THE WINERY DOGS 'Will Go Back Into Hibernation For Foreseeable Future' After MIKE PORTNOY's Return To DREAM THEATER

May 12, 2024

In a new interview with The Hook Rocks podcast, Richie Kotzen spoke about his decision to release a new solo single, "Cheap Shots", earlier this month after completing nearly a hundred shows in support of THE WINERY DOGS' third album, last year's "III". He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I was of mind to follow course with THE WINERY DOGS as we were. We made the ['III'] album, we did 95 shows and I was of mind to just keep going. And then, obviously, Mike [Portnoy, THE WINERY DOGS drummer] had the opportunity to go back to DREAM THEATER. And so we had a conversation and, obviously, Billy [Sheehan, THE WINERY DOGS bassist] and I were very supportive because we love Mike. The attitude is we love having the band, but as people, the people are more important. So if Mike has something that is dear to him and important that he is excited and motivated to do, then, obviously, that's what he needs to do. So we had the conversation that [he had our] full support, we think it's great. It's exciting, actually, as a music fan. Forget about THE WINERY DOGS for a second and me, but as a music fan, it's exciting. So, that's why the touring, we put a period on it."

He continued: "Unlike where I was at previously [when THE WINERY DOGS went on a three-year hiatus in 2016], I can say that I was of mind to stay the course and keep going. But that's not where we are. And so I came home and went back to looking at the ideas that I had, and I had over 300 audio files in my recorder app. And I started listening to things, and I moved them all into my desktop computer and I started listening to things and I found one, two, three, four, five. 'Wow, I've got some really cool things to work with here. Let me develop it.' And now here I am with a new single out and I've got tour dates booked. I'm going to Europe in June. I'm gonna be touring extensively in North America starting in September and I'm gonna release a solo album in the fall. So everything works the way it's gonna work. You're dealt your cards and you play your hand. And so here we are. And I feel great. I feel really great about it. I feel great about what we did last year with THE WINERY DOGS. I'm completely fine with the fact that the DOGS will go back into hibernation for the foreseeable future. I'm fine with now going back to doing what it was that I was doing before. I'm very comfortable there — very inspired to do it. And Adrian and I also have some new music and we're making plans. So the future is very bright and very inspired."

Last November, during the question-and-answer portion of Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy Camp's "Metalmania III" in Los Angeles, Portnoy was asked about the status of some of his other projects, including THE WINERY DOGS and SONS OF APOLLO, and how they will be affected by his return to DREAM THEATER. He responded: " Before the DREAM THEATER thing happened, I think I was up to like seven bands or something, or eight, or something like that. So, obviously I won't be able to do all of them, and right now the focus is going back to DREAM THEATER and focusing on that. So, I have a feeling some of the bands will survive and some won't. But I think THE WINERY DOGS, it's very likely that THE WINERY DOGS will continue…. We just filmed a live Blu-ray last week at the last show in Europe, so that'll be coming out.

"But, yeah, there's still other things on my schedule," he added, referencing a show with METAL ALLEGIANCE in January 2024 in Anaheim, and some shows with FLYING COLORS. "So I still do have these other obligations and these other things that I still have on the calendar with all these other bands. But I think once all of those obligations clear, I'm gonna focus on DREAM THEATER at least for a while."

"III" was released in February 2023 on THE WINERY DOGS' Three Dog Music label (via Burnside Distribution/The Orchard) and is available on all digital formats. The first two videos from "III", "Mad World" and "Xanadu", were filmed in Los Angeles in November 2022.

The second leg of THE WINERY DOGS' "202III World Tour" included sold-out shows throughout Latin America, and it concluded in Monterrey, Mexico. They then headed out for the third leg, West Coast U.S. dates, beginning in May 2023 in Los Angeles, California at the Regent Theater before hopping over to Europe for two runs in both the summer and fall. A Japanese run of shows followed in November 2023.

"III" was the follow-up to the band's critically acclaimed and Billboard-charting album "Hot Streak", which was released in October 2015 on Loud & Proud Records via RED (a division of Sony Music Entertainment).

Photo credit: Travis Shinn

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