Interview and Live Photos by Robert Cavuoto
The Winery Dogs are back in full force with their third album, aptly titled III, which will be released on February 3, 2023, on the band’s Three Dog Music label via Burnside Distribution/The Orchard.
The Winery Dogs are a hard-rocking blues trio featuring three of the rock’s most talented musicians; Richie Kotzen on vocals and guitar, Mike Portnoy on drums, and Billy Sheehan on bass. They are a charismatic and talented group of musicians whose careers intersected in 2012 like fate to form the band. From the onset of their debut album, they continue to offer fans the perfect combination of impressive playing, star wattage, and hard-rocking blues bravado.
Their long-awaited new album, III, has fans excited, perhaps in part to the music and the appeal that each member is in multiple bands simultaneously and have solo careers, so when the planets and stars align, fans feel as if it’s a gift from above.
On III, Richie takes listeners on a journey, expressing himself vocally and musically, while Billy and Mike add their nuances and powerful playing to help elevate the song’s musical presentation. The 11-song release features Richie’s soulful voice, punchy breaks, and memorable songs packed with flavor like the dynamic “Stars,” “Rise, “Xanadu,” and their new single, “Mad World.”
Together they communicate telepathically in a musical language of lightning-quick arpeggios, unison runs, and polyrhythmic sections. It is all executed organically and flawlessly, leaving fans in awe of their abilities.
I had the honor of speaking with one of the most talented and prolific drummers of our time, Mike Portnoy, about the unique chemistry within the band, their ability to communicate telepathically when it comes to making music, the organic approach to writing, why they decided to call the new album III, how he never had to audition for a band, and how The Winery Dogs could not continue if one of the members departed!
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