Hi-Fi To Die For - Forty Deuce Print E-mail
Written by Ross Welford   
Sunday, 18 January 2015 04:00

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Forty Deuce - 'Nothing To Lose' (Frontiers Records: 2005)
 
Richie Kotzen is a strange man to pigeon hole and hold down. Whilst he may have risen to prominence in Poison and Mr. Big respectively (and seemingly never got enough credit in either) he's probably more likely to be known for having carved out a name as a no nonsense guitar master and more recently, part of the successful Winery Dogs.
 
I'll be honest, I've bought other stuff of his and it makes me shrug my shoulders - it's 'okay' ... but it's not Forty Duece. I witnessed the man in concert when he played The Underworld, Camden to the biggest crowd I've ever seen there and, again, I left feeling cheated. Sure, he played what all the guitar players watching wanted (it is still to this day the strangest crowd I've seen at a rock concert) but he lacked that bite for me to really enjoy it - that bite that really nailed this album so well.

 

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I'm sure to many, this album slipped under the radar (it's not even listed on Kotzen's Wikipedia page and not mentioned on his own page for fuck's sake!) but out of the blue and with three punk rock, hip as fuck looking mofos, he released a genuinely great rock album. Quite why it happened (allegedly, band member Taki Tamada was a long time fan and asked Kotzen to produce his band and they became friends) is not really important but together with guitarist Taki, bass player Ari and drummer Thr3e they created a genuinely blistering, angry, moody rock record that should be heard.
 
Kotzen's misery and woe-is-me lyrics may not change but together with a more aggressive song style, they turn into genuine, hard rock classics. After a slow, acoustic, short intro a solid, hard hitting 'Oh My God' hits the deck and it's as good as anything the over-rated Velvet Revolver ever recorded. It's certainly a reflective mood he's hitting with lyrics such as "I'm not afraid of taking chances" and "Maybe I need a second chance... or maybe this is who I am?" followed by the flowing rock screams of "How come I'm shit out of luck - Oh My God, I'm shit out of luck, I've fucked up again." 'I Still' follows it up and it's an even better track that showcases what a brilliant rock singer Kotzen is whilst showcasing talent for all concerned in the band.

 

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The aggressive approach displayed may go against what he's known for but on this one album, it's the mark of brilliance that rises it above most bands' output. 'Complicated' is another blistering track that questions every day life and confidence and is one that may start to make you realise that here is a man unburdening his soul and problems and making an effective rock record in the process. 'Standing In The Rain' is the perfect melancholy semi-ballad that hits the spot in so many ways that you'd think this man would be the go-to guy for anyone wanting a hit song.
 
Maybe it wasn't to be and he felt that he was better than this hard-edged, glunk rock, but there seems to be no chance of ever repeating this band (the three other band members seemingly falling out of fame before it even grabbed them) and after only a handful of dates around the world and even fewer YouTube clips and with no official videos to enhance their reputation, this seems to be the one and only Forty Duece album.
 
Kotzen will forever be on my iPod and always in my life because of this one time he truly rocked out.
 
Enjoy it. It's class.

 

 

To pick up your copy of 'Nothing To Lose' - CLICK HERE