In a brand new interview with “Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon”, drummer Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER, AVENGED SEVENFOLD) was once again asked about the status of THE WINERY DOGS, his power trio with guitarist/vocalist Richie Kotzen and legendary bassist Billy Sheehan (MR. BIG, TALAS, DAVID LEE ROTH). He said (hear audio below): “I don’t know when we’ll reconvene [to make another album], but I surely hope we do. I know all three of us love that band and we love working together, so it’s a matter of Richie kind of just getting his rocks off on his own. He’s just enjoying doing his own thing. He’s always been a little… um… I don’t wanna say ‘scared’… I’ll say, like, ‘hesitant’ to commit to a full-time band for the rest of his life. He spent so much of his life and career as a solo artist, and then once he got swept up in THE WINERY DOGS for two back-to-back cycles, which lasted maybe four or five years, I think it maybe overwhelmed him a bit and he just needed to step away and breathe and not have to be so committed to something. He likes to kind of just float on his own terms and his own schedule and do his own thing, which I can totally respect. So, at this point, when he’s ready, I know Billy and I would love to do some more. So we’ll see. It’s just a matter of when.”
In 2016, THE WINERY DOGS completed a tour in support of their sophomore album, “Hot Streak”, which was released in October 2015 in North America via Loud & Proud Records.
“Hot Streak” debuted at No. 30 on The Billboard 200 chart, having shifted 13,000 equivalent album units in the week ending October 8, 2015.
Kotzen recently said that it “made sense” for THE WINERY DOGS to take a break after “Hot Streak”. “We did the first record [2013’s self-titled album]; it did really, really well,” he said. “I mean, it really did well, that record. Considering what was going on — or what is going on — with record sales, that record did really well. And so, because of that, we dove right back into another album cycle [with ‘Hot Streak’]. And after that album cycle, I thought it made sense to kind of take a break, because it’s, like, you’re not always gonna roll the point… I thought in my mind, ‘Well, this worked. It was fun. It was really cool. But I kind of wanna go back to being Richie for a while and doing what I was doing before.’ And Billy has a franchise band with MR. BIG; they continue to make great music and tour. And Mike, although I’m sure he loves playing with THE WINERY DOGS, his ability on the instrument and his style, with the progressive rock thing, that’s something he needs to do too, ’cause that’s in his blood — he’s gotta do that. So it makes sense that we would go back and do what we were doing before. But it also makes sense that, eventually, we’ll reconvene and do something again.”
THE WINERY DOGS reunited for their first live performance in almost a year in August 2017 during the “Ultimate Jam Night” at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, California. The event honored ADRENALINE MOB bassist David “Z” Zablidowsky, who died in a tour accident.
Mike and Billy are currently involved in a new project called SONS OF APOLLO, whose debut album, “Psychotic Symphony”, was released last October by InsideOut Music.