Enlarge ADRIAN SMITH 2020 PROJECT Photo copyright by JOHN McMURTRIE

Current and Ex Members of Iron Maiden and Poison Take Their Chances on New Collaboration

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The 10-year-old in me was delighted to learn today that Adrian Smith has launched a new collaboration with Richie Kotzen.

Smith, of course, is the guitarist for NWOBHM legends Iron Maiden, and therefore has Ultimate Cred status; I don’t think anyone would deny Kotzen’s talent, but a substantial portion of his fame derives from his work with hair metal bands like Poison and Mr. Big, thus qualifying him for a mere Cred Questionable at Best certificate. (Smith, no duh, eventually reunited with Maiden; Kotzen was fired from Poison, reportedly for sleeping with drummer Rikki Rockett’s finacée, which may or may not raise your estimation of him.) But in the early ’90s, when Smith had just left Maiden and Kotzen had just joined Poison, they might easily have been featured side-by-side on the pages of Metal Edge.

Smith and Kotzen’s new project, inventively dubbed ‘Smith/Kotzen,’ has debuted its first single, “Taking My Chances,” and it’s also very early-’90s sounding. But even if you’re not particularly nostalgic for that era, it’s hard to deny the catchiness of this song. There’s also something commendable about two lead guitarists not going overboard with the lead guitars (which is not to say the track wants for sweet guitar solos — but they only take up about thirty seconds of the song’s 4:46 run time).

Says Smith of the song:

“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.”

Adds Kotzen:

“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.”

You can listen to “Taking My Chances” below. The press release promises that there will be “more news to come from Smith/Kotzen early in 2021.” Hopefully around that same time we’ll get to hear something from Murray/DeMartini or Gers/Beach.

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