THE WINERY DOGS‘ self-titled debut album sold around 10,200 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 27 on The Billboard 200 chart. Released in North America on July 23 via Loud Proud Records and in Japan on May 15 via Victor Entertainment, the CD was mixed by Jay Ruston, who has previously worked with ANTHRAX, ADRENALINE MOB, STONE SOUR and STEEL PANTHER.
“Bands like [LED] ZEPPELIN and THE WHO, THE [ROLLING] STONES, and THE BEATLES, CREAM, and [Jimi] Hendrix. I mean, I grew up with that stuff,” Portnoy told Voice Of America. “And, although I’ve been able to pay tribute to it throughout my career with tribute bands and things like that, I’ve never been in an all-original band that was kind of playing classic rock power trio stuff. That’s how I describe this band: just a straight-up rock band.”
Regarding the songwriting process for THE WINERY DOGS‘ album, Portnoy said: “In all cases, the music was the very first element and from there, Richie would start melodies on top of it. Sometimes the final lyrics were there, coming up on the spot, and other times he would take the melodies and write lyrics later. There were a couple of examples of Richie having something and bringing it in. In those cases, like ‘Damaged’ and ‘Regret’, we just left them. Because in those two particular cases, the songs were great as they were.”
Portnoy was full of praise for his THE WINERY DOGS bandmates, telling Voice Of America: “Billy Sheehan is my favorite bass player on earth and he has been for almost 30 years now. So to work with him and make music with him for me is an honor. And Richie is someone I have the utmost respect for as an artist. I mean, he is just so underappreciated, not only as a guitarist, but as a singer and a writer as well. I think for me, the most exciting aspect of this band is for people to discover Richie that aren’t aware of what a musical genius he is.”