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Iron Maiden's Adrian Smith and Winery Dogs' Richie Kotzen return with new EP – see the video for Better Days

There's an argument to be made that this year's Smith/Kotzen project is a better showcase of Adrian Smith's talents than the new Iron Maiden album. They're clearly having fun with it too as they've followed up their debut album with a new EP for Record Store Day. You can see the video for the title track, Better Days, above.

The EP features four previously unreleased songs from the duo, produced by them with Joe Bonamassa/Iron Maiden producer Kevin Shirley mixing. The title track finds the duo sharing vocals and lead runs in trademark style for a true musical partnership.

Smith/Kotzen

(Image credit: Nino Rakichevich)

"Better Days is a song I’m really excited about," says Smith. "I think its slightly different to the songs on the Smith/Kotzen album – it’s kind of heavy but melodic. I’d played Richie the riff and I was looking for a reaction, and I got one! Kind of like the old grey whistle test scenario – there was a spark and we started building the song from there. I’d have an idea, then Richie would have an idea and we’d go back and forth, like building blocks.”

Better Days almost seemed to write itself

Richie Kotzen

Alongside the EP's Better Days and Got A Hold On Me, there's Hate And Love and Rise Again – two songs completed at The House recording studio in Los Angeles in April 2021 when Smith/Kotzen regrouped after lockdown.

“When Adrian came over to LA earlier this year, we got together and started throwing ideas around and we very quickly came up with the new songs," says Kotzen. "Better Days almost seemed to write itself. It’s got a nice groove to it. 

"Adrian came in with the riff and we came up with a melody for the chorus together, pretty much working to the same formula we used when writing the S/K album, bouncing ideas off each other.”

The Better Days EP will be available from all good Independent record stores and available as a download from hereon 26 November.

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Rob Laing

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before that I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar.