Richie Kotzen KOS Justin Tedaldi of the Examiner spoke with guitarist/vocalist Richie Kotzen. Portions of the interview appear below.

Examiner: Last year you were supposed to play a solo show at the Iridium in New York, but it was cancelled because of a health problem. Is everything okay now?

Kotzen: Yeah. Since then I’ve done three tours, so I’ve been good on that, but you know, I’m still very cautious and aware of what happened there—it’s kind of like a perfect storm. It was a real weird thing; I quit smoking, I stopped drinking, and I started rehearsing for that tour, which was a European tour, and then like you said, I planned on coming back to the East Coast….I started drinking coffee like a maniac, and somehow I didn’t really know this until [later], but I developed an acid reflux issue from the coffee…

I went on the tour, and the agency—they had booked against my wishes, but they booked me anyway—at one point in the tour seven shows in a row, and that really did me in….I couldn’t sing at all, and for the next show, I took my daughter to that show and she sang half the set for me because I just couldn’t sing. And I went to the doctor and he told me that I hemorrhaged my vocal cord. And he said, “If you try to sing now, you will ruin your voice.” So I cancelled the East Coast, and then about a month later I went back and he said, “Your vocal cord is fine, but you’re showing signs of acid reflux.” And so that’s a whole other issue, but it was a real odd series of events. And I went back to smoking and I started drinking again, and I did another tour for a month in Europe, and my voice was better than it had been in years. At this point, I don’t know what the hell to think [laughs].

Examiner: Are all the songs on the new Winery Dogs album co-writes between the band members?

Kotzen: Technically, no. But we decided to make this an equal band, so anytime a song comes into the band, we share equally in the song. But there’s maybe four or five songs that I had written previously that I had brought in that became Winery Dogs songs. I was fine with that arrangement, because I haven’t been in very many bands; I’ve always done my solo thing, but when I was in bands, I had the strength of being in Poison. The one thing I liked about them is that the record that I did with Poison [1993’s Native Tongue], the majority of the music was written by me and Bret Michaels. However, we shared everything equally, and that really helped the morale of the band, especially out on the road.

In Mr. Big they didn’t do that, and on the second record I made with Mr. Big [2001’s Actual Size], that started to become an issue. It created tension, and from the beginning of this band, I knew—because I’m a singer and I’m the guitar player—that in the end I would end up carrying a lot of the weight…I’m going to hear melodies as a singer and I’m going to want to write the words and sing; it’s only natural and normal. I knew from my experience with two different bands that work in opposite ways that this would truly be better for what we’re doing. And then also in the end, there’s a song on the record that Mike Portnoy wrote lyrics to and I sang on as well. Everybody contributed to it.

Examiner: Did any of the ideas Billy and Mike had from their aborted collaboration with John Sykes make the record?

Kotzen: No. It wouldn’t have been possible for them to have some, because there never really was a collaboration with John from what I understand. What was explained to me was that they had the concept of recording together, and they actually did go to his studio, and what they ended up doing was playing on his songs that were already written, and they never really played together; he never really picked up a guitar and hashed out riffs. It would have been impossible for any of those ideas to have cross-pollinated.

Examiner: Your good friend Eddie Trunk, the host of That Metal Show, always rants that it’s mind-blowing how you’re virtually unknown in this country, at least as a household name musician. What do you think it is about the rest of the world that “gets” you?

Well, I don’t know. I really appreciate all the accolades, but it’s hard for me to comment on that, you know? Because the reality is—here’s an interesting bit of trivia. Recently our press person, they wanted us to go into our Facebook and do analytics. I think I have maybe 70,000 likes on my page, or whatever it is. It’s not a lot in terms of popular musicians, but it is what it is. So in the breakdown, the number one territory that had the most likes was Brazil. What do you think number two was?

Examiner: Japan?

Kotzen: The United States. And Brazil beat the United States by 300 likes. I don’t know how to stop that. I think that what happens is, it relates to touring, which is consistent across the board for a lot of acts. In other words, the United States, I can play B.B. King’s; I’ve played B.B. King’s before, and we had a respectful number of people in there for someone of my level, but there’s not a lot of places like that where you can draw numbers, and so if you tour in Europe, it’s small, the distance between the countries, and they’re still really pumped up to go to rock shows.

So if I can put 600 people in B.B. King’s, that’s cool, but also if I go to Rome I can put four to five hundred people in a room….I think what the reality is, is that I’m not mainstream in the United States but I’m not mainstream anywhere. It’s just that when I tour, I tend to tour in a foreign territory because the people there are more inclined to go to the show; there’s more shows for me to do. Now, Brazil is a different story and I don’t know why. My girlfriend lives in São Paulo when she’s not here, and she’s always calling and saying, “Oh, they’re playing your sing on the radio!” [Brazil], for some reason, has become my largest market. But I was surprised to see on the analytics that the United States was number two. And Japan was way down the list—Italy was number three. So you never really know who’s listening, but it comes down to where the likes are at; where do you get all this play? So that’s how you book a show.

Examiner: What was it like working with Gene Simmons on his 2004 solo record?

Kotzen: That was f—in’ great. I love Gene. He’s just one of the coolest people I think I’ve ever met. He’s funny, insightful, and just a great, great person. I got to meet his kids, who were great, and I’ve been to his house a couple of times. I just jammed with him recently [in L.A.] for [the] Wounded Warrior [Project]; he did a thing and I played a couple of songs—I didn’t know what the f— I was playing, so I hope I didn’t piss anyone off—which was very fun. He’s a great person; I love Gene.

Examiner: Did he pick you for that album?

Kozten: I don’t remember how that happened. Somehow I had that studio, he was looking for a studio, and somebody knew him. I had met him in the past, but I don’t remember how he came to my studio. But he came there with a DA-88 cassette tape, and nobody uses that format anymore, and he wanted to listen to stuff. I was panicked…so I had to go rent one for him, and I got that, and we hit it off, you know. We worked in my studio and then he asked me to do some stuff for him and play on some things, and it was fun. He’s a great guy.

Read more at the Examiner.


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HookertsNBlow_Jposter Hookers & Blow, the band led by Guns N’ Roses keyboardist Dizzy Reed has announced a string of July dates including a Hollywood launch party for their new clothing line at the legendary Whisky A Go Go on Wednesday, July 24th.

Also performing will be A.L.I.V.E.! — An all-star tribute to 70s era KISS, featuring Rex Brown (Pantera, Kill Devil Hill), Ron Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses), Brian Tichy (Whitesnake, Foriegner) and Mark Zavon (Kill Devil Hill).

Hookers & Blow recently completed a four show residency at The Whisky with guest musicians that included members of Marilyn Manson, The Cult, Quiet Riot, W.A.S.P., Ignite, Ace Frehley and more.

The band is currently solidifying a fall Hollywood residency which will be will announced in the coming weeks.

Hookers & Blow July Shows:

18 – Columbus, OH – The Shrunken Head
19 – Akron, OH – The Rock Factory
20 – Philadelphia, PA – THE Blockley
24 – Hollywood, CA – The Whisky A Go Go **Clothing Line Launch Party/Rex Brown of Pantera’s Birthday Bash**

For more information, please visit the Hookers & Blow Facebook.

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anselmosolo Philip Anselmo has put together a series of, well, intimidating but humorous video clips in anticipation of his Technicians of Distortion tour that begins on July 31st. The clips instruct fans as to what Anselmo expects of them at the shows. So far, two have been made available, and you can see them below:

Philip’s first-ever solo album, the “loud and chaotic, brutal and beautiful to hear all at once” Walk Through Exits Only, is released this Tuesday, and you can stream the entire album NOW at RevolverMag.

With one more date to be announced, Anselmo’s Technicians of Distortion tour dates are as follows:

31 Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa, OK


2 Wooly’s, Des Moines, IA
3 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN
4 House of Blues, Chicago, IL
6 House of Blues, Cleveland, OH
7 The Intersection, Grand Rapids, MI
9 Royal Oak Music Theatre, Royal Oak, MI
10 Danforth Music Hall, Toronto, ONT Canada
11 Heavy MTL Festival, Montreal, QC Canada
13 The Palladium, Worcester, MA
14 Upstate Concert Hall, Clifton Park, NY
16 Best Buy Theatre, New York, NY
17 Union Transfer, Philadelphia, PA
18 The Fillmore, Silver Spring, MD
20 The Masquerade – Heaven Stage, Atlanta, GA

For more information, please visit

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AliceCoopertophat Gary Graff of Billboard reports:

Alice Cooper tells Billboard he’s “three-quarters of the way through” a covers album that will focus on what he calls “the time period of the Hollywood vampires,” the hard-partying crew of the early- and mid-70s that included the likes of John Lennon, the Who’s Keith Moon, Harry Nilsson, Ringo Starr and “honorary” guests such as T. Rex’s Marc Bolan and Keith Allison of Paul Revere & the Raiders. The set will also include Sunset Strip forebears such as the Doors’ Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix. Bob Ezrin, who produced several of Cooper’s 70s best-sellers as well as 2011’s Welcome 2 My Nightmare, is working on the set.

“We’re really happy, all of us, everyone involved in the covers because it’s pretty much what we wanted to do,” Cooper says. “We specified a certain time period and said, ‘Let’s stay within that. Let’s not move it around too much.’ We don’t want to be doing cover songs from the 80s and 90s when the Hollywood vampires kind of thing was more ’73, ’74, ’75.”

“We have September off, so we’ll probably take that time and just finish it,” Cooper notes. “I think we could finish the whole thing in September and it’ll be out, I would say, by early spring.”

Cooper, meanwhile, is still buzzing about [his tour] dates with [Marilyn] Manson, which he says were “great. Y’know, I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know him personally. I’d heard nothing but horror stories. Johnny Depp is one of his best friends; Johnny said he can be a handful, but I think Johnny talked to him and kind of backed him off a little bit. But (Manson) was nothing but respectful, a total pro. Honestly, it was a real flawless tour. I think we made converts of his audience, and there was an older audience that came that was suspect of him but liked him. So both of us benefited from this tour — the elder myth and the new myth. It really did work, and I’m sure we’ll do it again.”

Read more at Billboard.


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bignoize Fan filmed footage of Big Noize, the band featuring Sebastian Bach (Skid Row) on vocals, George Lynch (Dokken, Lynch Mob, T&A) on guitar, Phil Soussan (Ozzy Osbourne, Vince Neil) on bass and Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio, Heaven & Hell) on drums, can be viewed below.

The footage was filmed at Big Noize’s show on July 9th at Teatro Caupolicán in Santiago, Chile.

The band’s reported setlist was:

1. The Mob Rules (Black Sabbath cover)
2. I Don’t Know (Ozzy Osbourne cover)
3. Kicking & Screaming (Sebastian Bach cover)
4. Into The Fire (Dokken cover)
5. Bible Black (Heaven & Hell cover)
6. Crazy Train (Ozzy Osbourne cover)
7. Killer Of Giants (Ozzy Osbourne cover)
8. 18 And Life (Skid Row cover)
9. The Hunter (Dokken cover)
10. Shot In The Dark (Ozzy Osbourne cover)
11. Mr. Scary (Dokken cover)
12. In A Darkened Room (Skid Row cover)
13. Heaven And Hell (Black Sabbath cover)
14. Alone Again (Dokken cover)
15. I Remember You (Skid Row cover)
16. Youth Gone Wild (Skid Row cover)

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sammy hagarfriendscdcover Sammy Hagar has enlisted three legendary musicians – Toby Keith, Mickey Hart and Taj Mahal – to round out the final three tracks on his first-ever rock collaborations album: Sammy Hagar and Friends. The highly anticipated new album is set for release by Frontiers Records on September 24th in North America, September 27th in Europe, September 29th in the UK, and will be preceded by the album’s first single and video for the high voltage track Knockdown Dragout featuring Kid Rock, Joe Satriani and Denny Carmassi.

In addition to the 10-track standard edition album, fans will also have an opportunity to purchase a Deluxe edition of Sammy Hagar and Friends, packaged in a high-gloss Digipak. The Deluxe CD/DVD package includes an exclusive bonus audio track, Space Station #5, recorded live at the Ronnie Montrose Tribute Concert held on April 29th, 2012 in San Francisco, as well as the “Making of” album documentary which includes bonus video of the first single Knockdown Dragout, and more.

Sammy Hagar and Friends final track listing as follows:

1. Winding Down (with Taj Mahal)
2. Not Going Down (with Bill Church & Denny Carmassi)
3. Personal Jesus (with Neal Schon, Michael Anthony & Chad Smith)
4. Father Sun (with Denny Carmassi & Aaron Hagar)
5. Knockdown Dragout (with Kid Rock, Joe Satriani, Denny Carmassi)
6. Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man (with David Lauser, Mona Gnader & Vic Johnson)
7. Bad On Fords and Chevrolets (with Ronnie Dunn, David Lauser, Mona Gnader & Vic Johnson)
8. Margaritaville (with Toby Keith)
9. All We Need Is An Island (with Nancy Wilson & Mickey Hart)
10. Going Down (with Neal Schon, Michael Anthony & Chad Smith)
11. Space Station #5 (with Denny Carmassi, Bill Church, Joe Satriani) Live from Ronnie Montrose Tribute * Exclusively available on Deluxe Edition CD

From new original songs including Not Going Down (a song specifically written for Hagar by Jay Buchanan of Rival Sons), Knockdown Dragout, Bad On Fords and Chevrolets, All We Need Is An Island, and Father Sun, to reimagined covers of classics including Bob Seger’s, Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man, and Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus, Hagar has masterfully assembled an album that delves into rock, country, pop, blues and zydeco.

Visit Sammy at the following sites:

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