• Adrian Smith + Richie Kotzen Collab Album Officially Unveiled

    Iron Maiden’s Adrian Smith and Richie Kotzen (The Winery Dogs, ex-Mr. Big, ex-Poison) have officially unveiled their collaborative debut album, aptly titled Smith/Kotzen. The nine-song record will arrive on March 26 and the music video for the opening track, “Taking My Chances,” has just premiered.

    The guitar duo both live nearby in Los Angeles and recorded and produced the new album together at Turks and Caicos Islands in February of last year, while Kevin “Caveman” Shirley (Iron Maiden, Rush, The Black Crowes, Dream Theater) handled the mixing duties.

    Smith/Kotzen also features the work of three different drummers. Smith’s Maiden bandmate Nicko McBrain guests on “Solar Fire,” longtime friend and touring partner Tal Bergman played on “You Don’t Know Me,” “‘Til Tomorrow” and “I Wanna Stay” and Kotzen handled the remaining tracks himself.

    “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,” began Smith when reflecting on how the project was initiated.

    “Pretty much everything on the album is handled between Richie and myself including the production,” the Maiden guitarist went on. “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.”

    We had a very fluid process in writing,” beamed Kotzen. “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.”

    Watch the music video for “Taking My Chances” directly below and view the album art and track listing further down the page. To pre-order Smith/Kotzen, out March 26 through BMG, head here.

    Adrian Smith + Richie Kotzen, “Taking My Chances” Music Video

    Adrian Smith + Richie Kotzen, Smith/Kotzen Album Art + Track Listing

    1. “Taking My Chances”
    2. “Running”
    3. “Scars”
    4. “Some People”
    5. “Glory Road”
    6. “Solar Fire”
    7. “You Don’t Know Me”
    8. “I Wanna Stay”
    9. “‘Til Tomorrow”



  • Trapt Drummer Michael Smith Quits Band, Issues Statement

    Trapt drummer Michael Smith has officially quit the band and issued a lengthy statement detailing his decision.

    The move comes after a tumultuous year for Trapt, who were entangled in headlines concerning the social media outbursts of singer Chris Taylor Brown. The singer was heavily critical of the Black Lives Matter movement, spread misinformation regarding the coronavirus pandemic and was eventually booted from Instagram, Facebook and Twitter following his defense of adult women engaging in sexual relations with underage males as well as his use of hate speech.

    Smith, who did not play in Trapt’s 2020 record, Shadow Work (Adam Prentice is credited on the record, per a press release from May of last year), said his decision to step down from the group is “bittersweet” and that some of the public stances taken on behalf of the band (via Brown) were not representative of his individualistic views.

    The drummer further cited the reaction the band received from the public regarding these controversial stances as another contributing factor to his exit. “I do not agree with how certain things have been handled towards our fans and the music community who I have such an immense respect for,” said Smith, in part.

    Read the full statement below.

    After playing drums for Trapt for the past couple years, I have decided to step down from the band. This is definitely a bittersweet decision. There have been some ongoing issues (primarily political) throughout 2020 that many of you may know about, others may not. If you’re curious, it’s just a google search away. I respect everyone’s right to have an opinion on politics. But at the end of the day, I am a musician and my job is to play and create music. So that is what I plan on doing.

    As I still communicate and have great relationships with the guys in the band, I will only speak for myself. The stances taken, and publicity received as a result are not representative of myself. Not as an individual, nor fitting or aligned with my personal morals and beliefs. I do not agree with how certain things have been handled towards our fans and the music community who I have such an immense respect for.

    I would not be able to have a career in music and/or be fortunate enough to sustain my livelihood without the amazing support of everybody involved (from fans to venue staff, to musician peers, etc.) So thank you to those out there who have been a part of supporting and enabling me to use my gifts and talents, and allowing me to press forward in my musical journey.

    It has been one of the best periods in my life the past couple years. But when it comes down to it, I do not agree with a lot of things morally and the publicity the band has received, mainly this past year in 2020…It is time for me to move on and pursue other avenues and projects.

    A huge thank you to everyone who has supported my musical journey thus far…

    In December, it was erroneously reported that Brown had been fired from Trapt after online trolls created fake Trapt accounts on the social media platform Parler.