THE WINERY DOGS Are 'Very Excited' About Upcoming Third Album

September 21, 2022

In a new interview with Jeff Gaudiosi of, legendary bassist Billy Sheehan (MR. BIG, TALAS, DAVID LEE ROTH) spoke about the progress of the recording sessions for the third album from THE WINERY DOGS, his power trio with guitarist/vocalist Richie Kotzen and drummer Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER, AVENGED SEVENFOLD). He said: "New record is done. I even saw the cover for it. It's moving along. It takes a while to get it mixed and mastered. All the cover art is coming. We don't have a release date yet, but it's coming.

"I had dinner with Richie last night; he's here in Nashville today," Billy continued. "I'm gonna go out and see him play tonight. [He's] just a wonderful talent and a wonderful guy. And we hung a lot together as well — me, Richie and Pat Torpey [late MR. BIG drummer] jammed together a lot. Pat and I played on a couple of songs of his over the years. And I played with him on some of his solo stuff. We went to Japan one time and opened for THE [ROLLING] STONES for five shows — me and Richie and another drummer. That was quite an adventure a few years ago. And he played briefly in MR. BIG as well; when Paul [Gilbert] left the band, we brought him in. [He] did an amazing job too; it was really great. Mike Portnoy, again, there's a guy was just an incredible history, a track record. And I really enjoy playing with him very, very much. Bass and drums — that's where it's at. So playing with Mike is a riot.

"So we're looking forward," Sheehan added. "They're booking all the shows for next year now. Usually they do that around a year in advance, if not more. So that's been an ongoing thing for our manager, putting all that together. So we'll be out playing like crazy next year, which I'm very, very pleased about, and with a new record. And we're all very excited about it."

This past February, Kotzen told SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" that THE WINERY DOGS recorded 10 songs for their third album. "But we did actually talk about maybe getting together again, just 'cause we like spending time together," he said. "So I don't know if there's gonna be more. But there's 10 that I'm very happy with, and I think people that like the band will be happy with it as well."

In January, Richie told "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" about the musical direction of the new WINERY DOGS material and how it compares to the band's first two albums: "Well, you know, we never discuss direction; we just go and write and see what comes out. But in sitting back and listening to it, as it is now in its current state, it reminds me more of the first album than the second album, only because on the second album, I think, the production, we went into a few different directions. Some of the songs — I don't know — I think we explored some territory on the second record that didn't exist on the first record. And this stuff, to me, sounds a little more raw, I guess you'd say — maybe more true to what the band sounds like live, like a trio. It might be 'cause I didn't really do a lot of overdubs — it's really just guitar, bass and drums. Like I said, I don't know where it's gonna end up, 'cause there's still plenty of opportunity for me to totally fuck this thing up. Nah, I think it's gonna be good; I think people are gonna like it. I play it in my car here and there, and I like it. Like I said, it's just a matter of getting their voices on there — some harmonies — and some percussion. Maybe a couple of little guitar [bits] — maybe I'll double a couple of lines here or there; that sort of thing. But I'm trying to keep it pretty raw, pretty power trio-sounding."

THE WINERY DOGS were founded in 2012 after Portnoy and Sheehan — who initially aimed to collaborate with former WHITESNAKE and BLUE MURDER guitarist John Sykes — reached out to Kotzen, who played with Sheehan in MR. BIG from 1997 to 2002. The group's self-titled debut reached No. 27 on the Billboard 200 after selling more than 10,000 copies in the U.S. during its first week of availability. The initial sales of follow-up effort "Hot Streak" were even better, as the album debuted at No. 30 in late 2015 after shifting 13,000 equivalent album units in America during its first week of availability.

In September 2021, Mike told "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" about the new WINERY OGS music: "I would say somewhere [between the first and the second albums]. It's hard for me to have that real perspective that anybody listening does 'cause when you're writing and recording it, it all becomes important to you. It's hard to tell; it's hard to have that perspective.

"The first album is just song after song after song — there's no moments of weakness at any point — whereas 'Hot Streak', I guess, we did some more experimental stuff, songs like 'Spiral' or 'War Machine', songs on the back end that were more kind of experimental things," he explained. "So I would say, if I had to compare it, it's probably more like the first album because we also consciously decided to stop at around 10 or 11 songs. 'Cause both the first album and 'Hot Streak', I think, had 13 or 14 songs. People like you and I, we love everything, we love music and we dig in, but for a lot of people, the attention span for a 14-song album could be a bit much. So when writing this album, we decided, let's just come up with 10 or 11 that are really super strong. Nothing too experimental, nothing too off the beaten path from what people expect from THE WINERY DOGS. So I think everything on this album is super strong from top to bottom."

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