The Winery Dogs
The Winery Dogs started out as a project. Mike Portnoy and Billy Sheehan ended one project and were about to start a new one. They needed a lead singer/guitarist to fill the spot. Eddie Trunk heard about this and suggested Richie Kotzen to them. Billy Sheehan and Richie Kotzen have played together before in Mr. Big, so Billy Sheehan knew that Richie Kotzen could potentially fill the spot.They got together at a studio in Los Angeles and at the end of the jam session, they had a few skeletons of songs that would appear on the debut album. The band members all felt there was a chemistry between each other so they decided to record an album together. After their first album having success, they released a live concert DVD called “Unleashed in Japan 2013: The Winery Dogs.”
Prior to the Winery Dogs, all three members have had success with other bands. Richie Kotzen was known for playing in the band Poison and Mr. Big. Billy Sheehan is known for playing with Steve Vai, David Lee Roth, Talas, and Mr. Big. Mike Portnoy is known for being the drummer in Dream Theater, Avenged Sevenfold, and the Adrenaline Mob.
When asked about the band’s main influences, Mike Portnoy commented that they are working towards a classic rock sound, influenced by Led Zeppelin, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Grand Funk Railroad, as well as newer artists such as Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Black Crowes and Lenny Kravitz.
The band’s self-titled debut album was released in Japan on May 5, 2013 through Victor subsidiary WHD Entertainment, with a worldwide release following on July 23, 2013 through Loud & Proud Records. It was produced by Jay Ruston. It features 13 songs and they switched out the song “Time Machine” with the song “Criminal” for the Japan Edition.