In a new interview with Tulsa Music Stream, legendary bassist Billy Sheehan (MR. BIG, TALAS, DAVID LEE ROTH) spoke about the upcoming third album from THE WINERY DOGS, his power trio with guitarist/vocalist Richie Kotzen and drummer Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER, AVENGED SEVENFOLD). Asked if the band is still writing material for the follow-up to 2015's "Hot Streak" or if it has begun recording, Sheehan said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "A little of both, but it's mostly writing. We write like people used to write in the old days: the band gets together in a room and we start figuring things out. And I love it that way as opposed to getting outside writers or having one guy be the writer and everybody plays his songs. So we work together as a band quite well."
Sheehan went on to say that the latest THE WINERY DOGS writing session in Los Angeles in early July "went really swimmingly. We weren't killing ourselves, but we were working hard," he said. "We've got about eight or 10 things ready to go. We're gonna go back and do it again at the end of this month for another session. And if, at that point, we feel we've got a great record, in our humble opinion, we wil go ahead and [record] it. If not, we'll write some more."
Billy also addressed the long gap between "Hot Streak" and THE WINERY DOGS' upcoming album, which is not expected before 2022, saying: "THE WINERY DOGS, we did really great. That first record [2013's 'The Winery Dogs'], we got lucky. Eddie Trunk was a huge help to us. And it sold great. Our attendance at shows was amazing. And we're very, very grateful for it. Then, not long after, we did our second record, 'Hot Streak', and that did really well too. Usually the second record, it's a little bit more iffy, but it was fantastic. So we thought instead of just doing record, tour, record, tour, record, tour, record, tour and burning out, let's all go off and do our thing and meet back up here in a couple of years when we have some stories to tell again. I think that was the beauty of the first record, and even the second record — the stories that we had saved up for years were the basis of songs. [The songs were] not necessarily about those things, but [they] were the inspiration for songs. And so it enabled us to open up a broad spectrum of subjects to write about. So now that we've all gone off and lived our lives for a few years and done a lot more things, back together we've got a lot more stories to talk about. We're very happily inspired."
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 January 2020, Portnoy told Sonic Perspectives that THE WINERY DOGS' 2019 tour was done "just for the fun of it — just for no other reason than to play together again, because it had been a few years. I think it reignited our love for each other, and I think it showed us that there's still so many fans out there that love this band," he explained. "It reignited our desire to make another record, so I think as soon as we can, we will."