Tag Archive | "Jay Ruston"

Pearl Releases Second IG Track “All I Got (Gina’s Song)” From ‘Heartbreak And Canyon’

Pearl Releases Second IG Track “All I Got (Gina’s Song)” From ‘Heartbreak And Canyon’

California Country rocker, Pearl Aday has released “All I Got (Gina’s Song),” the 2nd IG track off of her soon to be released album Heartbreak And Canyon Revelry.  The release follows the exclusive video premiere of her live in-studio performance of “Mama,” the 1st IG track off of her June 15th release. The exclusive was shown on Society of Rock, I Love Classic Rock, Country Rebel and several of their other partnering social media pages. You can watch it here.

Crossing many genres of music, years of life experiences and emotions, Pearl joined forces with Jim Wilson, longtime bassist for Daniel Lanois, Emmylou Harris, and leader of Motor Sister and Mother Superior, for the project, and once again proves how she is every inch a rock chanteuse who seamlessly moves from vulnerable to guttural in one measure.  The dynamic duo co-wrote the first ten tracks of “Heartbreak and Canyon Revelry;” with the final track, “Let It Go,” being an original version of a Mother Superior tune. Pearl commented on the 11-track album which takes its title from two central events in Pearl’s life: her move to Topanga Canyon with her husband Scott and the birth of their son, Revel Young, now almost 7 years old, “This album is seven years of love, tears, and emotion turned into music that makes me feel like I’m coming home. I’m so grateful and excited to have it done and ready to share with everyone. It’s an honor to have partnered up with Station House and The Orchard to bring this album to life. We’re ready to bring it. We’re ready to rock.”

Heartbreak And Canyon Revelry was produced by Jay Ruston and will be released through newly formed Station House Recordings and distributed worldwide via The Orchard. The album is currently available for pre-order here.

Leading up to the album’s release, Pearl has been touring, including some West Coast dates opening for Cody Jinks and has several new dates on both the west coast and east coast. More to soon be announced.

Track Listing:
1. Be Your Own Horses
2. All I Got
3. Living A Lie
4. Who Am I
5. Sleepless Night
6. Levon Song
7. Days Gone By
8. Revel Young
9. Nothing Like Romance
10. Mama
11. Let It Go

Upcoming Tour Schedule:
May-27 Topanga, CA @ Topanga Days
Jun-15 Los Angeles, CA @ Molly Malones (RECORD RELEASE PARTY)
Jul-20 Woodstock, NY @ The Colony
Jul-21 New York, NY @ Bowery Electric
Jul-22 Portland, ME @ Portland House of Music
Jul-29 Los Angeles, CA @ The Whiskey (Supporting Jefferson Starship

For more information on Pearl Aday, please visit http://www.ThePearlBand.com and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

About Station House Recordings: Station House Recordings is the newly formed record label of longtime Strong Management co-founders Vaughn Lewis and Kenny Gabor.  Based out of Queens, New York, Station House provides an artist-friendly platform to promote, market and release independent-minded music to all those who will listen. (www.stationhouserecordings.com)

About The Orchard: The Orchard is an American music and entertainment company founded in 1997 by Scott Cohen and Richard Gottehrer. Wholly owned by Sony Music Entertainment and based in New York City, it specializes in media distribution, marketing, and sales and collaborates with independent artists, labels, and others to provide content worldwide. (www.theorchard.com)

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KINGS AMONG SCOTLAND: Anthrax’s Charlie Benante Discusses The Filming of Upcoming DVD

KINGS AMONG SCOTLAND: Anthrax’s Charlie Benante Discusses The Filming of Upcoming DVD

Multi-Grammy nominated thrash icons Anthrax will see the band’s long-awaited live-in-concert DVD, “Kings Among Scotland,” released on April 27 (Megaforce). But before that, the band’s Charlie Benante has just posted a video clip where he talks about the filming of the live set, the decision to film in Scotland, and the challenge of playing some of the songs live for the first time ever. Check out the clip below!

“Kings Among Scotland” will be available in CD (audio only), DVD and digital formats (both video), and can be pre-ordered at www.anthrax.com. When ordered digitally, the purchaser will receive “Breathing Lightning (live)” instantly.

The two-hour “Kings of Scotland” was filmed February 15, 2017 at the band’s sold-out concert at Barrowland Ballroom, the historic venue in Glasgow. The disc incorporates the band’s entire live show, and includes gems like “Madhouse,” “I Am the Law,” “Breathing Lightning” and “Indians.” The disc also features interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and other B-roll shot on the band’s tour bus, backstage, in hotels and elsewhere, plus a “gear rundown” from each of the band members.

“Kings Among Scotland” was produced, directed, filmed and edited for Film24Productions by Paul M. Green (Opeth, The Damned, The Levellers), with the sound mixed by Anthrax studio producer Jay Ruston. “Kings Among Scotland” can be pre-ordered now by going to www.anthrax.com.

Anthrax is set to hit the road this summer with fellow Big Four cohort SLAYER who kick off their final world tour on May 10 in San Diego, CA On the Slayer Leg One “off days,” Anthrax will join up with Testament for a handful of shows. All dates are below.

10 Valley View Casino Center, San Diego, CA SOLD OUT
11 Five Point Amphitheatre, Irvine, CA SOLD OUT
12 Brooklyn Bowl, Las Vegas, NV – Anthrax + Testament
13 Papa Murphy’s Park at Cal Expo, Sacramento, CA SOLD OUT
16 Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver, BC SOLD OUT
17 South Okanagan Events Centre, Penticton, BC
18 Western Finance Place, Cranbrook, BC – Anthrax + Testament
19 Big Four, Calgary, AB SOLD OUT
20 Shaw Conference Centre, Edmonton, AB SOLD OUT
22 Bell MTS Place, Winnipeg, MB
23 Sanctuary Events Center, Fargo, ND – Anthrax + Testament
24 The Armory, Minneapolis, MN SOLD OUT
25 Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, Tinley Park, IL
26 Clyde theatre, Ft. Wayne, IN – Anthrax + Testament
27 Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill, Detroit, MI SOLD OUT
29 Budweiser Stage, Toronto, ON SOLD OUT
30 Place Bell, Montreal, PQ SOLD OUT

1 Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT SOLD OUT
2 PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ
4 Santander Arena, Reading, PA SOLD OUT
6 Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati, OH
8 International, Knoxville, TN- Anthrax + Testament
7 Blossom Music Center, Cleveland, OH
9 KeyBank Pavilion, Pittsburgh, PA
10 Jiffy Lube Live, Bristow, VA
12 Veteran’s United Home Loans Amphitheater, Virginia Beach, VA
13 The Stage on the Bay, Savannah, GA – Anthrax + Testament
14 PNC Music Pavilion, Charlotte, NC
15 Orlando Amphitheater, Orlando, FL
17 Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land, Houston, TX SOLD OUT
18 House of Blues, New Orleans, LA – Anthrax + Testament
19 The Bomb Factory, Dallas, TX SOLD OUT
20 Austin360 Amphitheater, Austin, TX SOLD OUT

26 Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion, Gilford, NH
27 Impact Music Festival, Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, Bangor, ME
29 Northwell Health at Jones Beach, Wantagh, NY
31 The Pavilion at Montage Mountain, Scranton, PA

1 Times Union Center, Albany, NY
3 Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, Darien Lake, NY
4 Lakeview Amphitheater, Syracuse, NY
6 Budweiser Gardens, London, ON
7 Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, MI
9 Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, St. Louis, MO
10 Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood, Atlanta, GA
12 Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, TN
13 Walmart AMP, Rogers, AR
15 Freeman Coliseum, San Antonio, TX
16 The Zoo Amphitheatre, Oklahoma City, OK
18 Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre, Denver, CO
19 USANA Amphitheatre, Salt Lake City, UT
21 Ford Idaho Center Amphitheater, Boise, ID
23 Sunlight Supply Amphitheater, Portland, OR
26 SAP Center, San Jose, CA

As part of the band’s 35th anniversary year, Anthrax released one of 2016’s most-anticipated metal/thrash albums, For All Kings(February 26/Megaforce in North America/Nuclear Blast internationally), that debuted at #1 on Billboard’sHard Rock Chart, and #9 ontheTop 200, becoming Anthrax’s highest-charting album in more than two decades. Written by drummer Charlie Benante, bassist Frank Bello and guitarist Scott Ian, the dynamic triumvirate whose unique composition chemistry is, in part, what sets Anthrax’s music apart from other bands’ in the same genre, combined with Joey Belladonna’s breathtaking vocals and the searing guitar leads by newest member Jonathan Donais, it’s no wonder the album and the band’s live shows have consistently received tremendous reviews.

Over its three-and-a-half-decade career, Anthrax has been a pioneering band with its unique style, sound and heavy brand of thrash metal, and, as Metallica’s Kirk Hammett put it, “one can hear their influence on any number of up and coming bands.” Anthrax has sold in excess of 10-million units, received multiple Gold and Platinum certifications, six Grammy nominations and a host of other accolades from the media, industry and fans, including 2016’s inagural “Innovatator Award” presented at the the Epiphone/Revolver Music Awards. From the race and genre barriers Anthrax helped break down in 1988 when they collaborated with Public Enemy on “Bring The Noise,” to becoming a card-carrying member of The Big Four – with Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth – as one of the four bands that defined the speed/thrash metal genre, to being the first metal band to have its music heard on Mars when NASA played “Got The Time” to wake up the Mars Rover, Anthrax continues to break ground and innovate.

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ADLER Gears Up For Select Summer Tour Dates

ADLER Gears Up For Select Summer Tour Dates


ADLER the band led by former Guns N Roses drummer Steven Adler is gearing up for a handful of select summer shows starting in June. The upcoming tour dates will be the band’s first live performances in over two years, and the band’s first ever visit to South America.

Additional 2015 tour dates are currently being secured and will be announced in the coming weeks.

Initial ADLER 2015 dates are as follows:

6/18/15 – Tailgators – Bolingbrook, IL

6/19/15 – Hat Tricks – Pekin, IL

6/20/15 – Jefferson Barracks Amphitheater – St. Louis, MO

7/10/15 – Whisky A Go Go – West Hollywood, CA

7/11 15 – Brooklyn Bowl – Las Vegas, NV

7/23/15 – Real Plaza Centro Civico – Lima, Peru

7/24/15 – Arequipa Aura – Arequipa, Peru

7/25/15 – Frozzen – Cusco, Peru

8/21/15 – The Rock Pile – Toronto, Canada

8/22/15 – TBA – Canada

8/28/15 – Mohegan Sun Casino – Uncasville, CT

8/29/15 – Blackthorn 51 – Queens, NY

9/26/15 – History Park – San Jose, CA

10/1/16 – Los Angeles, CA – Monsters Of Rock Cruise

ADLER’S debut album “Back From The Dead” was released at the end of 2012 via New Ocean Media. Recorded in Los Angeles with producer Jeff Pilson (FOREIGNER, DOKKEN) and mixed by Jay Ruston (ANTHRAX, STONE SOUR, THEORY OF A DEAD MAN), the CD consists of 11 tracks, ranging from adrenaline-pumping rockers (“Back From The Dead”, “Own Worst Enemy”, “Another Version Of The Truth”) to arena-rock anthems (“Good To Be Bad”, “Blown Away”) to powerful, heartfelt ballads (“Waterfall”, “Just Don’t Ask”). The album features guest appearances by Adler’s former GUNS N’ ROSES bandmate Slash and ROB ZOMBIE/ex-MARILYN MANSON guitarist John 5.

ADLER is comprised of Steven Adler, frontman Jacob Bunton (LYNAM, MARS ELECTRIC), guitarist Lonny Paul (ADLER’S APPETITE), and bassist Johnny Martin (CHELSEA SMILES).

Website: www.adlerrocks.com
Adler Facebook: www.facebook.com/adlermusic
Adler Twitter: www.twitter.com/adlerrocks

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Legendary Drummer Steven Adler To Embark On Select Summer Tour Dates With Adler

Legendary Drummer Steven Adler To Embark On Select Summer Tour Dates With Adler

ADLER the band led by former Guns ‘N Roses drummer Steven Adler announced today that they have confirmed a handful of select summer shows. These will be the band’s first live performances in over two years, and the band’s first ever visit to South America.
Additional 2015 tour dates are currently being secured and will be announced in the coming weeks.
Initial ADLER 2015 dates are as follows:
6/18/15 –  Tailgators – Bolingbrook, IL
6/19/15 –  Hat Tricks – Pekin, IL
6/20/15 – Jefferson Barracks Amphitheater – St. Louis, MO – w/ QUEENSRYCHE
7/10/15 – Whisky A Go Go – West Hollywood, CA
7/23/15 – Venue TBA – Lima, Peru
7/25/15 – Country Club Los Huancas – Huancayo, Peru
7/28/15 – Venue TBA – Cusco, Peru
8/28/15 –  Mohegan Sun Casino – Uncasville, CT
ADLER’S debut album “Back From The Dead” was released at the end of 2012 via New Ocean Media. Recorded in Los Angeles with producer Jeff Pilson (FOREIGNER, DOKKEN) and mixed by Jay Ruston (ANTHRAX, STONE SOUR, THEORY OF A DEAD MAN), the CD consists of 11 tracks, ranging from adrenaline-pumping rockers (“Back From The Dead”, “Own Worst Enemy”, “Another Version Of The Truth”) to arena-rock anthems (“Good To Be Bad”, “Blown Away”) to powerful, heartfelt ballads (“Waterfall”, “Just Don’t Ask”). The album features guest appearances by Adler’s former GUNS N’ ROSES bandmate Slash and ROB ZOMBIE/ex-MARILYN MANSON guitarist John 5.
ADLER is comprised of Steven Adler, frontman Jacob Bunton (LYNAM, MARS ELECTRIC), guitarist Lonny Paul (ADLER’S APPETITE), and bassist Johnny Martin (CHELSEA SMILES).
For more  information, check out the band’s website:
Adler Facebook:
Adler Twitter:

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Steel Panther To Release ‘All You Can Eat’ On April 1st, Tracklist Revealed!

Steel Panther To Release ‘All You Can Eat’ On April 1st, Tracklist Revealed!


The Sunset Strip’s hottest export, Steel Panther, is back and ready to unleash their third full-length album, “All You Can Eat,” on the world. The 12-track masterpiece is slated to hit stands April 1st in the United States on Open E Records via Kobalt Label Services (KLS). The album will be available for pre-order on January 14th at Steelpantherrocks.com.

From the opening acoustic riff of album opener “Pussywhipped” to final chord hit in the album closer “She’s On The Rag,” it is clear Steel Panther is back and better than ever. Songs like “Gloryhole,” “Gangbang At The Old Folks Home” and “BVS” all showcase Steel Panther’s incredible musicianship and ability to write memorable and sometimes educational songs.

The band, comprised of Michael Starr on vocals, Satchel on guitar, Lexxi Foxx on bass and Stix Zadinia on drums, have made a name for themselves as one of the most entertaining acts out today. Longtime Steel Panther producer Jay Ruston produced “All You Can Eat.”

‘All You Can Eat’ Tracklisting:

1. Pussywhipped
2. Party Like Tomorrow Is The End Of The World
3. Gloryhole
4. Bukkake Tears
5. Gangbang At The Old Folks Home
6. Ten Strikes You’re Out
7. The Burden Of Being Wonderful
8. F@#king My Heart In The Ass
9. BVS
10. You’re Beautiful When You Don’t Talk
11. If I Was The King
12. She’s On The Rag

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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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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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