BMG will release a limited-edition 1 inch black vinyl of four previously unreleased tracks by Adrian Smith and Richie Kotzen‘s project Smith/Kotzen on November 26th in conjunction with international Record Store Day’s Black Friday event. The Better Days EP reflects the ongoing strength of the dynamic writing and recording partnership between these two world-class musicians, following their eponymous debut album released in March 2021 to media and fan acclaim, charting in the Top 20 in markets such as U.K., Germany, U.S. and Canada, a tremendous accomplishment for an inaugural collaboration project.

Better Days continues this trajectory with its huge hooks and driving riffs, coupled with the pair’s now-traditional vocal trade-offs building to crescendo with its soaring, unforgettable chorus, see the video below.

The full track listing is:

1. Better Days 
2. Got A Hold On Me 
3. Hate And Love 
4. Rise Again

The final two songs on the EP were recorded at Windermere on Turks & Caicos Islands in March 2020. Better Days and Got A Hold On Me followed at The House recording studio in Los Angeles in April 2021 when Smith/Kotzen were finally able to reconvene after lockdown and to shoot an accompanying video for the title track. As with the Smith/Kotzen album, the EP was produced by Kotzen and Smith, and mixed by Kevin Shirley.

Kotzen comments, “When Adrian came over to L.A. earlier this year, we got together and started throwing ideas around and we very quickly came up with the new songs. ‘Better Days’almost seemed to write itself. It’s got a nice groove to it. Adrian came in with the riff and we came up with a melody for the chorus together, pretty much working to the same formula we used when writing the Smith/Kotzen album, bouncing ideas off each other.”

Smith adds, “Better Days is a song I’m really excited about. I think its slightly different to the songs on the Smith/Kotzen album — it’s kind of heavy but melodic. I’d played Richie the riff and I was looking for a reaction, and I got one. Kind of like the old grey whistle test scenario — there was a spark and we started building the song from there. I’d have an idea, then Richie would have an idea and we’d go back and forth, like building blocks.”

Better Days will be available from all good independent record stores and available as a download.

For more details about the Smith/Kozten release, and to listen to previously released songs, please click on the highlighted song titles: Taking My Chances, Scars, Running and Solar Fire. As always, if you are having trouble viewing any of the media, please refresh your browser.

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4 Responses

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  • RobT on

    Pretty good song, not really that different, but different enough. Like the lead trade off towards the end.
    Nice cover photo too.

  • robert davenport on

    This is a spectacular song , love this collaboration hope they stay together making music !

  • T on

    We knew Richie could sing, but who knew Adrian had a nice bluesy lead voice. I like the story line video accompanying the song, like the music video’s of the old days had. Richie seems to like a combo of rock, pop and blues. I still think his voice reminds me of Chris Cornell a little (which is not a bad thing). I wouldn’t mind seeing Michael Anthony join this band and add a nice third harmony;)

    • Dana on


      I was also shocked by Smith’s soulful, Joe Bonamassa-esque type vocals, especially on Scars.

      D 🙂

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