During an appearance on the latest episode of “The Chuck Shute Podcast”, guitarist/vocalist Richie Kotzen spoke about the progress of the recording sessions for the third album from THE WINERY DOGS, his power trio with legendary bassist Billy Sheehan (MR. BIG, TALAS, DAVID LEE ROTH) and drummer Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER, AVENGED SEVENFOLD).
He said “THE WINERY DOGS, the third album, the music exists. It’s been mixed. It’s been approved, and it has been mastered. So what we’re looking at now is when are we going to put it out? But the consensus seems to be that next year, 2023, will be THE WINERY DOGS year. I think the three of us really are excited about getting back at it. It’s been way too long.” Kotzen went on to say that dates are being put together for THE WINERY DOGS‘ upcoming tour, which is expected to kick off early next year.
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.
Last September, 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.”