VIDEO: Mike Portnoy talks about his new band, The Winery Dogs

"In all of my years in this business, I've always been part of either a progressive band or a metal band," says superstar drummer Mike Portnoy. "This is the first time I've been in an all-original band that's just a rock band in the vein of Led Zeppelin or Van Halen."

Portnoy is talking about The Winery Dogs, the power trio he formed last year with bass icon Billy Sheehan and guitar virtuoso and singer Richie Kotzen. All three members boast choptastic pedigrees, but Portnoy stresses that the band dialed down the shred and maxed out the melodies on their self-titled debut album, which will be released 23 July on Loud & Proud Records.

"It's so refreshing to just play straight-ahead music with lots of twists," Portnoy says. "Obviously, the musicianship is great in this band, but it's very song-oriented."

In the above video, Portnoy discusses how the songwriting process in The Winery Dogs differs from his previous outfits and talks about his intense admiration for his new bandmates. MusicRadar will present a special track-by-track interview with Portnoy, Sheehan and Kotzen on Friday, 19 July.

Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.