On October 9, Japan's Metal Moment podcast conducted an interview with legendary bassist Billy Sheehan (THE WINERY DOGS, MR. BIG, TALAS, DAVID LEE ROTH). You can now listen to the chat using the audio player below.
THE WINERY DOGS is the power trio featuring drummer Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER, AVENGED SEVENFOLD, ADRENALINE MOB), Sheehan and guitarist/vocalist Richie Kotzen (MR. BIG, POISON).
THE WINERY DOGS' self-titled debut album sold around 10,200 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 27 on The Billboard 200 chart. Released in North America on July 23 via Loud & Proud Records and in Japan on May 15 via Victor Entertainment, the CD was mixed by Jay Ruston, who has previously worked with ANTHRAX, ADRENALINE MOB, STONE SOUR and STEEL PANTHER.
In a recent interview with The Aquarian Weekly, Sheehan stated about the songwriting process for THE WINERY DOGS' CD: "The overall objective for everything was that we just wanted to play. We wanted to play out and play for people. We wanted to have a huge crowd of people and smiling faces having a great time. Now, I know that doesn't include any musical idea or opinion, but I think that's really the underlying motivation."
He continued: "As players, myself, Mike and Richie, we love to perform and play and have a lot of people there. The next step is, 'What are you going to do?' It's play the music that we love. And generally what we love is popular music. Not pop, but THE WHO, LED ZEPPELIN, HUMBLE PIE, they were popular bands — a lot of people love them — and that's the music we all love. We carried it through, step by step, and started writing music along the lines of the music that we enjoy the most knowing that when we get on stage to perform it, we would be performing stuff that people probably would enjoy too.
"There's no greater feeling in the world than being up on stage in front of a lot of people who are enjoying themselves and enjoying what you're doing. It's a beautiful thing. That was really the underlying, philosophical approach to it. Later on, we got into the nuts and bolts of which chorus goes in front of which verse and what key should a song be in."
Asked if "The Winery Dogs" was an easy album to make, Sheehan said: "Absolutely. It was a breeze. When things fall together naturally and they work, the songs take on a life of their own. I know a lot of great artists and great writers who have asked, 'How did you do that?' And I go, 'I don't know; it just kind of happened! [laughs] We really didn't do much of anything. We were just in a room. Those guys did that. I came up with this. Next thing you know, the song is there!' That's how it happened. To me, that's a good indicator that we're on the right path, that we don't have to belabor through it and microscopically dissect it atom by atom and figure out what goes where and how.
"I know guys in different fields of the arts where they come in like a photographer. They sit there and they get the light meters and they move stuff around and they've got different cameras, shutter speeds and lenses and lights — all kinds of crazy shit. Other guys walk in, they walk around the room, they look for a moment, hold the camera up, snap, unbelievable. That's kind of the way I'd like to parallel our music. If you know your stuff enough to walk in, figure out what you've got, do what you can do with it and go home, it's a done deal. That's kind of how the record went."