The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Lex Hall

Salt­ing Earth Richie Kotzen Head­room-Inc Amer­i­can glam-rock band Poi­son came close to im­plod­ing at the 1991 MTV awards. Gui­tarist CC DeVille, mired in co­caine and booze, played the wrong song, had a fist­fight with singer Bret Michaels and promptly was fired. In hind­sight, it was an ideal out­come. Michaels found a bet­ter gui­tarist: fel­low Penn­syl­va­nian Richie Kotzen, who of­fered tech­nique and mys­tique in equal mea­sure. But this be­ing Poi­son, ten­sions soon sur­faced. Kotzen lasted a year, booted out af­ter he was found to be hav­ing an af­fair with the fi­ancee of drum­mer Rikki Rockett. Kotzen, 47, has since gone on to big­ger projects. He sup­ported the Rolling Stones in 2006 and be­fore that re­placed Paul Gil­bert in vir­tu­oso trio Mr Big. Kotzen burst on to the scene as a “shred­der”, known for the kind of light­ning-fast sweeps that met­al­heads love. This al­bum, his 22nd solo ef­fort, un­der­lines his ta­lent as a song­writer, multi-in­stru­men­tal­ist, com­poser and, above all, vo­cal­ist. The open­ing track, End of Earth, has the gravel and groove that David Coverdale brought to Deep Pur­ple. There’s a soul­ful falsetto here, too, on Can­non Ball and the acous­tic, in­tro­spec­tive, funk bal­lad, Grammy. I’ve Got You is catchy rock groove, but the stand­out is Meds, pow­ered by a slink­ing bassline and suit­ably melo­dra­matic cho­rus. Kotzen plays Bris­bane, Syd­ney and Mel­bourne in Au­gust.

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