Richie Kotzen Defends His ‘Underrated’ Work With Bret Michaels

Richie Kotzen is satisfied with his work in Poison with Bret Michaels.

The guitarist recently spoke with Classic Rock and talked about his two-year stint in Poison:

“Being in Poison was a great thing for me, despite the fact that as a young man, I don’t think I saw myself being in a band like that for too long. Now I can look back and realise it was an important time for me, and I agree that we made a great album. Bret [Michaels, vocalist] really encouraged me to sing, and that was cool for me.”

Kotzen joined Poison in 1991 when he was 21. He co-wrote and played on their album ‘Native Tongue,’ which had two hit songs, ‘Stand’ and ‘Until You Suffer Some (Fire and Ice).’ In late 1993, he left the band after it was discovered that he started dating Deanna Eve, who was engaged to the band’s drummer, Rikki Rockett.

Kotzen’s Later Interactions With Poison Members

In a 2021 interview with Radio Forrest, Richie was asked if he had met the Poison members since leaving the band. He said:

“We ran into each other shortly after all that. And actually, the bass player [Bobby Dall] and I sat down one night at the Rainbow [in West Hollywood] and had a chat. That was maybe five years after, so the stuff was still relatively fresh. But the funny thing is I ran into Bret Michaels backstage at, I think it was a Rock Fantasy camp, and we hugged. ‘Hey, I love you, bro. Great to see you.’ We had a great talk.”

Kotzen also revealed the other Poison members he ran into:

“C.C. [DeVille, guitar], I ran into him. We were on tour with The Winery Dogs in 2019. The irony there is my tour manager for my solo tours and for The Winery Dogs, that tour manager is C.C. DeVille’s day-to-day guy on the road. So that’s totally ironic; we’re connected there. But the craziest part of it is that my wife Julia, she’s a bass player, and she did a show with Rikki Rockett playing the drums.”

According to the musician, he and Rockett are cool with each other now:

“And I actually overheard… Rikki was in the dressing room as I was coming down the hall, and I heard my name mentioned. Someone must have been asking him something. And I heard Rikki say, ‘I don’t give a f*ck. I haven’t seen the guy in 20 years. I don’t care.’ And then I ran into him, and I said hello, and I shook his hand.”

Kotzen focused on his solo career after leaving Poison. Later, he also performed with Mr. Big for three years from 1999 to 2002. He has been the frontman of The Winery Dogs since 2012.