia but I’d love love love to see them released by Fender Australia some day. Richie’s sound was a big reason why I traded my Ibanez Jem for a Fender American Vintage ’62 Strat last year.

Anyway, onto the video.

CD REVIEW: Richie Kotzen – Peace Sign

Man, I hate Richie Kotzen. Oh don’t get me wrong – I’m a big fan. His guitar playing is awesome. His vocals are amazing (like, seriously, it’s utterly unfair for a guitar virtuoso to have such a big-league voice). I have most of his albums and I often daydream about owning one of his Fender signature Strats or Telecasters. I hear he’s a really nice guy, and he continues to release album after album of A-Grade material, all while lookin’ impossibly cool whether he tries to or not. And that’s just the problem. Dude can’t seem to put a foot wrong – don’t ya hate people like that! Kotzeeeeeen!

Kotzen’s latest cruel attempt to make me feel friggin’ miserable about myself is Peace Sign. One of the reasons I envy him so much for this record is because he played all of the instruments himself on most of the songs, yet somehow managed to capture a live band feel. I guess the secret is that the performances aren’t all tweezed and quantized – you can still hear the character behind every note. Another important key to this live feel is the orchestration: rarely do you hear multiple tracks of the same guitar part. Instead, the sonic landscape is quite bare, which of course means you can hear more of what’s going on because the nuance isn’t being smashed to smithereens.

One thing that really grabs me about this CD is the way it moves in cycles. The first five tracks have a bluesy rock edge reminiscent of Kotzen’s previous album, terrifyingly awesome Return of Mother Head’s Family Reunion. The next four are funky and groovy, largely characterised by cleaner guitar tones and more fusiony guitar solos. The final three are more laid back, probably more reminiscent of something like ‘Give It Up’ from Return of Mother Head’s Family Reunion.

My standout tracks are opener ‘My Messiah’ (a big, loud rocker with killer verse/chorus dynamics); ‘Paying Dues’ (check out that killer guitar solo – video below); the very LA-feeling ‘We’re All Famous,’ the celebratory ‘Your Entertainer’ and the groovy ‘You Got Me.’ But every song has a little highlight or gem somewhere, whether it’s a vocal hook, a guitar line, some cool interplay between instruments, or a lyric.

While I can’t wait to hear what Kotzen does next (after all, this CD follows the awesome ‘Return of the Mother Head’s Family Reunion,’ I hope he keeps promoting this album for quite a while yet so it gets the sustained attention it deserves.

Listen to tracks from Peace Sign for free on Richie’s site here.


NEWS: Richie Kotzen – busiest dude in rock

Wow, does Richie Kotzen ever stop? He’s already released approximately 23,271 different albums since the late 80s, and he’s just finished a CD of soul music with Ritchie Zito under the band name Wilson Hawk.

Here’s a blurb about the collaboration from the new act’s myspace.