Guitarist Richie Kotzen has spoken in a recent interview about his experiences in the music interview, and how they relate to what his hopes were as he began his career, highlighting how in his experience “crazy variables” had a much bigger part to play than pure hard work.
Speaking to The Metal Mixtape, Kotzen was asked if his 30-plus-year music career reflected his expectations he had when he entered the industry. He responded: “When I was young, I thought that if you worked hard and you had something to say as an artist, you would be successful… And then, for the very first part of the career I had, it rang true. Then, somewhere along the line, I woke up to the reality that the music business has nothing to do with artistic integrity and working hard and seeing results.”
He explained that: “there’s some real crazy variables involved when you get into the world of the music business,” but that he separates his music from the pure ‘business’ side of things. “When I think of the music business, I don’t think of Richie Kotzen,” he explained. “I think that I am a recording artist that puts out original music and that has developed a base of people that are interested in what I do, and I’m grateful and thankful for it. But that doesn’t have anything to do with business for me; it has to do with being true to what it is that I’m about, and being lucky enough to have a platform where I can create my songs and have them be released.
“But I don’t consider myself in the music business, ‘cause that’s a whole other thing.”
Last month, Kotzen teamed with Iron Maiden guitarists Adrian Smith to release Smith/Kotzen, a collaborative blues-rock LP that was recorded in February 2020. Every song was co-written by Smith and Kotzen. The pair traded off guitar, bass and vocal duties across the recording process, while drums were shared between Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain, Tal Bergman and Kotzen.
“We had a very fluid process in writing,” explained Kotzen in an announcement about the album. “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 around so it was a kind of circular motion. We’d get together whenever we could and throw some ideas around and it just evolved, which was great because there was no pressure and nothing other than just a natural course and I think the record really speaks for that.”
You can see Kotzen’s full appearance on The Metal Mixtape below.