The official music video for “Solar Fire”, the fourth single from Adrian Smith and Richie Kotzen‘s critically acclaimed project SMITH/KOTZEN, can be seen below. The song features Adrian‘s IRON MAIDEN bandmate Nicko McBrain on drums. The clip was shot in Los Angeles in April where Richie and Adrian sang and performed together in the same room for the first time since recording the album in Turks & Caicos back in January 2020. The resulting visual chemistry showcases two world-class guitarists who perfectly complement each other, coupled with a stellar drum-and-bass lineup. The result: a punchy, powerful visual and audio experience which makes you long to see this group play live.
“Smith/Kotzen” was released in March via BMG. Mixed by Kevin “Caveman” Shirley, the nine-track opus features an additional guest performance by Richie‘s longstanding friend and touring partner Tal Bergman on drums for “You Don’t Know Me”, “I Wanna Stay” and “‘Til Tomorrow”, with Richie picking up the sticks on the other five songs.
Smith comments: “Richie and I started working together a couple of years ago. We’d been jamming as we’d been friends for a few years before that. We both share a love for classic rock and bluesy rock, so we decided to get together and start writing some songs and it went from there. Pretty much everything on the album is handled between Richie and myself, including the production. We had developed a really strong idea of how we wanted it to sound, and I’m very pleased with how it turned out. There’s a lot of cool songs on there that we are really happy with.”
Kotzen adds: “We had a very fluid process in writing. Sometimes Adrian would send me a riff and I would immediately hear some kind of melody or a vocal idea. And sometimes it was the other way round, so it was a kind of circular motion. We’d get together whenever we could and throw some ideas around and it just evolved, which was great because there was no pressure and nothing other than just a natural course and I think the record really speaks for that.”
Smith is best known as one of IRON MAIDEN‘s principal guitarists, having also enjoyed success as a solo artist. Kotzen is the frontman for THE WINERY DOGS as well as having been the guitarist for both MR. BIG and POISON during his long and acclaimed career, which has to date seen him release more than 20 solo albums. Both artists are also prolific songwriters.
Adrian comments, “I think Richie and I complement each other really well. He’s a virtuoso guitarist but he’s got a great sense of melody — the whole thing just felt very natural.”
Richie adds: “We found common ground in classic and blues-based rock — we both come from that mentality. We’ve been writing and recording together for the past year and I’m ecstatic with the results.”