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The Winery Dogs Discuss ‘Unleashed in Japan,’ Dog Camp + Future Plans

The Winery Dogs
Kathy Flynn, WickedGoddessPhotography.com

The Winery Dogs emerged in 2013 as rock’s latest supergroup and their self-titled debut disc earned them plenty of praise. Just recently, the band released a special edition version of the disc, which included a bonus live show they recorded in Japan early on in their touring.

Loudwire had a chance to catch up with The Winery Dogs’ Richie Kotzen, Billy Sheehan and Mike Portnoy on the Black Carpet of the Revolver Golden Gods Awards and they spoke about the ‘Unleashed in Japan’ disc, their upcoming Dog Camp and what the future holds for the band. Check out our chat below:

Mike, I know you’re nominated tonight. If you want to share what that recognition means to you.

Mike Portnoy: It’s an honor. I mean obviously there’s so many amazing drummers out there and just to be here and be recognized amongst them is an honor for me, so what else could I say?

We just had a chance at Loudwire to run the stream of your ‘Unleashed in Japan’ performance. Thank you very much for that, such a great show. If you could, take us into what that show was like and how it ended up being the one for the special edition release.

MP: Well the crazy thing about that release is that was the second show we ever did, ever, so that was probably the most ludicrous decision ever in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. But I think it was kind of cool because often you’ll see a video of a band at the end of the tour, but in this case you’re seeing a group not only at the beginning of a tour, but at the beginning of a band. I mean, literally second show ever. Not second show of the tour, second show ever! So it’s a nice little souvenir of where it all began.

Billy Sheehan: Yeah, and we actually left some of the mistakes in on purpose. The band is about being a real band. We really play, we really sing and we really do what we really do — no studio trickery or fakery so. We wanted to leave it the real way and I’ve already seen a few comments from fans who are glad we left it in to see the reality of the situation. And Mike’s right, it was a crazy decision, but I’m glad we did it too so we have a little Polaroid shot, a little snapshot of how we started.

Richie, if you want to take me a little bit into the beginnings of the band. Even though you are all great players, there’s no guarantee that it would work. So what were those first few sessions like for you figuring things out with these guys?

Richie Kotzen: It was very casual, because we had the idea that if it works, we’ll do it. And if it doesn’t work, then we just don’t do it. So we didn’t have any pressure just because of the attitude we had. We got in there and did five ideas we had together and turned them into songs. It was really easy and we just ended up making a record. It’s supposed to be fun and it was a lot of fun and that’s why we keep going.

And I have to ask as well, I know you have the Dog Camp coming up this year. Can you talk about who came up with the idea to do it and what you guys are doing this summer?

BS: I’m not sure where it came from, but we all enjoy the spreading around of the experience we’ve achieved over the years and it’s nice to spread it to some younger kids and people who want to know about the mystery of what you need to know to get up onstage and make it happen. So we’re going to do our best to enlighten some people and it’ll also be a lot of fun and I always make a lot of friends at these events as well that are friends for many, many years so I’m sure it’ll be enjoyable for everyone.

And Mike, we’ve loved this first Winery Dogs album. But what does the future hold? More touring or has there been a start on a second disc?

MP: Well, we’re still going strong on this one. We’re going to be out there spring and summer and that’s the focus right now, but while in rehearsals we’ve already banged out a new song that’s in the set and we’re absolutely looking forward to the next record which will absolutely happen at the start of next year and we’ll be back on the road for that in the spring or summer of next year, so we’re planning on keeping very busy with The Winery Dogs.

Our thanks to Richie Kotzen, Billy Sheehan and Mike Portnoy for the interview. You can pick up the special edition of ‘The Winery Dogs’ album at Amazon and iTunes.

The Winery Dogs' Mike Portnoy Talks Dog Camp 2014

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