Sparks frequently fly on Smith/Kotzen partnership's debut album

Unlikely pairing Adrian Smith and Richie Kotzen make for a harmonious partnership

Smith/Kotzen - Smith/Kotzen
(Image: © BMG)

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Funk and rock have been snug bedfellows since Jimi Hendrix, Sly Stone and Funkadelic pioneered the crossover in the late 60s. 

Guitarists Richie Kotzen (Poison, Mr. Big) and Adrian Smith (Iron Maiden) may initially appear to be a less obvious pairing, but this album tells a different story. 

Neighbours in California, the pair’s decision to make music together flowed naturally after they struck up a friendship.

The same natural flow permeates their vocal duets and the organic, rootsy chemistry of their songwriting, splicing the funky feel of Kotzen’s solo work with a warm, heavy guitar tone on Taking My Chances and the Free-style Glory Road

Smith co-wrote some of Maiden’s more memorable singles, and several tracks here land hooks like Muhammad Ali (Solar Fire, Running). 

Sparks frequently fly as the pair trade tasteful, bluesy guitar licks and solos, each spurring the other on to elevate the songs.

Rich Davenport

Rich Davenport is a music journalist, stand-up comedian and musician, and has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock since 2016