Released: 2004, Frontiers Records/Atenzia Records
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
I recently noticed that Metal Rules has done an interview with Richie Kotzen, so here comes a review of his new album. Most of you already know that Kotzen has played in bands like Poison and Mr. Big. Kotzen has always played guitar in those band but has also released a number of solo albums. I have never followed Kotzen with any real interest and only knew that he replaced the original guitarist C.C Deville from Poison on the extremely boring and weak album NATIVE TONGUE.
Kotzen was born and raised in Reading, PA and started out playing the piano at five years old. A year later he was inspired to start playing guitar after he saw a KISS poster. By the age of seventeen he had already traveled all over the United States playing in excess of five hundred shows and opening for acts like The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Greg Allman and The Smithereens. Kotzen has apparently released numerous solo albums containing a lot of different music styles such as rock, soul, fusion and blues, amongst others. His popularity is highest in Japan where he sells a lot of albums.
Kotzen plays all of the instruments on GET UP and he has also produced it. Though I am not for sure, it goes without saying that he probably wrote all of the music and lyrics as well. Kotzen has done a god job with the production. As you would expect, he has left a lot of space for the guitar play, but also for the lead vocals. I’m sorry to say that I don’t know who’s singing because on the promo copy I have it doesn’t say. If it’s Kotzen behind the mic I must say that he has a suiting voice for this music. Sometimes the vocals sounds a lot like the old Mr. Big singer Eric Martin but that’s just me assuming.
According to the accompanying bio I received, GET UP has already been compared with Richie’s 1994 cult classic MOTHER HEADS FAMILY REUNION and definitely adds more strength to the amazing Kotzen reputation as guitar player and songwriter. The bio describes the album as hard rock, but as usual I don’t agree. In my book this is blues combined with hard rock influenced by 70’s retro rock. If you’ve heard Kee Marcello’s K2 you can draw some musical similarities with them. On this promo copy there are eleven tracks with one European bonus track included. The album cover is clean and stylish and shows what kind of music we are talking about. For once it seems like this label has actually put some money into making a nice looking cover.
If you like Kotzen’s previous albums I don’t think you’re going to be a bit disappointed on GET UP. Richie really surprises and impresses me with this album and he sure has improved since his days in Poison. He is a brilliant guitar player and this album actually sounds OK. The best tracks on the album are “Losin’ My Mind”, “Fantasy”, “So Cold”, “Such A Shame” and “Still.”