The well known Richie Kotzen has recently formed a new band called Forty Deuce. Richie takes care of the vocals and the guitars in the band and theyhave recently released their debut album NOTHING TO LOSE. I hooked up with Richie and asked him a few questions about Forty Deuce and also a few other things. And here is what he had to say enjoy for all fans of this guitar god.
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Frontiers Records for the promo pictures.
Thanks to Stefan at Atenzia records for the help with the interview
Hi Richie, I know you are a busy man so let us go straight on to my questions. First of all, please tell us about your new band Forty Deuce. How come you formed the band and who are the members?
Well obviously I’m the singer lead guitarist, Taka Tamada is the rhythm guitarist and Ari Baron in the bassist the drummer is named Three like the number. Please don’t ask why. The band formed when Taka who is a long time fan of mine came to me and asked me to produce his old band. He and I become friends and started writing songs along with Ari. This is how the band was formed.
Are Forty Deuce considered a band or a project?
Well it is a band but it is a band project. I’m 14 records into my solo career and that is where I started and it is what I’m established as so obviously that is my priority. I wanted to make a more straight ahead rock record and have people judge it on the music and not on Richie Kotzen the guitar player so that is why I decided to do Forty deuce. I could have written songs with people and just called it Richie Kotzen as I have done in the past but I wanted to try something different with the outside perception.
Did you have any doubts regarding forming a new band?
Yes I did but I look at this as a cool record I made with some cool guys not life choice or commitment as I said before. I could have called this Richie Kotzen or cunt licker for that matter. I really wanted to put something out there with me in the forefront doing the Richie thing but within the shield of a band name. Mainly to see if it would be treated differently by the press.
Why the band name Forty Deuce? Who came up with that name?
Really just pulled it out of a hat no real meaning at all just a number.
Have any of the members, besides you, been involved in any famous bands before joining Forty Deuce?
No nothing famous I’m the only know one. This is the first international press for the boys. They are very excited also our Italy and Spain dates are their first international live shows.
Who have written the music and lyrics and what are the lyrics about?
Most of my lyrics are dark and depressing so why not continue the formula here. Taka is great with guitar riffs and he comes up with some interesting parts like the riff to heaven for example. He loves six eight time signatures and drop d tuning so you can kind of tell his style. We all really wrote together that is way the CD has the sound that it has. I don’t think it would been the same with out Taka and Ari’s input and of course it would not be what is with out me. Ha, ha, ha.
How long did it take to write the new album and in which studio have you recorded NOTHING TO LOSE?
We recorded it at my studio headroom it took about one month.
You have produced the album yourself, how come? What do you think are the benefits of producing an album by yourself?
I know the kind of sound I wanted so there really was no reason to get involved with a producer on this record. Everything fell into place very quick as far as recording. Besides I can’t afford to hire Rick Rubin or Brenden Obrian.
Who is responsible for the mixing and mastering?
Alex Todorov my engineer.
Have you read any reviews of the album yet? What have the media to say about it?
They seem to really like it especially in the UK.
Is the album released world-wide or are there any territories where it’s not out yet?
It’s not out in the US yet.
The bio lists your music “only” as being hardrock, do you think that is a fair description or how would you like to describe what kind of music you play?
Well the Forty deuce CD is hardrock. My solo stuff is all over the place but I think my live shows falls into the sort of late 60’s early 70’s jam rock sort of thing.
My bio also proclaims you Richie to be a “monster guitar player” what do you think of that and how does it feel to be given a description like that one?
I fucking love it all I ever wanted was to get recognized with my music and obviously my guitar playing is what people have noticed the most so I’m cool with it although Steve Vai told my bassist Ari that I have pretty eyes so maybe some people notice my eyes first then my music. But fuck it at least they know my name.
Are there any plans on continuing releasing albums with Forty Deuce?
Actually I’m writing new songs for my next solo record. We are doing some live Forty Deuce shows to support the record and then I’ll come back with my next solo CD and then maybe another Forty Deuce for 2007 only time will tell.
Are you happy with your label and the work they have put into the album like promotion etc?
I love Frontiers I think they are the best indie label in all of Europe.
Frontiers Records releases the album in Europe but what about the rest of the world?
I don’t know I’m not interested in all that label talk. I’m in it for the music man. It’s all about the music that’s why I’m giving a way my new song “You Can’t Save Me” for free on my space.
Have Forty Deuce done any live shows? If so when and where?
We did 4 in Italy 2 in Spain and about 10 in the US.
Are there any current plans on going out on tour now that the album is out?
We are on tour now.
Who’s done the cover art-work? What’s the thought behind it and what do you think of it? Do you think it represents Forty Deuce and its music?
Yes I like it I think it represents the band well the music is aggressive and so is the artwork. Ari is a master on photoshop.
How come you gave the album the title NOTHING TO LOSE? What’s the thought behind that title?
Well it describes how I feel that nothing to lose attitude means there is no where to go but up it is the way forward.
When I listened to the album I noticed that all of the faster songs comes first, then comes the uptempo ballads and after that comes the ballads, was it a conscious move to place the songs in that way or did it happened accidentally?
Yes we planned it I think the CD flows better that way start off heavy then chill out. It’s a good way for this music to be presented.
Are you content with the album or is there anything you would have done in a different way now that you look back on it?
No I’m usually completely satisfied with a record once it’s released of course years later I may hate it but for now I’m cool with it.
Do you have any particular favorite tracks on the album? If so which one(s) and why?
“Oh My God” is my favorite that is so me at the same mistake over and over but wearing a different face and I don’t see it till it’s too late.
Now for some questions about you, for how long have you played guitar?
I started when I was seven and I’m 35 now so a real long time.
What was it that make you choose the guitar? And do you have any guitar heroes that you look up to or that have inspired you musically in any way?
Yes, Eddie Van Halen he was my guitar hero and Gene Simmons was my rock star hero, Prince was my over all artist hero as a kid.
Can you play any other instrument besides the guitar?
I’m a wicked bass player when it comes to my songs, I never let anyone play bass on my CD’s because I love playing bass so much, I play drums, and a little keys.
What do you think of your time in bands like Poison and Mr. Big? Are you content with your efforts in those bands?
Not answering these questions anymore, sorry.
Your solo album came last year, is there any plans on releasing a follow up?
Oh yes, I’m writing as we speak if you go to my myspace page you can download a new song for free this is the one of my next CD.
How many bands or projects are you currently involved in at the moment?
Just being Richie Kotzen and obviously The Forty Deuce record is out so I want people to check it out.
Do you get a lot of mail from fans? What’s the most common question you get from fans?
What is your ethnic background.
Where in the world do you live today?
Los Angeles, Pennsylvania and I’m buying a vacation home in Tenerife.
Can you reveal on which album you’re going to appear next?
No it must remain a secret ha, ha, ha. Actually it is called Gundom –X you can go to www.richiekotzen.com for the details.
The year is soon coming to and end, what’s the plans for Richie Kotzen for the rest of 2005/6?
I’m writing a new CD and I’m doing a special project for Japan that will be released in 2006.
Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer my questions, is there anything you would like to say to the readers of metal-rules.com?
Check out my new song “You Can’t Save Me” at myspace. You can down load it for free.
Read the CD review of the new Forty Deuce album here
Read the CD review of Richie’s solo work here