Smith/Kotzen come alive on vibrant Better Days... And Nights collection

Iron Maiden and Mr. Big guitarists Adrian Smith and Richie Kotzen stroll down memory lane to blues rock’s heyday on Better Days... And Nights

Smith/Kotzen: Better Days... And Nights cover art
(Image: © BMG)

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Smith/Kotzen might be something of a busman’s holiday for Iron Maiden legend Adrian Smith and Mr. Big/Winery Dogs six-stringer Richie Kotzen, but there’s no denying the passion that shines through in their blues rock-flavoured side project. 

Their latest release, a combination of last year's Better Days EP and live cuts taken from this year’s tour, stylistically throws back to late 60s London, before rock got hard and mutated into heavy metal, chucking up shades of Deep Purple (well, more In Rock and Fireball, but we digress).

Better Days sees Smith/Kotzen hit their strut early on, but it’s on the live renditions of Got A Hold On Me and You Don’t Know Me that the magic is truly captured. 

Their music sounds more vibrant and alive than on record, as the six-string wizardry becomes more pronounced and Kotzen’s voice takes on a throaty yarl pitched somewhere between David Coverdale and Chris Cornell.

Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.