That Metal Gear: Richie Kotzen – The Winery Dog Talks Telecasters And Guitar Tricks

by (@BHSmithNYC)


What’s your favorite song to play live and why?

I have a couple that are favorites. One of my songs, “Doin’ What The Devil Says To Do” is one of my favorites just because of the lyrics. It’s one of those certain songs, as a singer, that can be difficult to sing live and for some reason that song, no matter what condition my voice is in, I can always kind of “eek” it out. Not that it’s easy to sing, but it’s one that connects well, that I really enjoy. And also with The Winery Dogs I love playing the song “Regret,” which is the closing song on our record.

What gear are you playing live these days?

I’ve been using my signature Fender. Telecaster. There’s a Strat as well, but I’ve been using the Telecaster consistently now for the last ten years. The guitar was kind of tweaked by me so it’s easy. You know, I just pick it up, I feel comfortable, I don’t have to think. For the amps I’ve been using Fender amps too. I use the Fender Vibro-King with a 212 cab on it, so it’s three 10” speakers and two 12” speakers on the bottom.

You use a lot of Fender gear between the Telecasters and the Vibro-Kings combos. That’s not what people usually think of as hard rock gear. How did you end up using that stuff?

It’s just because of the way I play. I mean, I’m not really a “hard rock” player per se. I mean, I love rock and I love metal—I grew up listening to Iron Maiden and Ozzy—but there’s a lot of other things that I’m into as well that I grew up listening to. So in order to cover the scope of what it is that I want to play on the instrument, Telecasters are really transparent guitars. It just magnifies what you’re doing so if you’re playing sloppy, you sound sloppy. There’s kind of no forgiveness, you know? But it’s really important to me to have that dynamic range because when I intentionally play quiet, I want it to be calm and controlled. And if I want it aggressive, I play aggressive and it’s aggressive. So for me it’s just the perfect blank canvas to be creative with.

Richie trades licks with the great Billy Sheehan in Winery Dogs.

Richie trades licks with the great Billy Sheehan in Winery Dogs.