Kotzen: “We’ve got an acoustic set, and I’ll play some piano, too. "
  • Kotzen: “We’ve got an acoustic set, and I’ll play some piano, too. "
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“Where’s that place in San Diego where they have all those little galleries and restaurants — is it the Gaslamp?” Richie Kotzen asks. “Is that what they call it?” He checks in by phone from his new Los Angeles–area digs. “I love to walk around there. It’s fun to go out at night and hook up with people I don’t know.” He was given a book once on such a Gaslamp walkabout, by a gallery owner. “I still have that book. It’s here in this house, somewhere.”

Past Event

Richie Kotzen and Points North

  • Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 7 p.m.
  • Brick by Brick, 1130 Buenos Avenue, San Diego
  • 21+ / $25 - $30

By the time Kotzen lands in San Diego with his trio, his new album Salting Earth will have been released. “I’m more excited about this tour than any other tour before,” says the veteran of some 22 album releases. One reason is the band. “We’re so connected right now. We’re opening up new things in the show. That’s what it is — a show.” Kotzen explains that in years past, he didn’t even have a set list. “We’ve got an acoustic set, and I’ll play some piano, too. There are certain older songs that people love and expect, and I’ve got some surprises.”

The blues-flavored hard rock Kotzen’s making on his own (and with side project the Winery Dogs) bears no resemblance to his early-’90s gig as resident guitar shredder for glam rocker Bret Michaels in Poison and later, as a member of Mr. Big.

I ask about his creative process. The Pennsylvania transplant with a dual-octave scorched-earth voice says that whole ideas (meaning lyrics and melody) often arrive together at the same time. “I woke up at 3:30 in the morning from a dead sleep once with an entire song in my head. I went into my home studio — everything is always turned on — and by 7:30 that morning, it was finished. I strike while the iron’s hot.”

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