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Richie Kotzen

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Richie Kotzen is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter.

Born in Reading, Pennsylvania on February 3, 1970, Richie Kotzen was soon taken by music and first began playing piano at the age of five. At the age of seven he was inspired by New York City band Kiss to learn the electric guitar. Relentlessly developing chops and his own unique voice on the guitar, Kotzen was eventually discovered by Shrapnel Records’ Mike Varney, and he recorded his first album by the age of 18. During that same year, he also graced the cover of several publications including Guitar World Magazine. He created the video Rock Chops for REH video in 1989, highlighting many of his formative techniques, including using wide-intervals and fluid sweeping.

In 1993, Kotzen made his big break when he joined the rock band Poison at age 20, co-writing and performing on the album Native Tongue. This album produced two top twenty singles which Richie wrote, Stand and Until You Suffer Some. Kotzen was subsequently fired from the band when it was discovered that he had been romantically involved with Deanna Eve, the ex-fiance of Poison drummer Rikki Rockett. Kotzen and Eve later married and divorced. In 1999 Kotzen replaced Paul Gilbert as guitarist in the mainstream rock band Mr. Big. Kotzen maintained the band’s enormous success, performing on the Mr. Big record Get Over It, which sold more than 1,975,000 copies in its first two weeks in Japan, eventually reaching platinum status. Kotzen also contributed guitars to Mr. Big’s subsequent release Actual Size. The record included the Kotzen song Shine, which debuted at number one on Japanese radio charts.

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