Tag Archive | "Dream Theater"

SONS OF APOLLO Announces Worldwide Release Of Special Six-Track EP of New Single

SONS OF APOLLO Announces Worldwide Release Of Special Six-Track EP of New Single

SONS OF APOLLO–former Dream Theater members Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (ex-Guns N’ Roses), Billy Sheehan (The Winery Dogs, Mr. Big, David Lee Roth) and Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Journey, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force)—released a six-song EP today, “ALIVE”/“TENGO VIDA,” which includes three versions of the latest single, “Alive,” from their #1 debut album, PSYCHOTIC SYMPHONY, as well as three versions of the song in Spanish, “Tengo Vida.” It’s available now on all digital outlets worldwide.

Here’s the complete track listing:

Alive – album version
Alive – radio edit
Alive – acoustic version
Tengo Vida (Alive Spanish version) – standard
Tengo Vida (Alive Spanish version) – radio edit
Tengo Vida (Alive Spanish version) – acoustic version

The Vicente Cordero-directed for “Alive” is now available in both versions.

The Spanish version can be seen here:

The English version can be seen here:

“It was discussed we should do a Spanish language version of ‘Alive’ before our first tour in South America and I was excited to make it work,” explains singer Jeff Scott Soto. “I brought in my close friend Alex to help with the translation as well as coach me on my enunciation. I am not fluent in Spanish so it was a difficult process, but it sounds pretty damn cool now that we made it work. I think my favorite part is hearing Bumblefoot singing in Spanish!”

Guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal is excited about offering these new versions of “Alive” to their fans. “I love stripping down a song to its simplest form, showing the core of what the song is,” he says. “The acoustic version of ‘Alive’ has that naked vulnerability, and shows what a great lyricist and melody-maker Jeff is.”

PSYCHOTIC SYMPHONY—which Loudwire.com called an “impressive debut disc”–debuted at #1 on Billboard’s “Heatseeker Albums” chart, as well as #10 on the “Rock Chart,” and #33 on the “Top Current Albums” chart. As Vintage Guitar declares, “This super-duper ensemble is like an old back issue of Marvel Team-Up that simply cannot be ignored.” Order it here: http://smarturl.it/SonsOfApolloPS.

In touring news, SONS OF APOLLO is set to launch the second leg of their first-ever highly anticipated world tour on April 19 in Montreal, Quebec at the Corona Theatre. The band has now added more shows in Mexico, Japan and Europe, including stops in the United Kingdom, France, the Czech Republic, and Toulouse, France for the Very Prog Festival on October 12. For more information about tickets and on sale dates, fans should visit SonsOfApollo.com.

As Mike Portnoy declares, “Ever since this lineup assembled to make PSYCHOTIC SYMPHONY, the thing I’ve been most excited about is anticipating how insane I know this band is going to be on stage. Well, the wait is almost over! Here are the first U.S. dates that will get to witness this ‘five-headed musical spectacle’ live on stage in February. We plan on being on tour all year long, all over the globe, with plenty of dates now being announced for summer festivals throughout Europe, but these are the very first shows that will get to witness this amazing lineup in person for the first time. We can’t wait!”

Released October 20 via InsideOutMusic / Sony, PSYCHOTIC SYMPHONY is available as a 2CD Mediabook (featuring a second disc of instrumental mixes and extended booklet with an exclusive Studio Diary), Gatefold 2LP vinyl + CD (which comes with an etching on side D and the entire album on the CD), Standard Jewelcase CD & digital download. It was produced by the dynamic production duo of Portnoy and Sherinian, also affectionately known as “The Del Fuvio Brothers,” which is the nickname given to them over 20 years ago during their time together in Dream Theater.

Check out SONS OF APOLLO at any of the following stops:

Thu 4/5 – Monterrey, Mexico – Escena
Fri 4/6 – Mexico City, Mexico – Circo Volador
Sun 4/8 – Santiago, Chile – Teatro Teleton
Tue 4/10 – Buenos Aires, Argentina – Groove
Thu 4/12 – Porto Alegre, Brazil – Opinião Bar
Sat 4/14 – São Paulo, Brazil – Tropical Butanta
Sun 4/15 – Belo Horizonte, Brazil – Music Hall
Thu 4/19 – Montreal, QUE. – Corona Theatre
Fri 4/20 – Toronto, ONT. – The Opera House
Sat 4/21 – Grand Rapids, MI – The Intersection
Sun 4/22 – St. Louis, MO – Delmar Hall
Tue 4/24 – Lawrence, KS – Granada Theater
Wed 4/25 – Denver, CO – Summit Music Hall
Fri 4/27 – Las Vegas, NV – Brooklyn Bowl
Sat 4/28 – Sacramento, CA – Ace Of Spades
Sun 4/29 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theatre
Mon 4/30 – Seattle, WA – The Showbox
Wed 5/2 – San Francisco, CA – The Regency Ballroom
Thu 5/3 – Los Angeles, CA – The Belasco Theatre
Fri 5/4 – Anaheim, CA – House Of Blues
Sat 5/5 – Tempe, AZ – Marquee Theatre
Mon 5/7 – San Antonio, TX – Alamo City Music Hall
Tue 5/8 – Dallas, TX – Canton Hall
Wed 5/9 – Houston, TX – Scout Bar
Fri 5/11 – Nashville, TN – 3rd & Lindsley
Sat 5/12 – St. Charles, IL – Arcada Theatre
Sun 5/13 – Minneapolis, MN – Varsity Theater
Tue 5/15 – Cleveland, OH – House Of Blues
Wed 5/16 – Philadelphia, PA – Theatre of Living Arts
Fri 5/18 – New York, NY – Playstation Theater
Sat 5/19 – Worcester, MA – The Palladium
Sun 5/20 – Washington, D.C. – The Howard Theatre
Sat 5/26 – San Juan, PR – Centro de Bellas Artes Luis A. Ferré

Fri 6/22 – Clisson, France – Hellfest
Sat 6/23 – Dessel, Belgium – Graspop
Sun 6/24 – Milan, Italy – Teatro Degli Arcimbodi
Tue 6/26 – Prague, Czech Republic – Futurum
Wed 6/27 – Leipzig, Germany – Hellraiser
Sat 6/30 – Barcelona, Spain – Be Prog My Friend
Sun 7/1 – Maidstone, U.K. – Ramblin’ Man Fair
Mon 7/2 – Motherwell, Scotland – Motherwell Concert Hall
Tue 7/3 – Belfast, Ireland – Limelight
Wed 7/4 – Dublin, Ireland – Tivoli Variety Theatre
Fri 7/6 – Knislinge, Sweden – Helgeafestivalen
Sat 7/7 – Brighton, U.K. – The Haunt
Sun 7/8 – Nottingham, U.K. – Rescue Rooms
Sun 7/14 – Eindhoven, Netherlands – Dynamo MetalFest
Fri 8/3 – Wacken, Germany – Wacken Open Air
Sat 8/18 – Warsaw, Poland – Prog In Park
Sun 8/19 – Budapest, Hungary – Barba Negra Track
Mon 9/10 – Osaka, Japan – Big Cat
Tue 9/11 – Tokyo, Japan – Liquid Room
Wed 9/12 – Tokyo, Japan – Liquid Room
Sat 9/15 – Raismes, France – Raismes Fest
Wed 9/19 – Moscow, Russia – Glavclub
* Sat 9/22 – Plovdiv, Bulgaria – Roman Amphitheater
Mon 9/24 – Athens, Greece – Fuzz Club
Wed 9/26 – Tel Aviv, Israel – Barby Club
Sun 9/30 – Glasgow, Scotland – The Garage
Mon 10/8 – Zurich, Switzerland – Complex
Fri 10/12 – Paris, France – Elysee Montmartre
Sat 10/13 – Toulouse, France – Very Prog Festival
Mon 10/15 – Lyon, France – Radiant-Bellevue
Tue 10/16 – Strasbourg, France – La Laiterie

* A Very Special Evening with SONS OF APOLLO and the Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony.

For all the latest news and dates ofr Sons of Apollo, visit www.sonsofapollo.com.

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SONS OF APOLLO: New Supergroup Launched With Members of Dream Theater, Mr. Big, Guns ‘N Roses and Journey

SONS OF APOLLO: New Supergroup Launched With Members of Dream Theater, Mr. Big, Guns ‘N Roses and Journey

For the past few months, rumors have been circulating about a new secret project including former Dream Theater members Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian. Now, the time has come to make the grand and highly anticipated introduction to their new band, SONS OF APOLLO.

Reuniting to form SONS OF APOLLO, Portnoy and Sherinian have joined forces with Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (ex-Guns N’ Roses), Billy Sheehan (The Winery Dogs, Mr. Big, David Lee Roth) and Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Journey, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force). Their debut album, PSYCHOTIC SYMPHONY, will be released October 20 on InsideOutMusic/Sony Music. An album teaser can be seen on InsideOutMusic’s official YouTube page here: https://youtu.be/kPN2DttzlZQ

PSYCHOTIC SYMPHONY was produced by the dynamic production duo of Portnoy and Sherinian, also affectionately known as “The Del Fuvio Brothers,” which is the nickname given to them over 20 years ago during their time together in Dream Theater.

SONS OF APOLLO got together very organically, as Portnoy explains: “Derek and I reunited shortly after I left Dream Theater in 2010 and we put together an all-instrumental touring band with he and I, Billy Sheehan, and Tony MacAlpine. That was my first time working with Derek since the ‘90s when he was in Dream Theater and it was just great to be working with him again. Ever since that tour, which was really just a one-off live thing, he has been nudging me to start a real, original, full-time band. The timing just had never been right, because I had too many other things on my plate. Long story short, the time was finally right to take the bait and put together a band.”

“Mike and I work at a relentless pace in the studio,” continues Sherinian. “The music is modern, but we have an old school soul. What is unique about SONS OF APOLLO is that we have true rock n’ roll swagger along with the virtuosity– a lethal combination!”

But what to call the next great supergroup? “Derek was mainly the one behind the name,” says Portnoy. “I have a list that I keep on my phone of about a hundred different band names, which I constantly have to refer to every time I have a new band every year (laughs). So, I pulled up the list and Apollo was one of the names on the list. It was a word that both of us really liked. We started fiddling with different variations of the word. One of the original band names we were working with was Apollo Creed, the character from the ‘Rocky’ movies, but after lots of different discussions on different variations, Derek suggested SONS OF APOLLO and it seemed to stick. Apollo is the God of Music so with that in mind it seemed like a fitting name.”

Mike Portnoy, Derek Sherinian and Billy Sheehan previously toured together in 2012 and 2013 as PSMS (along with guitarist Tony MacAlpine), playing all instrumental versions from each of their previously recorded music. SONS OF APOLLO is the next logical progression by adding a vocalist and creating all-original material. The band incorporates the progressive style and individual technical prowess that Portnoy & Sherinian shared together in Dream Theater combined with the swagger and groove of Van Halen, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin.

“I have known Mike and Derek for a long time, so when they came to me with Sons of Apollo, I jumped on this straight away,” says Thomas Waber, Label Manager/A&R International of InsideOutMusic. “However, the album they ended up recording exceeded my already high expectations by a long mile! We couldn’t be happier about it!”

SONS OF APOLLO will hit the road in 2018 for their first worldwide tour.

“This is a real band,” Portnoy declares. “This is going to pick up for me and Billy where The Winery Dogs left off, in terms of this being the next logical full-time thing for us. I’m not saying The Winery Dogs have broken up,because we haven’t, we’re just on a break. SONS OF APOLLO is absolutely going to be a full-time band and we plan on touring all over the world all throughout 2018 and, honestly, it is the priority for all five of us.”

Sherinian agrees, “We will go on a worldwide crusade in 2018 to bring SONS OF APOLLO to as many people as possible. Apollo was the God of Music, and we are his mighty offspring!”


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Greg Prato Releases ‘Survival of the Fittest: Heavy Metal in the 1990’s’

Greg Prato Releases ‘Survival of the Fittest: Heavy Metal in the 1990’s’

Another epic read from Greg Prato

Another epic read from Greg Prato

Since its inception in the late 1960’s, heavy metal has experienced quite a few ups and downs in popularity. But there was one specific decade that sticks out as the most troubling – the 1990’s. In what seemed like one fell swoop, a style of metal that had been popular for much of the 1980’s was rendered obsolete, and in its place, was a much more real, raw, and unique approach – detected in several new metal-based “sub-genres.” Add to it several changes in the music industry and media, and it appeared as if traditional metal may have met its expiration date…before several bands (and a certain traveling festival tour) helped put headbanging rock back on track.

Written by journalist/author Greg Prato, ‘Survival of the Fittest: Heavy Metal in the 1990’s’ is the first book to focus entirely on this decade. Set in an oral history format, ‘Survival’ features over 80 interviews conducted exclusively for this book, including current or past members of Pantera, Sepultura, Fear Factory, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Kiss, Def Leppard, Guns N’ Roses, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, Exodus, Testament, Dream Theater, King’s X, Extreme, Winger, Cinderella, Living Colour, Faith No More, Primus, Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, White Zombie, Stone Temple Pilots, Kyuss, Danzig, Clutch, Life of Agony, Biohazard, Type O Negative, Within Temptation, Cradle of Filth, Death, Coal Chamber, and System of a Down (among many others), as well as Eddie Trunk, Riki Rachtman, and Lonn Friend. Also featured is a foreword penned by Pantera bassist Rex Brown.

Greg Prato is a Long Island, New York-based journalist, who has written for Rolling Stone and Guitar Player, and has authored such books as ‘Iron Maiden: ’80 ’81,’ ‘The Faith No More & Mr. Bungle Companion,’ ‘The Eric Carr Story,’ and ‘Grunge is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music.’ ‘Survival of the Fittest’ is his 16th book overall.

Available as a paperback version [616 pages, $24.99], a Kindle download [$9.99], and a Nook download [$9.99], ‘Survival of the Fittest’ helps put the ’90s and heavy metal all into perspective.

Read an exclusive excerpt here:

Ordering info here:
Paperback and Kindle: http://amzn.com/1512073067

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/survival-of-the-fittest-greg-prato/1122273381

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The Winery Dogs: Mike Portnoy Discusses Musical Exploration With His New Band!

The Winery Dogs: Mike Portnoy Discusses Musical Exploration With His New Band!


Mike Portnoy is a man who needs little introduction. As one of the founding members of Dream Theater, his 25 years with the band solidified him as one of rock’s most innovative and respected drummers. Portnoy’s long list of awards include 26 Modern Drummer magazine Reader’s Poll Awards, including Hall of Fame Inductee in 2004, MVP of the Year in 2010, Best Progressive Rock Drummer (for the magazine’s record of 12 years in a row), Best Clinician (twice), Best Educational Video/DVD and Best Recorded Performance of the Year (seven times) while in Dream Theater and Avenged Sevenfold.  He also holds the distinction being the second youngest drummer ever inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame (at age 37) and is currently the youngest in the magazine’s Hall of Fame.  DRUM! Magazine named him Drummer Of The Year for the last two years in a row (2011 & 2012), and he won the Revolver Golden Gods Award for “Drummer Of The Year” in 2011.

Always looking to expand his musical horizons, Mike Portnoy is now tackling one of his most ambitious musical explorations to date two other rock legends. Vocalist and guitarist Richie Kotzen made his mark with Poison and Mr. Big, bassist Billy Sheehan has been rocking for decades with Steve Vai, David Lee Roth, Mr. Big and others. Together they are The Winery Dogs — a cohesive, well-rounded classic-sounding trio with blazing songs that defy expectation. The group’s self-titled debut is filled with straightforward rock and roll inspired by some of their favorite bands, and their music transcends any of the styles they’re best known for and melds their collective talents into a magnificent brew. Their self-titled debut album, was self-produced and mixed by Jay Ruston (Anthrax, Stone Sour, Steel Panther), will be released in North America on July 23.  THE WINERY DOGS . Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently sat down with Mike Portnoy to discuss the origin of The Winery Dogs project, the process of bring the album to life and the evolution of his career as an artist. 

Mike Portnoy

Mike Portnoy

You have created a terrific musical legacy with your hard work through the years but I was curious to learn how it all got started, what lit the fire so to speak. What are you first memories of music in your life?

I think from the minute the doctor pulled me out of my Mom! I immediately slapped on some headphones and was immediately and I was listening to the Beatles’ “Revolver” and six weeks later, “Sgt. Pepper’s” was released! [laughs] And so the story goes! That is it, literally. From day one, I was listening to music. It was the Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones and later on it was Led Zeppelin and so on. I was a music fan from the minute I was born! My Dad was a rock ‘n’ roll disk jockey, so he surrounded me with all the classic rock of the late 60s, literally from day one.

There is nothing wrong with that! What were some of your other influences?

It all started with the classic rock stuff of the late 60s. Later on in the 70s, I went through a big KISS phase, like any other white American suburban kid around that time. I was a huge KISS fan! Then I went through a punk rock phase, listening to The Ramones and The Sex Pistols in the late 70s. Then I discovered progressive rock! I was into bands like Rush, Yes and Genesis but then came the whole thrash metal scene in the earlier 80s with bands like Slayer, Anthrax, Metallica, S.O.D. and Exodus. That is the general evolution of my influences.

Did you have any idea when you set your mind to picking up an instrument at an early age it would lead you to the heights it has?

I never strived to be a success or an influence, I just strived to be a musician. Everything else that has happened in my career over the past thirty years happened outside of my control. It is how the public perceives you whether or not you are successful. That is out of your control. All you can do is be the best musician you can and hope it touches somebody. I have been very fortunate over the past twenty to thirty years to have been able to do this for a living but it was never my goal. My goal was to make music because I was a music fan.

Mike Portnoy

Mike Portnoy

You certainly have a tremendous work ethic. Is that what you attribute your longevity in the ever-changing music to?

Yes. That is the key word, “work ethic.” I think that is a big part of mu personal success because I have a work ethic which is probably unlike most traditional musicians. All of those years in Dream Theater, I did it all. It was by nature, it wasn’t by design. I was always the type of musician who not only played drums but wanted to write the music, write the lyrics, write the melody, produce the albums, direct the videos and oversee the fan clubs, website and merchandise. That is just the type of artist I am and like I said, that is by nature not design. Some people are natural-born leaders and obsessive/compulsive control freaks and that is just the way I am! [laughs] Like you said, the key word there is work ethic. That is just the type of person I am. For the last two or three years since I left Dream Theater, I think I have made about ten albums with twelve or fifteen different bands or projects! It is just a natural passion and drive that is in me.

That leads me to your latest project, The Winery Dogs. Tell us a little bit about how the project originally started.

I guess it came about with Billy Sheehan and myself working together. We were originally doing something with somebody else and it just never took off but Billy and I really wanted to do a power trio together. My good friend Eddie Trunk suggested giving Richie Kotzen a call. It was actually a brilliant suggestion because Ritchie is a tremendous talent. He is not only a guitar player but a tremendous singer and songwriter! Billy and I started working with Ritchie and that is where The Winery Dogs were born! Everything was written from scratch, collaborated on by all three of us in a room and that is where it all began.

What are your memories of first meeting both Billy Sheehan and Richie Kotzen? Are those meetings something which stand out in your mind?

The Winery Dogs

The Winery Dogs

They were two very different times and places. I have been working with Billy for about twenty years now but I have known who he is for about thirty. I used to go see Billy play with Talas in the early 80s, when I was a teenager. I used to sneak into the Long Island clubs just to see him play! I have been aware of him since then and he has always been my favorite bass player. To me, he is the Jimi Hendrix of the Eddie Van Halen of bass. I followed his career from Talas to David Lee Roth and everything since. He and I began working together almost twenty years ago. We did a Rush tribute album together. Then, sometime in the mid-2000s, him and I did a tribute album for The Who together. We also have an instrumental band with Derek Sherinian and Tony MacAlpine. Billy and I definitely have a long history together! Once I started working with him, it was obviously a tremendous honor for me because I was always such a fan and admirer of his work.

How I met Richie was very recently. I was having dinner with my friend Eddie Trunk here in LA. Eddie was mutual friend, so he introduced us. That was the first time I met Richie but I had no idea I would end up in a band with him a year later! Once I was introduced to Richie’s solo material, I was absolutely floored by his talents! I had only known him as the replacement guitar player in Poison and Mr. Big, in both of which cases he wasn’t singing. I had no idea of the unbelievable depth of his talent. Once I started listening to his solo material, which has gone very much under the radar here in America for all these years, that is when I realized he is the real deal. He is one of the most soulful artists I have ever encountered!

When you guys first started out on this project, what were your expectations for the record?

We knew we wanted to do a classic rock power trio, something in the vein of Led Zeppelin, Cream, Hendrix or Grand Funk Railroad. That was the blueprint were were aiming for and it came out pretty naturally. I guess it is because that kind of music is evidenced as inspirations for all three of us and just naturally came out that way. We wanted to put a modern touch on it as well, with touches of Alice In Chains, Soundgarden and newer stuff like that. Those were the expectations — strictly musical expectations. Commercial expectations are out of our control. Whatever happens after we make the music is out of our control. We only had our musical expectations and I think we met them.

You mentioned building this album from the ground up. What can you tell us about the songwriting process for this album and the challenges that you faced along the way?

We literally got together at Richie’s house and within the first hour of playing together, we had written two songs. We wrote “One More Time” and “Time Machine,” both of which are on the album. There was an immediate chemistry! We ended up writing five songs that ended up on the album within the first two days of playing together. It was very natural. All three of us work in a very quick-minded artistic pace and we are able to throw ideas on the table together, bounce them around and morph them. It was all very natural. The album is self-produced. There was no preconceived thought not to have a producer. As the three of us began writing in the studio, it was just like “Hit the record button!” Again, it was very natural, the three of us writing and working, so we just recorded the damn thing! I think the biggest challenge in the entire process was coming up with a band name! That is always a challenge for any new band. Rock ‘N’ Roll has been around for 50 years now, so almost every name has been used at this point! That was the biggest challenges and resulted in many, many months of arguing between the three of us before we settled on The Winery Dogs.


How many songs did you write for the album and is there anything that didn’t make the album, which we may hear at a later date?

We wrote fourteen songs and recorded them all. There are thirteen on the album and left one as a bonus track for Japan. We also recorded eight cover songs,which are kinda just sitting on the shelf. We haven’t decided when or if we will do anything with them. It was an unbelievably productive session with fourteen originals and eight covers! Twenty-two songs within that one session! It was very fruitful!

You have been so creative in the past few years. Is there a long-term goal you are looking to achieve?

The Winery Dogs

The Winery Dogs

My goals are the same now as they were when I was younger — make good music. I guess, twenty-five or thirty years ago, I never had goals of being rich and famous or being influential. My goals were to make music because I was a huge music fan. Thirty years later, it is still the same. I don’t make decisions based on business or money. If I did, I should have just stayed with Dream Theater where it was safe. I make my decisions on wanting to be artistic, creative and inspired. I am working with some of my favorite musicians in the world, guys who I respect and admire. I am also able to make all kinds of music with different bands and projects. That is all I want out of life is to be artistically challenged and to artistically fantasized. Where these projects go is up to the public — the record buyers and concert ticket buyers. I just do what my heart wants!

Absolutely. You definitely stay busy and ultimately it is great for you and the fans of your work. With so many irons in the fire, what is a typically day like for you when you are not on tour? It has to be hectic!

It is a lot of emails! There is a lot of time dealing with emails and juggling schedules. Here I am right now and it is a typical day off for me and I am home, sitting by the pool and doing a days worth of interviews with people like yourself. This is one typical day but even between the interviews, I am dealing with emails. There are emails dealing with four or five different bands and each one of those bands or projects have dozens of decisions that have to be made. It is everything from crew members to set lists to merchandise designs to marketing ideas and so on. There is never a dull moment in my life! Some people just think I play drums for a living! [laughs] My God, that couldn’t be further from the truth!

With that said, do you feel there are a lot of misconceptions circulating about you?

Mike Portnoy

Mike Portnoy

I think I am one of the most misunderstood artists in the world! [laughs] Any time I go on the internet and I see these websites with an article with a quote for shock value as the headline, I realize the misconceptions about me that are out there by the fans and non-fans as well. I think the biggest one is that I am band jumping or opportunity jumping and jumping from band to band. That is not the case. Like I just said to you, it is me following my heart. I spent 25 years in one band and was so unbelievably dedicated to one band. I don’t think you will find more dedication than I do for what I did for Dream Theater for 25 years. I mean, I literally oversaw every single step, every minute of the day. You won’t find a more committed artist than me. I did that for 25 years, so I think the biggest misconception is that I am not committed. That is so far from the truth. I am just doing lots of different things. I am enjoying having this musical freedom right now. Every one of the bands and projects I am involved with are so different from each other. The Winery Dogs is one thing, Transatlantic is another, Adrenaline Mob is something else. There are each so different from the other and I give all I can to each of them. The biggest problem is when you give 100% to five different things, inevitably there are going to be schedule clashes and it is not always going to be easy to juggle so many things. That is one of the difficulties I have been having lately and I am trying to make it all work. I am doing my best and I don’t think you are going to find an artist with a stronger work ethic than I have. I am a total workaholic and passionate about everything I do. It is hard to always juggle it all without a scheduling conflict here or there! That has been the only problem, trying to solve that and make it all work.

Misconceptions aside, your work speaks for itself and would make for a very interesting autobiography at some point. Is that a project you have considered undertaking in the future?

Yeah! Actually, after I left Dream Theater, I was approached by several different companies about doing that. I just felt for a while after I left Dream Theater, there was so much drama and controversy. No matter what I said, it got taken out of context and blown out of proportion. That made me very gun shy about doing interviews or taking openly. If I am going to do a book, I am going to talk openly. I want to be able to tell it all and not pull punches or bullshit anything. I have always prided myself on being very honest and open with the fans, so if I was to do a book, it would have to be that way. I think right now, it is all still too fresh. There is still way too much drama online and the fans are so passionate and dramatic about it all, I wouldn’t want to do a book right now. I think it is still needs time for the wounds to heal and the smoke to clear. Surely one of these days I would love to do it. There was a Dream Theater biography which came out years ago I was very involved with. I spent a tremendous amount of time going through the history of the band and contributed a lot to that book. That is probably the closest to any kind of biography so far having to do with my career.

Mike Portnoy

Mike Portnoy

When looking back on your incredible and still very productive career, how do you feel you have evolved as an artist?

My evolution goes beyond the drums. I think my evolution as an artist has to do with playing with all of these different bands and playing different roles within each of them, playing with different people and exploring different styles. My evolution as a drummer comes from having a different kind of drum kit or setup in each of the bands and I have to play stylistically different for each of them. That has been my evolution. That is another reason why I needed to get some time away from Dream Theater. I didn’t want to, for the rest of my life, be just the guy from Dream Theater. I didn’t want Dream Theater to define my entire life and career. I felt I had a lot more to say and had many, many different styles within me which I wanted to explore. That has been the evolution of my career, branching out and doing all of these things. Of course, Dream Theater will be a huge, huge part of my of my legacy but I would hope the other things are also a part of it as well. Everything I am doing is all part of the story of who I am.

What else is on the horizon for you as an artist. Is there still new territory you are looking to tackle?

I am very fulfilled at the moment. Ya know, there are so many different things going on in my career at the moment and they have me very fulfilled. As I said, it is hard enough to juggle what exists, so I am not looking to add many more things on to the plate at the moment. I am really just looking to continue to develop what is already happening. For the moment, the focus is on The Winery Dogs. That is going to be the focus of everything I am doing over the next six to twelve months on the road. I am planning on traveling and touring as much as I can with this great new band! For the moment, that is the focus! Inevitably, there are always a million other things. There is a Flying Colors Blu-ray coming out later this year. There is TSMS Blu-ray coming out in September and a Transatlantic album at the beginning of 2014 but The Winery Dogs is definitely going to be the focus for awhile.

As someone who has been on the front lines of the music business as long as you have, I am sure you have some great insights. What is the best piece of advice you can pass on to up-and-coming musicians?

Artists and musicians today have an outlet I never had with the internet. When I was starting out in the early to mid-80s, basically, your only hope was to get a record deal, go into a big recording studio, get covered by MTV and that was your only hope of ever making it. In this day in age, musicians and artists have so much freedom to be able to build and develop themselves on their own through the internet. There are these outlets to be able to reach listeners throughout the world and not have to sign your life away to do it. That is the greatest tool available to kids today. My son is fourteen years old and he is in a band. I am seeing the things he is able to do that I could never do at his age with being able to put his stuff on the internet and have hundreds of thousands of hits from all over the world. That is amazing a fourteen year old kid can do that! I think people need to continue to take advantage of that and do it yourself. Don’t rely on a record company or sign your life away to someone else when you can do it all yourself.

Thank for your time today Mike and thank you for all the hard work you put in on your music. It has been a pleasure!

No problem! Thank you very much! Talk to you soon!

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Dream Theater Announce European Tour Dates In Support Of Their New Self-Titled Album

Dream Theater Announce European Tour Dates In Support Of Their New Self-Titled Album


DREAM THEATERJohn Petrucci on guitar, John Myung on bass, James LaBrie on vocals, Jordan Rudess on keyboards and continuum, and Mike Mangini on drums–are one of the biggest touring bands in the world having completed a 14-month tour with 110 shows through 34 different countries from 2011-2012 in support of their eleventh studio album A Dramatic Turn Of Events. Now the Grammy-nominated progressive metal titans have announced the first leg of their European tour launching January 15 in Porto, Portugal in support of their new studio album being released September 24; it marks the first self-titled release in the band’s nearly three-decade career.

The upcoming tour will encompass 30 cities in 16 countries. The band is also planning to tour North America beginning in March 2014.

DREAM THEATER was recorded at Cove City Sound Studios in Glen Cove, New York, with John Petrucci producing and studio luminary Richard Chycki (Aerosmith, Rush) engineering and mixing. The album marks a brilliant new chapter for the always adventurous band, their first to have been written and recorded with drummer Mike Mangini (who joined the band in 2010) wholly integrated into the creative process from the start.

“I see every new album as an opportunity to start over,” says Petrucci. “To either build or improve upon a direction that has been evolving over time or to completely break new ground. This is the first self-titled album of our career and there is nothing I can think of that makes a statement of musical and creative identity stronger than that. We’ve fully explored all of the elements that make us unique, from the epic and intense to the atmospheric and cinematic. We’re incredibly excited about DREAM THEATERand can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”

DREAM THEATER is proud to provide VIP packages for all shows on their upcoming tour (full tour itinerary below). VIP packages include premium seats, exclusive meet and great with the band, personal photo with the band, signed limited edition collection tour poster, special tour gift, and much more. For more information and to purchaseVIP packages and get advance tickets, visit the bands website: http://bit.ly/DTVIPEU.VIP packages and advance tickets go on sale on Tuesday, June 25 at 10am CET.

DREAM THEATER’s U.K. & Europe tour dates are as follows:

Wed 1/15 Porto, Portugal Coliseum of Porto
Thu 1/16 Madrid, Spain Palacio Visalegre
Fri 1/17 Pamplona, Spain Anaitasuna
Sat 1/18 Barcelona, Spain St. Jordi Club
Mon 1/20 Milan, Italy Mediolanum Forum
Tues 1/21 Florence, Italy Obihall
Wed 1/22 Rome, Italy Palalottomatica
Thu 1/23 Padova, Italy Geox Theatre
Sat 1/25 Vienna, Austria Gasometer
Sun 1/26 Munich, Germany Zenith
Mon 1/27 Zurich, Switzerland Volkshaus
Wed 1/29 Prague, Czech Republic Tipsport Arena
Thu 1/30 Ludwigsburg, Germany Arena
Fri 1/31 Paris, France Zenith
Sat 2/1 Offenbach, Germany Stadthalle
Mon 2/3 Zagreb, Croatia Cibona
Tues 2/4 Ljubljana, Slovenia Small Tivoli
Wed 2/5 Katowice, Poland Spodek Hall
Fri 2/7 Bamberg, Germany Stechert Arena
Sat 2/8 Deinze, Belgium Brielpoort
Sun 2/9 Hannover, Germany Swiss Life Hall
Mon 2/10 Saarbrucken, Germany Saarlandhalle
Wed 2/12 Lille, France Aeronef
Thu 2/13 Manchester, UK O2 Apollo
Fri 2/14 London, UK Wembley Arena
Sat 2/15 Wolverhampton, UK Wolverhampton Civic Hall
Mon 2/17 Amsterdam, Holland Heineken Music Hall
Tues 2/18 Dusseldorf, Germany Mitsubishi Electric Halle
Thu 2/20 Copenhagen, Denmark Falconer
Mon 2/24 Helsinki, Finland Icehall

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THE WINERY DOGS: Mike Portnoy, Billy Sheehan & Richie Kotzen To Unleash Album In July

THE WINERY DOGS: Mike Portnoy, Billy Sheehan & Richie Kotzen To Unleash Album In July

The Winery Dogs

The Winery Dogs

The Winery Dogs (@TheWineryDogs), the power trio featuring rock veterans Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Avenged Sevenfold), Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big) and Richie Kotzen (Mr. Big, Poison), have signed with Loud & Proud Records.  The Winery Dogs’ self-titled debut album will be released in North America on July 23.  THE WINERY DOGS was self-produced and mixed by Jay Ruston (Anthrax, Stone Sour, Steel Panther).  It features a classic rock/power trio sound which seamlessly melds the immense talents of the three veteran rockers.

The band has already released two videos from the new album, “Elevate” and “Desire,” the latter of which recently premiered onUlitmateclassicrock.com.  Both videos can now be seen on their official YouTube page.

Of The Winery Dogs’ signing, Mike Portnoy commented, “I am so excited about The Winery Dogs and am proud and honored to be working with two of the greatest musicians on the planet!  Richie Kotzen is such an unbelievable talent, as a vocalist, guitarist and songwriter.  I think The Winery Dogs will finally get him the attention and recognition that he so richly deserves.  And what can be said of Billy Sheehan that hasn’t been said already? He is one the true pioneers of the instrument and a legend.  I am looking forward to working with the great staff of Loud & Proud Records, some of whom I worked very closely with during their time at Roadrunner and my time with Dream Theater. I look forward to continuing that relationship with The Winery Dogs!”

Loud & Proud Owner & President Tom Lipsky added, “The debut by The Winery Dogs absolutely rocks and we are very excited that Loud & Proud is their label partner. This body of work showcases not only their renowned skills as musicians and vocalists, but also the depth of their talent as songwriters. Billy, Mike and Richie delivered some of the best performances of their illustrious careers and I am confident this album will be recognized as one of the truly great rock albums of the year.”

Touted as one of the best guitar players in the world, Richie Kotzen also possesses a voice on par with some of the greatest rock/soul singers and is highly regarded as a gifted songwriter.  With guitar styles ranging from rock, blues, jazz and fusion to pop and soul, Kotzen has built a remarkably diverse 20-year career as a guitarist, singer and songwriter.  A prolific songwriter, Richie has written several songs that have gone on to become hit singles around the world and he continues to appear in countless books, magazines and websites, being acknowledged as one of the top guitarists in the world.

Mike Portnoy is one of the founding members of Dream Theater, with whom he played drums for 25 years, selling more than 10 million copies worldwide.  Portnoy’s long list of awards include 26 Modern Drummer magazine Reader’s Poll Awards, including Hall of Fame Inductee in 2004, MVP of the Year in 2010, Best Progressive Rock Drummer (for the magazine’s record of 12 years in a row), Best Clinician (twice), Best Educational Video/DVD and Best Recorded Performance of the Year (seven times) while in Dream Theater and Avenged Sevenfold.  He also holds the distinction being the second youngest drummer ever inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame (at age 37) and is currently the youngest in the magazine’s Hall of Fame.  DRUM! Magazine named him Drummer Of The Year for the last two years in a row (2011 & 2012), and he won the Revolver Golden Gods Award for “Drummer Of The Year” in 2011.

As a founding member of Mr. Big, Billy Sheehan forged his place in hard rock history.  Mr. Big’s trademark virtuosic musicianship with stellar vocal harmonies and earned them numerous hit songs, including the ubiquitous “To Be With You,” which was a Billboard Hot 100 #1 single in 15 countries, propelling the band to major international success and record sales in the multi-millions.  Sheehan was voted the “Best Rock Bass Player” 5 times in Guitar Player magazine’s Readers Poll, earning him a spot in their “Gallery of Greats” along with Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, Geddy Lee, Eddie Van Halen and more, and he has won several Reader’s polls around the world.  He won the prestigious Player magazine (Japan’s #1 Music mag) Reader’s Poll for Best Bass Player an unprecedented 14 consecutive times and Burrn! magazine’s (Japan’s #1 heavy metal mag) Readers’ Poll five times.  His hands and signature are preserved in cement on the Rockwalk at Guitar Center in Hollywood, CA.

Stay tuned for U.S. tour news, which will be announced in the coming weeks.

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