Is there any need to introduce the musicians of The Winery Dogs? Mike Portnoy is the drummer of Dream Theater, Billy Sheehan and Richie Kotzen were the bassist and guitarist of Mr. Big. With a line-up like this, it almost seems as if the Gods have forced fate to bring together stratospheric virtuosity to create a supergroup entirely dedicated to hard rock.
And hard rock, this power trio knows how to make it. But contrary to what they sometimes produce in their side projects, with The Winery Dogs, one returns with delight to the essential. It's cleverly US-typical, divinely raw and sometimes finely reminiscent of the 70s. If we were to compare these incomparable artists, we would certainly be somewhere between Audioslave, Coverdale and Black Country Communion.
The three of them make music like they breathe, but with this project, you can feel that they are there above all to enjoy themselves. The groove is insane, the solos are always completely mastered, the bass rumbling and the guitar masterfully played, without one ever overpowering the other. And on stage, the decadent musical atmosphere and the envy that exists between the three musicians is palpable from the first notes.
Of course, three exceptional ingredients are not enough to make a good recipe. But we can assure you that these three were made to work together. Individually, it's a blast! Collectively, we hadn't seen such free hard rock for a while. And live, it's as much fun as in their youth. What more could you ask for?
Mike Portnoy is in all the right places, and it almost seems as if he's splitting himself into two, so numerous are his projects. The Winery Dogs is his idea again! And that of bassist Billy Sheehan, with whom he wants to form a new power trio, without pressure and for the love of hard rock. Richie Kotzen, who had already played alongside Sheehan in the band Mr. Big, joined them on vocals and guitar and the three musicians quickly recorded their first self-titled album. Of course, the line-up blew up all the charts and went straight into an international tour before hitting the studio again to release Hot Streak in 2015, a powerful hard rock, sprinkled with melodic lines, that is a hit.
After teasing their fans with two ferocious, virtuosic debut albums, The Winery Dogs take an eight-year break! Everyone is busy with other projects, and when you know the workaholism of these musicians, you can understand why. But their fans don't despair, as the band members regularly talk about their return. It will finally be in 2023, with an album soberly titled III that comes back to the essential, far from the complexity of what they can produce elsewhere. It's raw, it technically beats the ears and it doesn't shy away from the solos to remind us who the bosses are. An album followed by a world tour that is eagerly awaited by all lovers of good sound.
We can't get enough of great bands and reunions between musicians who have nothing left to prove. The Winery Dogs are a hard rock band that goes back to its roots but never forgets to show a flawless technicality, giving pride of place to bass lines that one would listen to over and over again. And on stage, these three friends offer us a powerful show, coupled with a beginner's desire. They are here to enjoy themselves and so are we!
The impression and the feeling that emerge from this new opus, and from the band in general, are this great freedom and also a way of playing, which seem so obvious and natural. Far from the displayed and wilful complexity of their other respective formations, THE WINERY DOGS go to the essential, not without allowing themselves some technical flights of fancy.