The Winery Dogs live photos nashville – chad lee
The Winery Dogs Nashville Tn, The Wildhorse Saloon October 20, 2015
The idea of the band started out as a project featuring drummer Mike Portnoy and bassist Billy Sheehan, who were aiming to form a power trio rock band with a lead singer/guitarist as the frontman. After an aborted project, tentatively titled Bad Apple, with guitarist/vocalist John Sykes, talk show host Eddie Trunk heard about it and suggested Richie Kotzen, who has previously played with Sheehan in the band Mr. Big from 1997-2002, to the take the spot.
The three musicians got together at a studio in Los Angeles and at the end of the jam session, they had a few skeletons of songs that would appear on the debut album. After their first album success, they released a live concert DVD called “Unleashed in Japan 2013: The Winery Dogs.” 
Prior to the Winery Dogs, all three members have had successful careers with other bands. Richie Kotzen is known as former member of bands Poison and Mr. Big, as well as having a consistent solo career with many albums released. Billy Sheehan is known for playing with Steve Vai, David Lee Roth, Talas, and Mr. Big. Mike Portnoy is known for being the original drummer of bands Dream Theater and Adrenaline Mob.
When asked about the band’s main influences, Mike Portnoy commented that they are working towards a classic rock sound, influenced by Led Zeppelin, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Grand Funk Railroad, as well as newer artists such as Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Black Crowes and Lenny Kravitz.
The band’s self-titled debut album was released in Japan on May 5, 2013 through Victor subsidiary WHD Entertainment, with a worldwide release following on July 23, 2013 through Loud & Proud Records. It was produced by Jay Ruston. It features 13 songs and they switched out the song “Time Machine” with the song “Criminal” for the Japan Edition.
The Winery Dogs also have a band clinic in the summer called Dog Camp. This camp allows musicians and fans to come meet, jam and learn from the Winery Dogs. Not only does it include individual clinics, but it also incorporates a band setting as well.
In April 2017, it was announced by Kotzen that Winery Dogs were taking a break.