Richie Kotzen (MR. BIG, POISON) has commented on the rumors that he has been tapped by Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER, AVENGED SEVENFOLD, ADRENALINE MOB) and Billy Sheehan (MR. BIG) to be the guitarist/vocalist of their new project following the recent departure of John Sykes (WHITESNAKE, BLUE MURDER, THIN LIZZY).
Said Kotzen in a post on his Facebook page: “I wanted to address the recent rumor about the project with Billy, Mike, and I… Although we did throw some ideas around, neither of us decided to make any public announcements, so today’s Internet buzz was a surprise. I will say I am a fan of both Mike and Billy. I’m sure a collaboration would produce some interesting results.”
Although Portnoy and Sykes demoed a dozen or so songs at a Los Angeles studio last year, their vastly different work ethics and conflicting schedules were solely to blame for the dissolution of their collaboration. Portnoy explained on Twitter, “Sad but true… I tried my best to make it work… Me and [Billy Sheehan] couldn’t wait around any longer… [Billy] and I are moving on and have already begun work with another guitarist/vocalist, keeping the original ‘power trio’ concept.”
Portnoy and Sheehan were joined by guitarist Tony Macalpine and keyboardist Derek Sherinian (DREAM THEATER, PLANET X, BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION) for an appearance at the SABIAN Live event on Friday, January 20 at the Sheraton Park Hotel (next to the Hilton) in Anaheim, California as part of the the 2012 NAMM (National Association Of Music Merchants) show. Portnoy, Sheehan, Macalpine and Sherinian also performed together on January 14 at the twenty-third annual Guitar Center’s Drum-Off, the nationwide search for the next great undiscovered drummer, at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, California.
Portnoy, who co-founded DREAM THEATER more than 20 years ago, abruptly quit the band in September 2010 while on tour with AVENGED SEVENFOLD. He has since been replaced by Mike Mangini (ANNIHILATOR, EXTREME, JAMES LABRIE, STEVE VAI).
Portnoy played on AVENGED SEVENFOLD‘s latest album, “Nightmare”, following the death of that band’s drummer, Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan, and toured with them for the entire second half of 2010.