During an appearance last Friday (February 11) on SiriusXM‘s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk”, 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 (as transcribed by Phoosi.com): “All my lead vocals are done. All my guitars are done. The only thing that I didn’t do is some of the record-making things — like sometimes you might wanna double a certain guitar line or Mike has to do some percussion stuff. And then Billy and Mike need to put their singing on there. But other than that, my lead vocals are done and my guitars are done, so I’m kind of done with it. [Laughs]”
According to Richie, fans shouldn’t expect to see the as-yet-untitled THE WINERY DOGS LP in 2022. “I think more realistically [it will be released] to start off next year,” he said. “The thing is that we want to be able to tour the record, so just to put it out and not have a tour in place doesn’t really serve us so well. So I think to do it right, management wants to do it the right way, so it would be next year.”
Asked how many songs THE WINERY DOGS recorded for the new album, Kotzen said: “That exist now, there are 10. But we did actually talk about maybe getting together again, just ’cause we like spending time together. 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.”
Last month, 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.”