Biography All Music GuideWikipedia
All Music Guide:
Guitar virtuoso Richie Kotzen burst onto the heavy metal scene as a teenager with a lightning-fast guitar technique. After recording three albums for the Shrapnel label -- including his 1989 self-titled debut, the following year's Fever Dream, and 1991's Electric Joy -- he was recruited into the party-metal group Poison to replace C.C. DeVille, who was forced out of the band due to his substance abuse problems. Kotzen recorded 1993's Native Tongue with the group, and the album showcased his shredding style as well as his blues-based influences. However, Kotzen left the band to return to his solo career, which included collaborations with fellow guitar hero Greg Howe. By the end of the '90s, Kotzen was also working with the latest lineup of Mr. Big, as well as the fusion group Vertú. In 1999 he released Bi-Polar Blues and the following year saw the domestic release of three albums -- Something to Say, Wave of Emotion, and What Is... -- which were previously available only in Japan. Slow and Change arrived in 2003, followed by Get Up in 2004 and Acoustic Cuts the following year. His first compilation, Instrumental Collection: The Shrapnel Years, was released in the summer of 2006, with the all-new Into the Black arriving later that fall.
Richie Kotzen (born February 3, 1970 in Reading, Pennsylvania) is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter.
At a young age, Richie Kotzen was taken by music and first began playing piano at the age of five. At the age of seven he was inspired by the band KISS to learn the electric guitar. Relentlessly developing chops and his own unique voice on the guitar, he started his career in a band named Arthurs Museum. Kotzen was eventually discovered by Shrapnel Records' Mike Varney, and he recorded his first solo album by the age of 19. 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 1991, Kotzen made his big break when he joined the rock band Poison at age 21, co-writing and performing on the album Native Tongue. This album produced two top twenty singles which Richie co-wrote, "Stand" and "Until You Suffer Some (Fire & Ice)". In late-1993, Rikki Rockett, the drummer of Poison, discovered that Kotzen was having a relationship with Rockett's fiancee, Deanna Eve. Kotzen was dismissed due to this incident. In 1999 Kotzen replaced Paul Gilbert as guitarist in the mainstream rock band Mr. Big. Kotzen maintained the band's success, performing on the Mr. Big record Get Over It, which sold more than 175,000 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. Following the disbanding of Mr. Big, Kotzen released the solo album Change, in 2003. The title track, and the song Get A Life were featured in TV commercials throughout Japan.
In 2002 Kotzen bought a commercial building in Los Angeles and established a recording Studio/Production company. He has since been producing acclaimed solo albums and collaborating with various figures in rock (Gene Simmons), jazz, and fusion including jazz legend Stanley Clarke.
In mid-2006 Kotzen was the opening act in Japan for The Rolling Stones on their Bigger Bang tour.
Kotzen recorded an album with Mike Portnoy and Billy Sheehan in August 2012. The band, The Winery Dogs, will release their debut album in May 2013 in Japan.
Guitar playing style 
Kotzen has described his style as a mix of rock, blues, jazz, fusion, and soul music. Of his albums, he claims he is most proud of Vertú. Kotzen utilizes a heavy amount of legato and sweeping in his playing. His main influence were Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eddie Van Halen, Jason Becker - who produced his first album, Allan Holdsworth and many other jazz/fusion players.
Instruments and equipment 
Kotzen has used Fender telecaster electric guitars for most of his career, most notably his signature model Telecasters and Stratocasters, as well as other custom made models. Currently, there are two Richie Kotzen signature models, made by Fender Japan – a Stratocaster (STR-145RK) and a Telecaster (TLR-155RK). Both guitars feature ash bodies with laminated flame maple caps, maple necks and one piece maple fretboards with abalone dot inlays and 22 super jumbo frets. The Telecaster model features a DiMarzio Chopper T pickup in the bridge position (single spaced humbucker) and a DiMarzio Twang King in the neck position. The Stratocaster is fitted with three custom made DiMarzio single coil pickups.
At the beginning of his career, Richie Kotzen used Ibanez guitars and Laney amplifiers before switching to Fender guitars and Marshall amplifiers in the early 1990s. He used Marshall Super Lead, JCM800 and JCM900 models as well as Yamaha DG Series amps in the late 90's. Yamaha DG1000 preamp with Marshall EL34 100/100 poweramp, and Yamaha DG130H, Yamaha DG100 combo etc.
In 2005, Cornford Amplification issued a Richie Kotzen signature model – RK100, a single channel tube amp head developed and designed in collaboration with Kotzen to suit his expansive playing style. There is also a matching signature model speaker cabinet, equipped with four Celestion Vintage 30 12" speakers. Both the amplifier head and the speaker cabinet are the only Cornford models fit with Kotzen-style black tolex covering.
Kotzen prefers not to use many pedals (effects in general) when playing live. However, over the years, he has been using several versions of Sobbat Drivebraker and Glowvibe pedals on top of Marshall amps when not playing with the Cornford. He also uses reverb and delay effects of his signature series Zoom G2R effects processor, which is connected in the effects loop of the amplifier.