THE WINERY DOGS, the new power trio featuring Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER, AVENGED SEVENFOLD, ADRENALINE MOB), Billy Sheehan (MR. BIG) and Richie Kotzen (MR. BIG, POISON), has inked a deal with Loud Proud Records. The band’s self-titled debut album will be released in North America on July 23. Issued 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. Sheehan previously stated about the effort: “I’m really pleased with it. Richie sang his ass off and played amazingly unique stuff, and, of course Mike annihilated on drums. [It’s a] really cool, unique record.”
Of THE WINERY DOGS‘ signing, Portnoy commented: “I am so excited about THE WINERY DOGS and am proud and honored to be working with two of the greatest musicians on the planet!
“Richie Kotzen is such an unbelievable talent, as a vocalist, guitarist and songwriter. I think THE WINERY DOGS will finally get him the attention and recognition that he so richly deserves.
“And what can be said of Billy Sheehan that hasn’t been said already? He is one the true pioneers of the instrument and a legend.
“I am looking forward to working with the great staff of Loud Proud Records, some of whom I worked very closely with during their time at Roadrunner and my time with DREAM THEATER. I look forward to continuing that relationship with THE WINERY DOGS!”
Loud Proud owner and president Tom Lipsky added: “The debut by THE WINERY DOGS absolutely rocks and we are very excited that Loud Proud is their label partner. This body of work showcases not only their renowned skills as musicians and vocalists, but also the depth of their talent as songwriters. Billy, Mike and Richie delivered some of the best performances of their illustrious careers and I am confident this album will be recognized as one of the truly great rock albums of the year.”
Regarding how THE WINERY DOGS got its name, Portnoy said: “It was Richie’s name. We had a list of about 50 names. I had about 10 that I preferred over THE WINERY DOGS, but you know, when you’re in a band, you have to give and take and choose your battles, and Richie really, really loved this band name. So, you know, it was, like, ‘OK.’ A name is a name. If you feel that strongly about it, then go for it. So that’s who we are.”
THE WINERY DOGS will kick off its world tour by playing two shows in Japan this summer: July 16 in Osaka and July 17 in Tokyo. Dates for the rest of the world will be announced soon.
“The Winery Dogs” track listing:
03. We Are One
04. I’m No Angel
05. The Other Side
06. You Saved Me
07. Not Hopeless
08. One More Time
10. Six Feet Deeper
12. The Dying
DVD (limited edition):
03. I’m No Angel
“We Are One” is available for free download using the widget below (e-mail sign-up required).
At the end of 2011, Portnoy and Sheehan tapped Kotzen to be the guitarist/vocalist of their new project following the departure of John Sykes (WHITESNAKE, BLUE MURDER, THIN LIZZY).
Although Portnoy and Sykes demoed a dozen or so songs at a Los Angeles studio in 2011, their vastly different work ethics and conflicting schedules were solely to blame for the dissolution of their collaboration.
During an interview that aired on the July 13, 2012 edition of Eddie Trunk‘s “Friday Night Rocks” radio show on New York’s Q104.3 FM, Portnoy said, “I love John personally, and we get along great — he’s a sweetheart of a guy — but I need to keep moving. I can’t sit still and kind of wait to make an album over the next three years, I need to put things on the calendar and move forward and get them done, and John‘s kind of just a ‘wait, wait, wait’ guy. Sadly, it kind of just stopped in its tracks, and Billy and I said, ‘Look, let’s do something.’ And you [Eddie] were the one, actually, that suggested Richie Kotzen and I thought it was a brilliant suggestion, because he’s an unbelievably underrated talent, not only [as] a guitar player but a phemonal singer, and just an amazing songwriter and artist. I think people just kind of lump him, or write him off as the guy that was with POISON and MR. BIG. I think they have no idea what he’s really capable of.”
When asked to describe the musical direction of the project, Portnoy said, “It’s a classic-rock kind of power-trio sound. If you picture the classic-rock bands of… the classic ones — [LED] ZEPPELIN, CREAM, [JIMI] HENDRIX, GRAND FUNK [RAILROAD] — if you take that classic-rock power-trio sound of the early ’70s, and then you sprinkle it on top with some of the modern kind of sounds of SOUNDGARDEN and ALICE IN CHAINS or BLACK CROWES or LENNY KRAVITZ… It’s in that vein; it’s kind of a [mixture] of all of those bands. But on top of it all you’ve got the phenomenal playing that Richie and Billy do, and I could play a couple of things on the drums as well [chuckles], so… And all three of us are singing — Richie is the lead vocalist, obviously, but me and Billy are also singing.”