THE WINERY DOGS
with Damon Johnson
Thursday, May 16 at 8 p.m. & Friday, May 17 at 8 p.m.
You know what they say, “Familiarity breeds creativity.” Just witness the three-piece musical dynamo known as The Winery Dogs. If these three Dogs thought they captured lightning in a supper dish the first time around, the band’s newest release, Hot Streak barks ups the aural ante into exciting new territory.
“We elevated the band to the next level,” says vocalist/guitarist Richie Kotzen (Poison, Mr. Big). Adds drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Avenged Sevenfold, Adrenaline Mob), “The mission of this band is to write catchy songs, and not have the musicianship overpower them. That’s the icing on the cake—but the cake itself is always the song and the vocals.” For a drummer accustomed to having superstar status in the progressive music realm, Portnoy feels he’s done some of his best work with The Winery Dogs, commenting, “I think The Winery Dogs have something to offer for everybody.”
Some of The Winery Dogs’ universal appeal has to do with the way each band member understands how to serve the song first and play off each other, rather than showboat their own chops. “It’s the great advantage of this three-piece band,” observes bassist Billy Sheehan (David Lee Roth band, Mr. Big). “We always have each other on our radars pretty tightly. I can see when Richie’s going for something or if Mike is going for something, and I can either lay a path down for them and get out of the way, or get behind them and help push them towards it.”
Kotzen heartily agrees. “These two guys are playing in a way that not many people can play,” he marvels. “I mean, there’s no one else who approaches playing the bass guitar like Billy Sheehan. The thing that’s unique about us is that we are obviously playing real songs with real lyrics and real melodies, but we have these moments of musical chaos where we go crazy and play these things the average musician wouldn’t be able to play.”
After playing over 100 shows in support of the first album, The Winery Dogs are eager to head back out on the road to get behind Hot Streak. “We’ve now been all over the world, and you have to put those hours in up on the boards to make things grow and evolve,” Sheehan points out.
Kotzen adds, “I always like the idea of not doing the same thing, so I very much like bringing the new songs into the set….There was a world of difference from the first time we got onstage versus the last show of the last tour.” Kotzen concludes. “The compositions are stronger on this album. I feel more connected lyrically and musically to what I did on this record than on the last one....We’ve widened the musical scope of the band on this record and moved it forward. That’s what I’m most excited about.”
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