In a brand new interview with "The Classic Metal Show", guitarist/vocalist Richie Kotzen was once again asked about the status of THE WINERY DOGS, his power trio with drummer Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER, AVENGED SEVENFOLD, ADRENALINE MOB) and legendary bassist Billy Sheehan (MR. BIG, TALAS, DAVID LEE ROTH). He replied (hear audio below): "We did our [first] record. We got together, whether it was 2012 or 2013 when the record was released, and I think we made a really cool record. I was coming off a solo cycle and I was approached… Actually, ['That Metal Show' co-host] Eddie Trunk approached me and said, 'Hey, would you be interested in doing a project with Billy Sheehan and Mike Portnoy?' And I said, 'Well, that sounds interesting. I don't know Mike, but obviously I was in MR. BIG with Billy and I've known him for a long time.' And we got together in a room and threw some ideas around. I played them some songs that I had written that probably would have ended up on my next solo record, and we hit it off and the timing was right; I was ready to do something more collaborative. And when the record was done, we released it, and I think we were all surprised at how well received it was."
He continued: "Initially, in my mind, to be completely honest, I wasn't looking to form a band per se — that's never been on my radar. I've been making my records since 1989 and I've had stints in bands and it's been fun and educational and rewarding, but I was initially looking at THE WINERY DOGS as just another one of those things that I've done, be it VERTÚ with [bassist] Stanley Clarke or POISON or my stint in MR. BIG. And I figured, 'Well, it’s been probably more than ten years since I actually collaborated with anyone,' so the timing was great to get in there with Billy and Mike and make what I think is a great record. And it really was so well received — way beyond our expectations — that we went right back in and did another record and another album cycle. So it was fun, rewarding."
Kotzen added: "By no means is it dead — none of us ever said that. I know what I said was that the DOGS are sleeping right now. I'm working on my thing, which I've always done — I'm back to doing what I've done my whole life and I'll continue to do that. But at some point, I can easily see us reconnecting and making another record.
"I don't really know where the notion came, 'Oh, the band's over' and all that sort of thing. But, like I said, I keep all doors open. I know that Billy's doing another MR. BIG record and Mike's always doing something cool and interesting. So once I get done with my album cycle and those guys get done doing what they're doing, I'm sure we'll meet up again and talk about the future of the band."
THE WINERY DOGS will release "Dog Years: Live In Santiago & Beyond 2013-2016" on August 4 via Loud & Proud Records. The set, which will be available in both standard and deluxe editions, is a collection of live concert footage, music videos, and an EP of previously unreleased studio tracks. Pre-orders are available now on Amazon for the deluxe and standard editions.
A standard two-disc edition of "Dog Years: Live In Santiago & Beyond 2013-2016" will be available which includes one Blu-ray disc of the 100-minute May 2016 concert, eight music videos from the band's two albums, and the "Dog Years" EP on CD. A special edition five-disc package will consist of one Blu-ray disc, one DVD of the live concert material and the eight music videos, the "Dog Years" EP on CD, as well as two CDs of the live concert audio.
Kotzen's latest solo album, "Salting Earth", was released on April 14 via his own custom label, Headroom-Inc.